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New Tool to Help School Districts Strengthen Principal Coaching

The New York City Leadership Academy—known for its work in cultivating aspiring principals and then training and coaching them to work in many of New York City's lowest-performing schools—began expanding its brand of leadership development to a broader audience of districts more than a year ago.

To that end, the leadership academy has rolled out a  new, online resource it has developed to assist school districts that want to review how well their programs for mentoring school leaders are working. The tool, say its developers, was designed to help ensure a long, productive life for programs meant to support both novice and veteran prinicipals through coaching and mentoring. Known as the Program Sustainability Audit and Action Planning Tool, or PSAAP, it's available for free to anyone.

The tool provides rating scales and checklists for districts to use while sizing up the long-term viability of their current principal-support programs by examining their operations, the financial resources behind them, how mentors and coaches are selected and managed, and ongoing evaluations of the programs' effectiveness.

It also includes an "action planner" for district officials to identify concrete next steps to improve their programs, list the resources that it will take, prepare for likely obstacles, and share what they learn with others, especially those leaders who make decisions that impact the programs.

The leadership academy got funding for devising the tool from the Wallace Foundation and worked in tandem with the six districts that are part of Wallace's five-year, $75 million principal pipeline initiative, including New York City, Denver, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg. (Wallace also supports Education Week's coverage of leadership and management issues.)


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