Leadership Strategies

Effective leadership entails both the capacity to give direction to a school improvement effort and the ability to empower others throughout the process. In a proficiency-based learning system, leaders should continually monitor the conditions that allow student learning to thrive. All stakeholders have a role in the creation of these conditions, which may include embracing new and more inclusive conceptions of leadership and school governance.

The following essential questions can help your school evaluate its leadership model:

  1. How do we intentionally strengthen leadership capacity in students, teachers, parents and others?
  2. How do we establish a learning culture that empowers students to make meaningful decisions and choices about how and where they learn?
  3. How do we establish a culture of high expectations and intensive support that empowers all administrators and educators to make intentional decisions that will positively impact each student’s learning?
  4. How can administrators make intentional leadership decisions that improve communication about and support for proficiency-based learning?
  5. What new roles and responsibilities need to be created and supported?

The following resources will help districts and schools develop leadership strategies to support proficiency-based learning:

  • Center for Best Practice. The Maine Department of Education's Center for Best Practice is a clearinghouse for resources and case studies related to proficiency-based learning and learner-centered instructional practices. The resources section features several in-depth case studies of Maine districts and schools that have transitioned to proficiency-based systems.
  • Global Best Practices, Dimensions 3.1–3.4. Developed by the Great Schools Partnership for the New England Secondary School Consortium, Global Best Practices is an internationally benchmarked self-assessment tool for secondary schools. Strand 3 (Dimensions 3.1–3.4) addresses school leadership.
  • The Learning Principal. The Learning Principal is a newsletter published by Learning Forward, a national organization devoted to supporting effective professional development for K–12 educations. The newsletter focuses on issues and topics important to school and district leaders as they work to support ongoing professional learning for teachers they supervise.
  • Leadership in a Competency-Based System. Published by CompetencyWorks, Leadership in a Competency-Based System was written by Maine middle school principal Bill Zima, who describes his experience and professional learning in a school that is working to implement proficiency-based learning.
  • Community Engagement and Education Advocacy by School Boards (PDF, 745KB). In this report, Hanover Research examines effective methods for school boards to both engage the community and advocate for favorable education policy. With respect to each activity, the report justifies its necessity, discusses how to plan strategically and identifies specific methods for accomplishing the task. The report also profiles an exemplary community engagement program and an organization that assists school boards in lobbying policymakers.