Principal as Instructional Leader

If you have been reading this blog for several years, I’m sure you already know my stance on how important it is for principals to be strong instructional leaders.  By no means am I naive enough to say I am a strong instructional leader.  However, I am growth-minded and a lead-learner.  I push myself to learn and stay current in my position.  I place student and teacher learning at the forefront of everything.

This quote keeps me grounded-


Here’s a look back at my first couple of weeks of Professional Development for 2017-2018.

If you haven’t read the book, One Thing, it is a must read.  It helped me take an idea and tweak it for a school setting.

 “When you want the absolute best chance to succeed at anything you want, your approach should always be the same. Go small.

“Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.

The way to get the most out of your work and your life is to go as small as possible…

When you go as small as possible, you’ll be staring at one thing. And that’s the point.” ~ Gary Keller from The ONE Thing

After brainstorming with principal Jarett Kuhns, an activity called 10-10-10 was developed.  Directions are found here.


I knew at the beginning of the year we needed to set a goal or a few goals to direct us this year.  In order to accomplish our goals, we must know our direction.  I certainly didn’t want to come in this year and have these goals already selected and our vision set.  That would be a big mistake.  Goals must be shared and collaborated, as well as, our vision for the year.  We must have a shared understanding of where we are, where we need to go, and how we should get there.

 The vision set by my teachers for this year is- to be a family of learners.  We want everyone to feel part of the team and part of the school family.  We will never stop learning this year.  We will hold each other accountable for learning.  Everyone has a voice.  Everyone is significant.  Everyone means- parents, students, teachers, custodians, paraprofessionals, etc…

I have to say my heart is full.  Just look at this amazing list teachers ask of me, their principal.   I love their list.  I gladly accepted it.

Amber Teamann is a Texas principal and blogger.  I follow her on social media, as well as, regularly read her blog.  On a recent post on Facebook, I found her idea of lighting a candle.  She had her staff light a candle.  I decided to just pass out this notecard.  Since it is my first PD in this school, I didn’t want to chance burning down the school or setting off any fire alarms.  My luck just goes that way. (HA!)

Here’s a glance at the data stations called DATA Carousel.  You can get the DATA Carousel headers below.  The purpose of this activity is to engage teachers in reading data- just locate the facts.  Each group was color-coded prior to starting.  When the music played, they moved to the next station.  When all stations were complete, we could do a Walk It Out.  A walk-it-out just means they rotate through all of the stations one last time and read the comments made by the other group members.  We were short on time so one of the co-presenters read the data findings to the entire group.

See collage image below:

Upper Left– Teachers worked in small groups and analyzed core subject area data from state testing results.  K-2 teachers looked at how their state standards led into the 3-5 grade levels.  Since grades 3-5 take state assessments, one goal is to vertically align our instruction to better prepare our students for state tests.

Lower Left- We are required to do a refresher training on classroom observations and walkthroughs.  The only way to get through T-TESS training is with a lovely scoop of ice cream.  You can grab this printable here.

Upper Right- T-TESS sign in and handouts were on the table outside the room.  In our training, we reviewed dimensions 2 and 3, watched a video of a lesson from Teach For Texas, rated the teacher in each area, and discussed how important it is to discuss the objective of the lesson.  TTESS flipbook

Lower Right- We did a little more team building and used balloons.  The activity can be found in the Professional Development Activities All Year Long packet.  The focus of this activity is to be a positive team member.  Negativity can weigh the campus down and limit us from reaching our goal.

One of my favorite videos from the week is What is Your Hope

Students will walk through the door of the school tomorrow to begin 2017.  
We plan on fighting like warriors and performing as champions. #gameon2017
Stephanie McConnell

Stephanie McConnell

I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.

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Hi, I'm Stephanie

Hello friend! Welcome to Principal Principles. I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.


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