Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Higher Education Committee
Professional Development for School Leaders – Conceptual Proposal for Revisions to School District Plans
October 30, 2008
Issue for Discussion
Should the Board of Regents revise Regulations concerning school district professional development planning to include professional development for school leaders?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Review of Policy
This item will come before the Regents Higher Education Committee for discussion at the November 2008 meeting.
In 2006, the Board adopted new certification requirements for school leadership positions, including School Building Leader, School District Leader, and School District Business Leader. This new structure for school leaders requires continuing professional development of 175 hours every five years for those holding Professional certificates.
As part of the strategy to help all students meet New York State Learning Standards, raise student achievement and close achievement gaps, the Board of Regents adopted a comprehensive set of teaching policies in 1998 that profoundly changed teacher preparation, certification, mentoring, professional development and performance evaluation for teachers. Recognizing that success in achieving learning standards for all students depends upon effective leadership in our schools and school districts, as well as effective teachers and involved parents and caregivers, the Board of Regents and Department also began an initiative to strengthen certification requirements for educational leaders in New York State.
Since 2004, New York State teachers have been required to complete 175 hours of professional development every five years in order to maintain their Professional certificates. School districts are required to develop and implement district-wide professional development plans to provide substantial professional development opportunities for all their teachers. The intent of these provisions is the continuing competence and growth of New York’s teachers throughout their careers.
In 2006, the Board also adopted new certification requirements for school leadership positions, including School Building Leader, School District Leader, and School District Business Leader. This new structure for school leaders requires continuing professional development of 175 hours every five years for those holding Professional certificates.
The proposal before the Regents for discussion this month would update the school district professional development planning process to include professional development for school leaders as well as teachers.
Staff had initial conversations with some stakeholders concerning this proposal, including:
- The New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS),
- The School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS),
- The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) - NYC,
- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO), and
- The Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching (PSPB)
As an outgrowth of these conversations, professional development for school leaders was reinforced as an important factor in bringing about the kind of change necessary to enhance student learning and achievement. As such, professional development for school leaders should be regular in frequency and promote ongoing reflection on the practice of leadership. Moreover, factors that influence student learning, including research-based classroom and school practices, should be the primary focus of professional development initiatives. Ensuring that such practices and strategies are implemented with fidelity should also be a priority. The Board of Regents and the State Education Department have received a $3 million Wallace Foundation Grant to create a Cohesive Leadership System in New York State. Through the creation of leadership academies across the State, with the assistance of the Wallace Foundation Grant, the Department will identify best practices and strategies to strengthen the instructional role of school leaders which will be imbedded into the professional development requirements for all school leaders in New York State. The research-based practices that are proven successful in strengthening teaching and student learning will be the cornerstone of professional development now and into the future for all our school leaders.
Staff recommends the following proposed revisions/additions to the regulations governing the school district professional development planning process:
1. Inclusion of suggested content areas for professional development to be provided for school leadership certificate holder, including:
- Understanding and use of student assessment data;
- Curriculum development;
- School-wide and classroom practices that promote student learning
- Factors that engage/motivate student learning
- Teacher development, including needs of beginning teachers;
- Collaborative skills with other educators, student support personnel and other constituencies;
- Ability to build a strong community of learners among faculty, staff and administrators
- Using student and school performance data to “drive” school improvement, with a focus on student learning outcomes;
- Knowledge and understanding of the change process and how to manage it
- The ability to effectively distribute leadership and grow teacher leaders
- For school district leader certificate holders, the topics of curriculum development, instructional leadership, school law, district finances, community relations, personnel management, personnel negotiations, and superintendent board relations;
- Ethics and ethical conduct of school employees and school leaders;
- Research-based findings on leadership practices and responsibilities that have a positive impact on student achievement;
- Application of research on effective leadership practices; and
- Comprehensive school improvement planning models.
2. The key constituency groups of teachers and school leaders should have major decision-making roles and responsibilities in the design of their own professional development. The professional development regulations will be amended to reflect the leadership role of teachers and school leaders to design their respective professional development activities with the approval of the Board of Education.
3. Professional development for school superintendents should be determined by the superintendent in consultation with the employing school board. Since all district employees are under the direction of the superintendent of schools, the most appropriate body within the district to co-create professional development with the superintendent would be the school board.
4. Language in pertinent sections needs to be updated to reflect the current organizational structure in the New York City Department of Education.
5. Inclusion of a provision for study in understanding the needs of students with autism for those school leaders who supervise special education programs. (Chapter 143 of the Laws of 2008 requires training in understanding the needs of students with autism).
The Regents should endorse this conceptual proposal for revisions to the regulations concerning school district professional development planning.
Timetable for Implementation
If the Committee approves this conceptual proposal, we will distribute preliminary draft language to interested parties for review and input prior to completing a draft for the Committee’s consideration in February 2009.