Leadership In Education

Leadership in education has so many different dimensions and definitional issues that it’s very elusive, and has become more complicated since the involvement of business and political communities. Principals had for a long time served as managers of schools, but in the last 10 or 15 years there’s been a sea change in their responsibilities. Now, at long last, the focus is on instructional leadership. But the problem facing principals is that their preparatory institutions did not offer courses in curriculum programs until the mid-1980s, and many principals are not prepared for this new role; they need crash programs in instructional leadership. They now also are being asked to make contacts with community leaders and even in some cases state legislators to garner support for schools and programs. It is impossible for principals, as well as superintendents, to handle adequately the managerial, instructional, and political dimensions of the job. It is not surprising that these multiple demands are creating a shortage of educational leaders. It now takes 8-14 months to fill superintendency positions, as opposed to 3-5 months in decades past; and 85% of principals are scheduled to retire within a decade.So what do we do? We have to find new kinds of team approaches to the job. We need to rethink the role and rethink who is best equipped to provide certain kinds of leadership. It is important to remember that while change occurs from the top down-business and political leaders are pushing change-it also has to come from the bottom up. Unless the teachers, principals, and frontline people “buy in,” not very much will happen. So one of the challenges is to build connecting mechanisms from top to bottom. Leadership will span these boundaries.The issues of authority and accountability need to be addressed by schools seeking to restructure. To be successful, school-based decision making too must be characterized by coherence in its authority structure and accountability system.Citizen accountability facilitates the accountability of educators and students. And authority for change must include students, must focus on them as vehicles for change, not just objects of change. Educators and parents need to acknowledge that students have a role in change and should even be on the board for school-based decision making. Establishing coherence is the key to leadership throughout an educational structure; it creates a system of checks and balances, with the community and state united in working towards a common goal: the students’ academic success. All the vision in the world won’t lead to much without coherence. Furthermore, before restructuring can begin, educators must be keenly aware of two principles: Cooperation and collaboration are necessary because they are key to establishing coherence in an educational system; and all students can learn at higher levels. Finally, schools need to focus on beliefs, standards, assessment, and accountability and have a system of change, incorporating in a coherent way all of these factors that are valued. After all, in the end, successful education systems are about values. Schools just need the courage to move and lead.Education reform now involves high-stakes accountability. If schools are asked to have accountability to this degree, then the schools should be in charge. School accountability involves schools having the power to implement their own policies, which means school-based decision making. Stability in the schoolhouse is critical, and the principal is the agent for change-but in that comes no security. Yet, the principal is charged to rally teachers, who have total security and who have little reason to attend to the vision of a person who holds a tenuous appointment. The principals are finding that the illusion of power is worse than no power at all. Successful school reform necessitates an ingenious interweaving of responsibility, accountability, and authority. Intrusive behavior is a board member’s act of interfering with a school administrator’s assigned operational task(s) that exceeds the board of education’s delegated responsibility. Intrusive behavior can substantially hinder consistency in leadership, which is extremely important to organizational health. The problem with such intrusive behavior is that people in the educational framework become confused and wonder, “Who’s the boss?” and “Who do I listen to?” resulting in a monumental problem with role conflict and role ambiguity. This confusion wastes valuable time that could be spent on matters related to educating children. Instead of inspecting school facilities or instructing superintendents and principals on how to perform their duties, boards of education need to focus on student achievement.Too often, board members do not have a clear understanding of their role and how they are to enact it unless they are specifically educated about that role. In short, the training of board of education members before they sit on a board should be mandated, and they should be contractually educated, not just taught. The time spent on training should be measured not in hours per year, but in numbers of issues covered in the training.In a new survey, superintendents indicated principal shortages in all types of districts; there were simply not many applicants for the positions available. Reasons cited for this principal shortage included the following:- Compensation is not enough.
– Too much time is required.
– Board interference makes the job too stressful.Since 2004, the principal’s role has changed dramatically. Now, the scope of the principal’s role is exploding, and principals are expected to take on many new responsibilities. Principals have been taught to be managers rather than instructional leaders, but they are now being asked to fulfill that duty as well-along with increased involvement in litigation, in special education, and in preventing school violence.

Online Training Options For Education (Teacher Education) Careers

A broad range of careers and training options are available to students that pursue a degree in teacher education. Depending on career goals students can enter numerous online schools that offer education training. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available based on what age group students want to teach.The concept of formal education has been utilized to help students obtain detailed knowledge on various subjects. Online training serves in this capacity not only for students to learn but to help them educate others upon graduation. Education careers can be sought out by training to be a general, adult, secondary, special, and elementary educator. Online education at the undergraduate level prepares students in several ways.*Associate’s DegreeThe online aspect of training allows students to complete courses from anywhere while preparing them for a full-time career after graduation. While the standard educational requirement for teaching is a bachelor’s degree students that want to work in the education system can complete an associate’s degree. Concentrations can be taken in areas like secondary, elementary, and special education. Areas studied may include child development, social science, special needs children, and much more. Becoming a paraprofessional or teacher’s assistant are some main career paths students can take.*Bachelor’s DegreeStudents can pursue a teaching degree online at several schools that offer training to become a teacher. Training prepares students to gain their licensure for teaching, which is required in all 50 states. Students can complete specific programs to teach students at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. This is typically referred to as kindergarten through sixth grade, sixth through eighth grade, or ninth through twelfth grade. Inside schooling, students also choose their major by age group and subject. For example, students wanting to teach elementary English would pursue their degree in that concentration.Further education at the graduate degree level is for students that want to broaden their knowledge for the job they have or move into higher education. Students complete a training program where they apply their knowledge to the collegiate level of teaching.*Master’s DegreeTeaching courses give students advanced knowledge that is applied to their chosen subject like English or mathematics. The different methods and assessment procedures are examined to prepare students to become more advanced educators. Curriculum theory, educational technology, and sociology are some program topics explored in a master’s degree program.*Doctorate DegreeMost students pursuing a doctorate degree do so to become professors at universities and colleges. Other students may want to transition into careers as school administrators or policy creators. When working towards becoming a professor, education dives deep into the theories and sources of a subject. When becoming a school administrator students study education policy and ethics.Students that dedicate the needed amount of time to complete an accredited online degree can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Choosing an age group and subject to teach will narrow down the possible training options allowing students to begin their education. Gaining the best quality education can be done by enrolling in a teaching program that is accredited by agencies like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education ( http://www.ncate.org ). These agencies are approved to fully accredit online schools that offer the best education possible.

Tips, Strategies and Educational Resources for Parents During Social Distancing

Approximately 56.6 million students attended elementary and secondary school in the United States in 2019. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, school districts across the nation made the tough decision to close schools and move to online classes due to public health and safety concerns. Parents and caregivers have been charged with stepping into a more active role of facilitating their child’s educational learning. Below are a few educational tips, strategies and resources for parents.1. Ensure that student is participating in all required online activities including instructional time and any additional online chats’ participation.2. Discuss with teachers your child’s ongoing academic progress including completion of homework assignments, projects and exam scores.3. Parents are recommended to supplement their child’s learning with additional academic enrichment activities including educational websites, at home science projects or fun learning games.4. Parents should make sure to create an at home learning environment to help their child focus including having a quiet place away from distractions, routine homework and study times and learning materials including a computer/laptop, textbooks, etc.5. For students who are receiving exceptional student education (ESE) services, are under an IEP or 504 plan, should follow-up with the school counselor or school psychologist to determine if there are any required pending updates or meetings required prior to the end of the school year.6. If your child was undergoing a psychoeducational evaluation for determination of special education services, please follow-up with school personnel for a status report and to see if the school psychologist may be conducting testing over the summer.7. If your child was unable to start his/her evaluation prior to school closing, discuss with school staff if it is possible for your child to have a private psychoeducational evaluation completed if you are very concerned about the potential delay at the start of the next school year. Please be mindful that a private psychoeducational evaluation may be at your own expense and the school does not have to accept the results or recommendations. Additionally, if submitted to the school it becomes a part of your child’s educational record. Please take all of the above into consideration before spending hundreds of dollars for a private evaluation.8. If you would like to pursue a private psychoeducational evaluation, consider a more affordable alternative of having the evaluation conducted at a nearby university that has a university-based clinic with graduate students who can complete the testing under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist.9. Students finishing their senior year and planning to attend college in the fall, should contact their selected college/university to determine if classes will start on time as previously outlined.10. Graduating students already admitted to college for 2020-2021, should follow-up on the status of their financial aid including any awarded grants, scholarships or G.I. bill disbursements.EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES:Abcmouse- subscription-based digital education program for children ages 2-8.BrainPOP- Animated educational sites for kidsDiscovery Education- standards-based digital curriculum resources for K-12 classrooms worldwideFunbrain- online educational games for kidsKhan Academy- offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard for self-paced learningPhET Simulations- provides free fun interactive math and science simulationsScholastic- offers books, literacy resources and educational solutions for kidsScistarter- connects people to citizen science projects, scientists and resourcesStarfall- reading, phonics, and math educational games and activities for kids in preschool through 2nd gradeTutor.com/military- The program provides on-demand academic support 24/7 online in more than 100 subjects for grades kindergarten through college students. Now available at no cost to any adult or child in a DoD civilian or Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve or Wounded Warrior military family.FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS:Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-studentaid.govFastWeb- online college scholarship search providerINFORMATIONAL ARTICLES:”20 Tips for Applying for College Scholarship”, Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD, EzineArticles.com”Minimizing Summer Learning Loss- 5 Tips for Parents”, Felecia D. Sheffield & Shameeka T. Meredith, ezinerarticles.comParent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “All About the IEP”Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “Developing Your Child’s IEP”U.S. Department of Education, “A Guide to the Individualized Education Program”Greatschools.org “A parent’s guide to Section 504 in public schools”Additudemag.com “is an IEP or 504 Plan best for Your Child? How to Decide”Copyright © 2020 Felecia D. Sheffield. PhD, HSP All Rights Reserved Worldwide in all Media.