Empower Your Teachers to Improve Student Outcomes

Vol. 17 No. 3

PSN eletter vol16 no3 teacherempower

“There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.”

This quote from Sir Ken Robinson, New York Times best-selling author, TED speaker, and education advisor, has been confirmed by the results of a new study.

Researchers from the New Teacher Center conducted multiple surveys between 2011 and 2015 and analyzed the data collected from nearly 1 million teachers in more than 25,000 schools across 16 states.

They analyzed two aspects of leadership within schools.

  • Do school leaders place learning at the center of their decisions?
  • Are teachers included in that decision-making process?

The study found that schools that empowered teachers to be leaders had better-performing students. In fact, “students in schools with the highest levels of teacher leadership performed at least 10 percentage points higher in both mathematics and English language arts proficiency state assessments, when compared to schools with the lowest levels.”

The study defines teacher leadership to include three key elements:

  • holding teachers to high instructional standards;
  • fostering a shared vision for the school; and
  • creating an effective school-improvement team.

The study found that when schools created a school-improvement team that included teachers and they were given decision-making power, both inside and outside the classroom, student outcomes were observed to be highest.

Teachers were allowed to decide how they wanted to teach their lessons and grade their students inside the classroom. They also provided input on schoolwide decisions such as student behavior policies, professional development programs, and school-improvement initiatives.

These findings also tie into ISM’s viewpoints on faculty culture. We have long stated the importance of providing a predictable and supportive environment for your teachers, so they, in turn, can empower your students.

Private-independent schools must set and continually communicate expectations through a sound faculty evaluation process. You must provide teachers with all the necessary resources, encouragement, and guidance they need to refine their skills. Schools should also continually share their mission with their teachers to keep everyone on the same page.

To support your educators, create a vibrant and effective faculty culture where teachers are confident that they can make a difference.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Private School News Vol. 16 No. 6 4 Qualities of Highly Successful Leaders
The Source for School Heads Vol. 16 No. 3 6 Ways to Use the Characteristics of Professional Excellence

Additional ISM resources for Gold members:
I&P Vol. 38 No. 13 Teaching as Leadership: ISM Research
I&P Vol. 42 No. 14 Executive Leadership: The Relationships Between Predictability and Support, the School Head's Well-Being, and Faculty Culture

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