This week’s tip: You are the Best Bet

1982:  Research suggests that principals should be instructional leaders.
2004:  Research concludes that principals are the second largest lever influencing student learning.
2021:  Research concludes principal impact on student performance is far greater than previously thought.  
Example: the newest research demonstrates that improving one teacher’s performance to above average gives 25 students an extra 4 months of academic gain.  One principal who reaches above average gives all students in a school an extra 3 months of academic gain and creates a far better experience for staff, parents and students.   
In other words, you are the best bet a community can make to improve student learning.  The researchers concluded: “…it is difficult to envision an investment in K-12 education with a higher ceiling on its potential return than improving school leadership…”  

Will Miller, President, The Wallace Foundation: “The impact of an effective principal has likely been understated, with impacts being both greater and broader than previously believed: greater in the impact on student achievement and broader in affecting other important outcomes, including teacher satisfaction and retention (especially among high-performing teachers), student attendance, and reductions in exclusionary discipline.”   

The creation, testing and development of the SAM Process directly follows the research timeline.  In 1982 Mark Shellinger was a new principal.  For the next ten years as a principal, and ten more as a superintendent, he struggled with managing the management so he could be an instructional leader.  In 2004, with Wallace Foundation support, he was testing an idea he and his wife, Carol, had about time management and daily reflective coaching for principals.  Results from a three-year study were promising and led to a five-year study with schools in multiple states.  In 2011 research was conclusive that the SAM Process worked and the National SAM Innovation Project, NSIP was formed as a non-profit company.  In 2021, the SAM process is used daily by 1,200+ school leaders in 23 states.  NSIP’s mission:  Provide the SAM Process to all School Leaders in the United States to create greater teacher and learner success.  

So, what do you do with this new research?  Seven Steps:  

1) Download How Principals Affect Students and Schools, A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research  

2) Read the report and compare your use of time, as documented in your TimeTrack, with the four domains of principal behaviors the research concludes make a difference in positive outcomes for students and schools.  

3) Read the section in the report concerning equity.  Do you have TimeTrack data detailing your connected work?   

4) Share with decision makers in your school, district and state and ask that they use this new research when determining budget priorities for the 2021-22 school year.  

5) Title I and II directors are often hesitant to use funds for principal professional development.  Send them this research and set a time to talk about how this should influence the budget decisions being made now for next school year.  

6) Make sure others know you engage in the SAM process, daily professional development proven by research to be effective.  If your district or state pays for your SAM services, say thanks.  If not, ask them to do so…and extend this service to all school leaders.  Also, ask for funds to attend the annual National SAM Conference for you and your SAM team.  

7) Share the SAM process with other school leaders.  The online landing page provides an easy way to get started and the cost is reduced next year: