Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leadership Baseline Data

I start as a new Principal in a few months and wanted to get some baseline data of myself so that I had something to compare.  No, there isn't a test I can take that would make it easy to score and have results.

Baseline and Meridian

I did find a very effective way to create some baseline data for myself to reflect on and develop goals and outcomes; rubrics.  In this day of multiple choice tests, we often forget about rubrics.  They are an effective way to evaluate how well someone is doing, articulate where someone is, and identify where someone needs to go.  They are useful in all aspects of education.  Finding the right rubric for myself as a principal ended up being much easier than I thought it would.

The Marshall Memo is some of the best money our district spent in regards to improving educational practice.  For $50 a year (cheaper per person if you buy for more), you get Kim Marshall going through 64 education journals and periodicals.  He then sends you weekly summaries of 5-10 articles from them to your email inbox.  Topics always seem to be related to what my district is working on or discussing.  He is also an author and has contributed to the greater research on education.  Kim has taken all of his research and complied a very comprehensive evaluation rubric for Principals.

I completed the rubric (along with my fellow Principals) to serve as my baseline data as I develop goals for myself this year.  Since this is my first go at a Principal, I did not have some of the necessary experience or frames of reference to accurately evaluate myself in some areas.  In those cases, I tended to go with a 2 ranking because I didn't think I was awful, but also wanted room for improvement.  For the sake of tracking I created a spreadsheet in Google Apps to make it easier to calculate.

My overall rankings (4 point scale with 4 being highest) were,
  • Strategy - 2.0
  • First Things First - 1.8
  • Curriculum and Data - 2.3
  • Talent Development - 1.7
  • Culture - 1.8
  • Management - 2.1
Since this is a self evaluation, I am probably harder on myself than others would be and I am probably not in alignment with my fellow principals, YET.  However, the results didn't surprise me.  The areas I personally feel need work ended up scoring low and the areas I excel scored higher.  My personal goals will end up being centered around Culture and First Things First.  The reason I didn't focus on Talent Development has more to do with our district's current financial situation than my lack of ability to develop talent (I certainly won't ignore it though).  The rubric descriptions provide a very clear vision of what I should be achieving.

This particular rubric is great for long term goal planning, but not really good for day to day evaluation.  Again, Kim Marshall provides a great tool; Nine Hundred Lessons.  This tool is great and can be adapted to just about anything.  The basic premise is rating whatever you are evaluating or self evaluating on "a 4-3-2-1 scale, 4 being master-teacher level performance, 3 being solid professional practice, 2 mediocre, 1 unsatisfactory."  I plan to develop a daily Google Form where I enter my own rating as a principal on a day to day basis.  Simple to do and simple to track.

Baseline and Meridian - by Chuck Coker