The Importance Of Effective School Leaders On Student Achievement

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Effective school leaders can influence student achievement; however, they cannot do it alone. They should enlist the support and commitment of a leadership team who can help facilitate and guide improvement of instruction and learning. For this reason, they must demonstrate instructional leadership qualities. Being an instructional leader begins with adopting a shared vision, building trusting relationships, and providing leadership opportunities. Additionally, successful instructional leaders understand that there is a relationship between academic standards, effective instruction, and student performance.
Principals are the driving force behind schools; therefore, it is crucial that they adopt a shared vision that focuses on student achievement. It is important that they clearly communicate their vision to staff, parents, students, and community members. Stronge, Richard, and Catano (2008) explain, “the development of a clear vision and goals for learning is emphasized by principals of high-achieving schools (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). They hold high expectations that teachers and students will meet these goals and hold themselves accountable for the success of the school (p. 5). A well-defined vision without commitment from all stakeholders does little to create a positive school culture. Consequently, school leaders must strive to build trusting relationships. Robinson (2011) points out:
In schools with higher levels of trust, teachers experience a stronger sense of professional community and are more willing to innovate and take risks. In addition, students in high-trust schools make more academic and social progress than students in otherwise similar low-trust schools. (p. 34)
While this creates an environment that is conducive to learning for students, it also contributes to fostering a learning community for teachers. A stronger sense of professional community includes administrators, coaches, and teachers collaborating and planning with one another and sharing ideas, student data, and best practices through a school-wide professional learning community focused on student learning outcomes. While the notion of leaders building trusting relationships with staff is vital, it is equally important for
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