School leaders matter for school success. Numerous studies spanning the past three decades link high-quality leadership with positive school outcomes. Recognition of the importance of school leadership has led to increased attention to recruiting and preparing school leaders. Many new principal preparation and development programs emphasize the role of principals as â€œinstructional leaders.â€ This emphasis on instructional leadership was driven in large part by the effective schools movement of the 1970s and 1980s and has since been renewed because of increasing demands that school leaders be held accountable for student performance (Hallinger 2005). However, while broad agreement exists on the importance of instructional leadership, there is less consensus on what instructional leadership actually is. Some construe instructional leadership as synonymous with classroom observations and direct teaching of students and teachers. Informed by observations and interviews in hundreds of schools, we call for a different view of instructional leadership, one that includes broader personnel practices and resource allocation practices as central to instructional improvement.
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Phi Delta Kappan