Evaluating School Leaders with Telepresence
We read a lot in education news about evaluating teacher performance, and I wrote a few months back about how telepresence could help with assessing and developing classroom leaders.
But what about the top school leaders? Education Week’s Christina Samuels wrote a recent article about the need for re-vamped evaluations of the people who manage the teachers: school principals.
According to Samuels, school districts struggle to design and implement effective principal evaluation systems. Today, most principals have annual reviews with district-level administrators, but these meetings do not serve to adequately assess the principals as instructional leaders, she writes. Samuels notes that Delaware has made some progress to improve evaluation procedures by developing a system that measures principals’ abilities to analyze school data and use it to set goals, as well as coach teachers to improve their practice.
It seems to me that Delaware has solid evaluation criteria in place. Technology like telepresence could help these district leaders look in meaningful, efficient ways at how their principals strive to achieve the State’s benchmarks. Telepresence could give district heads regular access to the everyday activities in classrooms at multiple schools. Rather than traveling from school to school, which takes time and travel funds, district leaders could peer into classrooms and hallways in real-time, whenever they need to, without leaving their offices. Not only would this access help the logistics of evaluating principals, but it would also increase the quality of the evaluations. Principals could coordinate observations with their superiors, so the evaluators could watch authentic interaction between principals and teachers, students, and school staff. District leaders and principals could also hold frequent face-to-face meetings, rather than one annual gathering, which would help hold principals accountable and give them the support they need to succeed.
From enhancing the classroom experience for students, to helping teachers improve their instruction, to boosting principals’ leadership, telepresence can play an invaluable role in schools’ success. Have you seen it in action in your local schools?