Estimated Time to Complete: 2 hours

This module introduces leadership ideas and practices key to Ohio’s provisions for supporting continuous improvement in all its schools and districts. In fact, all OLAC’s resources support this leadership mission. This module, however, deals with overarching concepts supporting leadership practice—concepts that may be unfamiliar to many educators, and especially to teachers. Understanding these concepts is important for teachers, among other educators, because they all serve on leadership teams.

Drawing on key leadership concepts, the module also presents “high-leverage” leadership practices, for TBTs, BLTs, and DLTs. These practices include:

  • promoting the learning and development of all educators;
  • establishing focused goals and strategies for the district and its schools;
  • communicating expectations that support the district’s focused goals and strategies; and
  • planning, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating the work (especially the instructional work) of the district and its schools.

Although student test scores get a lot of attention, note that the last of these high-leverage practices focuses leadership attention on instruction, not on test scores.

These key leadership practices have their theoretical, empirical, and practical origins in three theories that the module explains:

  • Transformational Leadership Theory,
  • Instructional Leadership Theory, and
  • Distributed Leadership Theory.

Not surprisingly, the content in this module aligns with all the areas described in Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework (BASA, 2022).

Module Content

You can download a document that includes all content from the module, with the exception of videos. This resource can support your learning while completing the module or be saved for future reference.

Additional Documents

Moving Your Numbers Matrix

Ohio's Leadership Development Framework - 2nd Edition

Resource 14: The Ohio 5-Step Process Visual

Self-Study Quiz: How Do District's Support Higher Levels of Learning?

Table 2: Where Are You on The Transformational-Transactional Continuum?

The Journey to Becoming an Instructional Leader

Discussion Questions

  1. How might traditional leadership practices keep superintendents and central office administrators from distributing leadership to principals, BLTs, and TBTs? What are the first steps these administrators might take to change their practice in ways that broaden leadership expectations, responsibilities, and supports districtwide?

  2. How might principals, whose jobs tend to be very demanding, continually up-date their knowledge about the instructional practices that are most likely to be effective?

  3. Which of the evidence-based leadership practices that the module discusses would be easiest for you to implement? Why? Which would be the most difficult? Why? 

  4. What district-level actions are most essential for improving the capacity of principals to function as instructional leaders? What is the role of the superintendent in supporting principal capacity to lead instructional improvement? How does the central office need to function to support principals in this way?

  5. A great deal of research shows that using data well contributes to improvements in teaching and learning. Which types of data do you think would be most useful to school-level leaders (both principals and members of teacher teams)? In what ways would these types of data be useful? Which types of data do you think would be most useful to district-level leaders (superintendents, central office administrators, and DLT members)? In what ways would these types of data be useful?

  6. Most school districts employ teachers with different types and levels of expertise. What strategies might a principal use to build the school's overall instructional capacity to better meet the learning needs of every student by drawing on the various types of teacher expertise already present within the school's professional staff?


Introductory Activities

  1. Moving Your Numbers

    Read one or more of the case studies developed as part of the Moving Your Numbers (MYN) project (http://www.movingyournumbers.org/). Identify the practices used in the district that reflect transformational leadership, distributed leadership, and instructional leadership. Compare these practices to the leadership practices used in your district. Perhaps use a matrix such as the one attached here to compile your insights.

  2. Evidence-based Practice

    Leadership at the BLT and TBT levels requires knowledge of the evidence-based instructional practices that are most likely to work effectively for all the students attending a school. Develop a list of resources that a school’s BLT and TBTs can use routinely to access information about evidence-based practices.

Advanced Activities

  1. Principals and Teacher Learning and Development

    Think of a principal with whom you are very familiar. You can choose yourself, a current principal, or a past principal. Then analyze the ways in which that principal promotes and participates in teacher learning and development. What other practices might the principal use to expand his or her efforts to promote and participate in teacher learning and development? Which of these other practices seem to have the highest priority? Develop an action plan that the principal might use in order to begin to enact these highest-priority practices.

You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.