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Principals: Designing Innovations

What role do principals play in designing innovations that are implemented in schools?  Is their involvement helpful? Could they be more involved, and if so, what would be the likely outcomes? Many of the current initiatives have been designed by policymakers, researchers, or state or federal leaders, often without the involvement of principals. Is this practical or wise?

Principals as the “CEOs”of their buildings are instrumental to the success of initiatives. Whether it is common core, raising academic achievement, school improvement, serving special populations, or implementing a new a curriculum or instructional strategy, principals need to be involved. Experienced principals who have seen innovations come and go have valuable insights into what is needed for an innovation to work. New principals have the insights from their perpsective of juggling all the demands of their new positions. If principals, both experienced and novice, are involved up front, during the design phase, then perhaps the innovations may be more user-or school-friendly. As instructional leaders in their building principals know something about the factors that may simplify implementation, the factors that may appeal to teachers, and the contextual variables that could be barriers to success.

How are principals involved in the design of innovations that you are leading?


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