What great principals do differently?

Great Principals… 

  • never forget that it is people, not programs that determine the quality of a school. 
  • have clarity about who they are, what they do, and how others perceive them. 
  • take responsibility for their own performance and for all aspects of their school.
  • create a positive atmosphere in their schools. They treat every person with respect. In particular, they understand the power of praise. 
  • consistently filter out the negatives that don't matter and share a positive attitude. 
  • deliberately apply a range of strategies to improve teacher performance. 
  • take every opportunity to hire and retain the very best teachers. 
  • understand the dynamics of change.
  • keep standardized testing in perspective and focus on the real issue of student learning. 
  • know when to focus on behavior before beliefs. 
  • are loyal to their students, to their teachers, and to the school. They expect loyalty to students and the school to take precedence over loyalty to themselves. 
  • ask themselves one central question before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change: What will my best teachers think of this?
  • continually ask themselves who is the most comfortable and who is the least comfortable with each decision they make. They treat everyone as if they were good. 
  • understand high achievers are sensitive to their best teachers' needs and make the most of this valuable resource. 
  • make it cool to care. They understand that behaviors and beliefs are tied to emotion, and they understand the power of emotion to jump-start change. 
  • work hard to keep their relationships in good repair to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage. 
  • take steps to improve or remove negative and ineffective staff members. 
  • establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses. 


Source: What Great Principals Do Differently (2nd Edition): 18 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker 

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