School Leadership

            A recent study indicated that schools with strong leadership and ubiquitous role-model figures demonstrate higher success among students, according to an article in Sify News.

            The study entitled “Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning” claimed that students’ achievements and test scores were higher in schools that extended and diversified leadership positions. Success rose if principals and other traditional leadership figures shared authority and leadership roles with all faculty members.

            This grants younger students constant supervision by a respected role model figure. Every teacher can then emphasize the importance of learning and schoolwork, opposed to just the school’s principal. Students are more efficiently motivated by multiple positive influences; rather than a single role model, according to the study.

            The study also noted the importance of emphasizing attainable student goals that motivate students to higher levels of achievement.

             Kyla Wahlstrom and Karen Seashore Louis from the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development and Kenneth Leithwood and Stephen Anderson from the University of Toronto conducted this study.

            "Leadership is important because it sets the conditions and the expectations in the school that there will be excellent instruction and there will be a culture of ongoing learning for the educators and for the students in the school," said Wahlstrom, one of the study’s researchers.

            The study, however, cited a few challenges that schools would need to overcome to implement effective leadership. The study’s researchers believe that most schools will need proper training and district support for principals and other administrators. Also, principals do not have enough contact with their districts to create a uniformed leadership approach across neighboring schools.

            Proper leadership is not that difficult to implement in schools. It would require minimal training. However, proper leadership would need to be adopted across all employees and community members who are affiliated with that school.

            "So leadership absolutely makes a difference. I can't say that strongly enough: Good leadership is critical to good education," said Wahlstrom.