Developing Elementary Principals into Instructional Leaders for Science

Districts across the nation are at an exciting moment of implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which lay out a learning trajectory from kindergarten through 12th grade through which students develop deep conceptual understanding of the natural and manmade world as well as the skills required in the fields of science and engineering. With new standards come new curriculum, assessments, and disciplinary pedagogy, which require teachers to be learners and to shift their practice in service of students. The driver of these changes in any school is the principal; however, district and national data show that a majority of principals are not providing instructional leadership at their sites to improve science instruction. This project aims to interrupt this dynamic and to cultivate instructional leadership for science with a cohort of principals who voluntarily participated in collaborative professional learning seminars and received individual coaching around observing science instruction and providing feedback to teachers. The data showed that with targeted team learning and individual support to provide learning experiences in the context in which principals work, principals are able to both increase their knowledge, skills, and shift their practice of providing instructional leadership.

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