New Superintendent's E-Journal

January 2014

In this issue:

Launching Leadership
By Ryan A. Donlan
A superintendent’s rookie year would be a case-in-point. Educational leadership is arguably one of the most important professions worldwide, in that it makes all other professions possible through the inspiration of children. With such a heavy load entrusted to superintendents, time is well spent in considering the factors that affect the success of a superintendent’s first year in a new position. As we do so, let us consider that good beginnings in new communities may offer heartfelt opportunities for sustainable success, if launched smartly.

Superintendents Supporting High Poverty Schools: School-based Social Services Coordination
By Deborah Peterson and Nora Lehnhoff
Knowing the impact of poverty on learning, many superintendents are looking for concrete solutions that remove non-academic barriers to learning. This article shares how superintendents can support academic success for students living in poverty by providing wraparound social services support. This model of support reduces non-academic barriers to learning: hunger, homelessness, and lack of access to mental health and other health services. In a five-year period of time, the program provided over 2700 hours of mental health counseling, clothing for 450 students, food for 400 families, rent and utility assistance for 204 families, drug and alcohol treatment for 26 students, and glasses for 44 students with vision impairment. This article shares the school-based social services model and provides a roadmap for superintendents who want to increase academic achievement in schools with high poverty.

Teacher Ratings in a PLC World
By Barry J. Vitcov
Regardless of how well a new leader is prepared for the job, there are always unanticipated challenges. As a leader moves through new roles towards a superintendent’s job, it is customary to begin work as listener learning about the organization’s culture while developing an improvement agenda. Some challenges may require superficial changes, such as position reassignments or new structures for administrative meetings; others may require deeper systemic changes, such as governance and communication structures, processes and expectations. Whatever the challenges, they will all require a new superintendent to shape a district culture that is effectively proactive and reactive to whatever comes its way. One challenge, which will always be a high priority, is how to maximize continuous improvement of teaching and learning.