Instructional leadership

Celebrating Growth and Courage

As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners — even as they grappled with intense day-to-day demands on their time and energy. This post is the second in a series of three stories.

Small Moments, Big Growth: A Year-End Reflection

This past year demanded growth, from technical skills to mindsets, from virtually everyone in education. As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners. We’re particularly excited to spotlight the shifts and new choices that may appear small, but signaled breakthroughs.

What Centering Student Experience Looks like

What does centering students look like in action? What characteristics should a leader look for as evidence of equity and learning-centered practice? In this excerpt from a recent webinar, Jose Rivera, assistant superintendent of Grandview School District, Wash.,...

Getting Better to Lead for Equity, a Webinar

We don't yet know what far-reaching impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students. What we do know is that classrooms need to be as equitable as possible — and support rigorous learning — now. But what does that look like, especially with ongoing and sometimes...

Listening to Center Student Experience

After embarking on creating a “framework” that centers the experience of students, the CEL team learned that the adults at school really need to listen hard. What does listening hard look like in action? Watch this video to learn more.

Your Leadership Lights the Way Forward

Dear partners and colleagues, This January has opened as an intense continuation of a year like no other in our collective memory. “Relentless, exhausting and humbling” is how many of you have described 2020. But when I consider your leadership this past year, very...

What the Four Dimensions of School Leadership Looks Like in Action

Brandon White is the chief academic officer at South Bend Community Schools in Indiana. When working with school leaders, his approach is that "we as educators must be involved in learning ourselves." Lisa Rooney, director of framework development and support, spoke...

My role as a leader has changed — and needed to change. Here’s why.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”  - Maya Angelou   I have a confession to make: I didn’t get into education because I was excited to be a teacher. I went into education because I was eager to work for change in communities,...

The Importance of Relationships During Distance Learning

As schools began to transition to a new system of distance and remote learning, the initial focus was naturally on the nuts and bolts: How will we ensure students have access to the technology they need? What video platforms and tools should we use? What’s the right...

Bringing Teams Together to Get Better – No Matter What

The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated just how vital a focus on the student experience and open lines of communication are — so student learning can continue, even with the disruptions. And that starts with our leaders at the top — leaders like Jeff Pelzel, the...

How Coaches are Improving Teaching in a Virtual Environment

The transition to distance learning has been unquestionably daunting for students, parents and educators. One side effect of the transition from chalkboards to Zoom or Teams screens has been a feeling of isolation for teachers, who are trying to navigate new...

What matters most to students and teachers for learning right now

In recent months, educators have had the daunting job of asking and answering, "What does teaching mean now?" They've had to make many impactful decisions and make them quickly — all while working together and teaching remotely. Jody DeGroot, assistant principal at...

Ways to Lead for Instruction Right Now

As schools have changed dramatically over the past month, we have been inspired by what educators are doing to continue leading for instructional improvement. I spoke recently with Chris Lennox, the superintendent of Mounds View Public Schools in Minnesota. Like other...

What’s Next: Schooling or Learning?

By GREG SOMMERS Our current wave of school closures is yielding an unprecedented shift to online and distance learning. Some are meeting this shift with a surge of enthusiasm for innovation. Others are approaching it more cautiously. I wonder — for my own children and...

Principal as the Turning Point: EduTalks 2020

While the impact teachers make on learning is well-understood, there’s less appreciation for how principals can foster learning environments that empower students.  In this six-minute video, Joanna Michelson, director of teacher leadership and learning at the UW...

Acknowledging Courage on Display

CEL's mission is to support the work of courageous education leaders across the country. The leaders we work with show their courage each and every day in classrooms, schools and school system central offices. Over these past couple of weeks, I’ve observed with awe...

How Principals Learn

I wanted to share with you that the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recently released a study that the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) was part of. Principals are vitally important for achieving educational equity, and there are...

A Decade of Rigorous Teaching, Leading and Learning

On behalf of our team at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, I am writing to wish a happy and peaceful new year to all of CEL’s partners, peers and supporters. I write this year with hope and optimism for what the coming decade will hold...

CEL’s Summer Reading List

In preparation for this new 2019-2020 school year, University of Washington Center for Educational Leader (CEL) experts kept up with their summer reading and shared six educational book recommendations. With a focus on equity, courageous leadership and...

Want to become an expert school leader? Ask more questions.

by SHEEBA JACOB Why should you be stuck without a bed if I’ve got an extra air mattress? Today, the answer to this question is worth $30 billion. The meteoric rise of home-sharing site AirBnB is driven by many factors, but it started with the founders Joe Gebbia and...

Developing Principals as Equity-centered Instructional Leaders

Over the past several years, we have become more keenly aware of the pervasive nature of opportunity and achievement gaps in many of the schools serving our most vulnerable students. These differences in opportunities, supports and outcomes represent some students’...

3 Things All Principals Need From Their Central Office To Be Successful

A quick scan of education news headlines shows: the role of school principal is less satisfying and attractive than it has ever been. Whether you look at principal job satisfaction surveys or the data on principal tenure, education leaders need to wake up and figure...

How to Create a Results-Focused Learning Environment

BY SHARON WILLIAMS Getting everybody in the school community to focus on results for students is hard — but it’s one of the most powerful ways for principals to improve instruction. "One of the responsibilities of school leadership teams with the strongest correlation...

How Principals Can Support Teachers in Assessing Goals Midyear

For teachers and principals, the run-up to the winter break can seem like a mad dash to a (first) finish line. Time is short and instructional improvement goals slip down the priority list. What to do? Mark your calendar for January. The time after the winter break is...

3 Important Ways to Connect Teaching Practice to Student Learning

Raise your hand if you think you’re keeping students at the center of your work. We all do. It’s why many of us went into education and it’s what motivates us to do the best we can every day. In my 23 years as a teacher, instructional coach and educational consultant,...

Recent Posts

Celebrating Growth and Courage

As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners — even as they grappled with intense day-to-day demands on their time and energy. This post is the second in a series of three stories.

Small Moments, Big Growth: A Year-End Reflection

This past year demanded growth, from technical skills to mindsets, from virtually everyone in education. As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners. We’re particularly excited to spotlight the shifts and new choices that may appear small, but signaled breakthroughs.

What Centering Student Experience Looks like

What does centering students look like in action? What characteristics should a leader look for as evidence of equity and learning-centered practice? In this excerpt from a recent webinar, Jose Rivera, assistant superintendent of Grandview School District, Wash.,...

Getting Better to Lead for Equity, a Webinar

We don't yet know what far-reaching impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students. What we do know is that classrooms need to be as equitable as possible — and support rigorous learning — now. But what does that look like, especially with ongoing and sometimes...

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