School Improvement in Maryland
Principal's Role in Creating a Vision

The school principal is key in leading the process of creating the shared vision for the school. In identifying standards for school leaders, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) has identified six standards. Standard One states, “A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community.”

When researching successful leaders, Deal and Peterson reported, “We found a clear and focused sense of values to be a critical factor among successful principals we studied.” Robert Eaker adds, “Monitoring or paying attention is a key vehicle for communicating the values of the school. Monitoring will only be truly effective when the school’s key values become the focus of monitoring efforts.” He further points out that “Modeling is the way leaders ‘advertise’ their personal values—and the central values around which the organization operates. All too often school officials espouse certain ideals and beliefs but then pay attention to other things. Students and faculty learn what is truly valued in a school by observing what school leaders pay attention to.”

Consequently, any assessment of a principal’s effectiveness in communicating values should include the following questions:

1. What does the principal plan for?

2. What does the principal monitor?

3. What does the principal model?

4. What does the principal reinforce through recognition and celebration?

5. What behavior is the principal willing to confront?