Mentoring school principals: What are Wyoming districts doing and what do principals want?
Mentoring school principals: What are Wyoming districts doing and what do principals want?<br />Heather E. Duncanhduncan@uwyo.edu<br />Mark Stock email@example.com<br />Department of Professional Studies<br />University of Wyoming<br />Paper presented at MRMERA October 8, 2009, Jackson Hole, Wyoming<br />1<br />
Overview of Presentation<br />Rationale for study<br />Wyoming context<br />Key questions<br />Demographics of participants<br />Findings<br />Recommendations<br />2<br />
The role of principal has swelled to include a staggering array of professional tasks and competencies(Davis et al., 2005, p.4)<br />Principals are expected to be <br />educational visionaries<br />instructional and curriculum leaders, assessment experts, <br />disciplinarians<br />community and public relations builders<br />communications experts <br />budget analysts<br />facility managers<br />special programs administrators<br />guardians of various legal, contractual, and policy mandates and initiatives.<br />Davis, S., Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., & Meyerson, D. (2005). School leadership study: Developing successful principals. Stanford, CA: Stanford. <br />3<br />
Why do we need to develop and support our principals?<br />“ The difference between a competent principal and one who's over his or her head is the difference between a school that is effective, innovative and open and one that isn't” (Guterman, 2007). <br />Guterman, J. (2007). Where have all the principals gone? The acute school-leader shortage. Edutopia. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www.edutopia.org/where-have-all-principals-gone<br />4<br />
What is Mentoring?<br />Mentoring is a collaborative relationship, that provides support and dialogue on authentic issues, and provides opportunities for sharing. It is a creative method of promoting professional development that sets in motion the process of self-actualization and growth (Talley & Henry, 2008)<br />5<br />
Laramie -7200ft above sea level</li></li></ul><li>Wyoming Schools and Districts<br />48 districts<br /><100 Students - >2000 students<br />343 schools<br />198 elementary<br />62 middle/JH<br />77 secondary (including 15 G 7/8 -12)<br />6K-12<br />85,578 students (fall 2007)<br />7<br />
Statewide Leadership ConversationSpring 2008<br />Because Wyoming is a local control state, there is no consistency among districts in requirements for leadership and professional development<br />The size of a district frequently determines whether or not there is capacity to plan and execute high quality professional development to administrators (and teachers)<br />Geography impacts on opportunities for principal professional development<br />Much of the professional development presented in the state and districts does not include follow through on implementation and further learning or coaching. <br />8<br />
Key Questions<br />Is mentoring important for Wyoming principals?<br />What mentorship programs are currently in place to develop and support new principals in Wyoming school districts?<br />In what areas do Wyoming school principals perceive mentorship is most important?<br />What factors promote and inhibit districts to initiate and develop principal mentorship programs?<br />What factors motivate principals to act as mentors?<br />9<br />
Survey Data<br />187 responses ex 274 = 68.3% return rate<br />All respondents had master’s degrees in education; 10 had doctorates<br />58 (30.3%) female: 129 (69.7%) male [Wy 31: 69}<br />Mean length of time as principal was 10.59 years (2 months – 35 years)<br />Mean length of time in present position was 6.28 years (2 months – 29 years)<br />4 ranges <br />0-3 yrs: beginning<br />4-7 yrs: intermediate<br />8-15 yrs: experienced<br />16- 35 yrs: very experienced<br />10<br />
Commitment of Districts to Principal Mentoring<br />None of the districts with mentoring programs formally evaluated them.<br />15% of districts with mentoring programs discussed them informally at principal evaluations.<br />Principal mentoring was included in the district School Improvement Plan (yes 12.3%; no 70.3%; don’t know 17.3 %) <br />
In what areas do Wyoming school principals perceive mentorship is most important?<br />19<br />
Summing up<br />Only a small percentage of beginning principals reported formal mentoring<br />Formal mentoring programs that existed were for beginning principals only. <br />Most principals in the intermediate range (4-7 years) did not have a mentor.<br />The majority of experienced principals indicated that mentoring was also important for their group. <br />Working with difficult teachers is an area principals, however experienced, would welcome the opportunity to talk over with a mentor. <br />The use of data in making decisions and instructional leadership were identified as important<br />Female principals rated the importance of mentoring in all areas higher than male principals, significantly in dealing with difficult people, personal issues, and legal issues. <br />Time is the most important factor in mentoring programs<br />
What Can Districts do?<br />“The single most important thing a superintendent can do to support new principals is make sure that they don't feel they're out there all by themselves”<br />“The bottom line is principals must be trained, and feel supported and part of a team.” (Guterman, 2007). <br />Guterman, J. (2007). Where have all the principals gone? The acute school-leader shortage. Edutopia. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www.edutopia.org/where-have-all-principals-gone<br />28<br />
A Principal Mentorship Program Needs<br />Commitment to development of new principals <br />Support from the top<br />Commitment to adequate amounts of time<br />Room in the budget<br />Structured expectations<br />Feedback loops<br />29<br />
Limitations<br />While the response rate was fairly high and the gender balance was representative of the Wyoming principal population, the school grade levels of principal respondents were predominantly elementary (k-8). Therefore, the findings of this study may be generalisable only to principals of K-8 schools in Wyoming.<br />
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