Effective professional learning for principals: providing support for novice principals at the district level

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University of Alabama Libraries

Being a school principal is harder than it has ever been before and is becoming increasingly more difficult due to constant, pressing economic, technological, and global changes. Most novice principals will not have a successful first-year experience; they will be expected to effectively lead their schools with little practical knowledge and minimal, if any, support from their school district. This study provides information describing the first-year experience of novice principals and what novice principals want from their district in terms of support and induction. The qualitative data used in the analysis are from interviews conducted with 7 principals, all having less than 5 years in the principalship. Findings show that novice principals want to participate in induction programs specifically designed to meet their needs as well meeting the district's needs. More specifically, they want well-suited mentors, regular formal meetings with their superintendent, and regular informal meetings with their peer groups. Considering that school improvement, strong student achievement, and a school culture focused on student learning almost solely rest on the quality of school leadership, this research is significant in identifying novice principals' needs for professional learning support at the district level. Furthermore, recent literature provided by the Georgia State Department of Education indicated the number of principals leaving their positions is increasing; many are retiring, but a large percentage is leaving the principalship, if not public education all together.

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Educational leadership