- supervising instruction
- evaluating teachers
- providing professional development and other learning opportunities for teachers
- modeling proactive uses of data to make informed decisions that positively affect student learning
- promoting a climate of instructional excellence
- establishing collegial relationships with teachers.
The Principal as Instructional Leader: A Practical Guidebook is just as its title implies, a practical guidebook to instructional leadership that avoids becoming entangled in all the theories of learning,curriculum, and instruction that other books on instructional leadership often do. It provides principals, potential principals, and teacher leaders with comprehensive but concise information needed to tackle those things instructional leaders must tackle to improve student learning.
Often, books on instructional leadership get enmeshed in theory and rationale and never recover enough to rise above “textbookese” to give school leaders the tools to take on this most important role. This book does that. It relentlessly focuses on the practical side of supervising instruction. Readers are provided with an overview of what instructional leadership is, what the process looks like, and then given specific tools to carry out that role in their schools or educational institutions.
After Zepeda briefly describes what instructional leadership is, she then ties that role to the vision and culture of the school. She also includes a complete overview of the instructional supervision process, and provides an extensive list of observational tools as supplemental downloads. These downloadable tools give principals the means to walk into classrooms and observe specific instructional elements such as “Beginning of Class Routines” or “Using Bloom’s Taxonomy and Levels of questions.” Each of the downloads are observation instruments to gather data regarding specific aspects of classroom teaching and student learning.
The Principal as Instructional Leader: A Practical Handbook is a definite reference book that every school leader, from teacher leader to district superintendent needs to have in their school administration library. I have read other books on this aspect of school leadership, but Zepeda provides the most no-nonsense approach to instructional leadership yet. Definitely an excellent addition to your reading list.