Resources for Decision Making

To obtain success for all students, the effective superintendents view themselves as responsible for ensuring strong practices in the Instructional Core al of every classroom. When they make adjustments and decisions in response to the needs within their system, they do so in light of what they believe constitutes good teaching and learning, building leadership, and other components. Such decisions are based largely on what they learn from research sources (e.g., articles, books, the WISE Tool, institutes, etc.). References to educational and business research findings are often infused seamlessly into their thinking and conversations.

In addition to using research to inform their decisions, the superintendents also intentionally access outside technical assistance partners that support and blend well with their vision for instructional leadership, such as university partnerships and state sponsored programs. Examples of Idaho programs that have been utilized by such leaders are Reading First, the Idaho Building Capacity (IBC) Project, and the Superintendents Network of Support, each of which are or were designed to approach instructional leadership and systemic school improvement. When choosing these types of programs and supports, successful superintendents seem to be very intentional consumers of the available offerings; the programs meet a specific need for which they are looking. Similarly, outside partnerships such as these connect to the larger attribute they generally demonstrate of understanding current educational research and are seen as a support for instructional decision-making that directly impact the system.

Ultimately, effective superintendents want to know what the best practices are, they pursue those practices, and then they implement them in a manner that suites their local context.

Connections & Resources

The following indicators in the WISE Tool (Idaho's online planning tool) would make for natural connections for superintendents who are considering making plans related to this topic.

IA05 The district contracts with external service providers for key services in restructured schools. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IB03 For each restructuring school, the district makes reference to guidance from What Works When regarding how to assess what the best restructuring options are given its unique district and school context. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link
IB07 The district ensures that school improvement and restructuring plans include research-based, field-proven programs, practices, and models. PDF Icon CLICK HERE Link

The resources below are provided for further exploration of this topic. They are among many tools and readings that Idaho School Superintendents have either used or cited in their work.

External Technical Assistance Programs Intended Audience Links
Idaho Building Capacity (IBC) Project District and School administrators and their leadership teams who are interested in being coached for systemic improvement Link
Superintendents Network of Support Superintendents interested in Instructional Leadership Link
Principals Academy of Leadership Principals interested in Instructional Leadership Link
RTI Module Training District leadership teams interested in collectively learning about Response to Intervention (RTI) Link

Places to Begin in the Research Literature:

Saving Our Students, Saving Our Schools: 50 Proven Strategies for Helping Underachieving Students and Improving Schools

Saving Our Students, Saving Our Schools: 50 Proven Strategies for Helping Underachieving Students and Improving Schools (Barr & Parrett, 2008)

In addition to the other sources mentioned in these resource pages for superintendents, Saving Our Students, Saving Our Schools describes a vast number of strategies for improving outcomes in school systems. Consider reading this book if you are looking for a research based list of ideas.

This book is co-authored by Dr. Bill Parrett of the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies at BSU. Dr. Parrett is engaged in many partnerships throughout Idaho that are helping our schools and districts.

It's Being Done: Academic Success in Unexpected Schools

"It's Being Done: Academic Success in Unexpected Schools" (Chenoweth, 2007)

This is a perfect book for superintendents who want to overcome the mythical phrase common in some places: "You don?t know our students; they have it too difficult to succeed." Based on a nationwide sample of case studies, this book shows how schools of all shapes and sizes have overcome tremendous hurdles to improve outcomes for all children. It's Being Done even highlights the story of Lapwai Elementary School in Idaho. From major metropolitan areas to rural Idaho, this book is an excellent read to show that large scale improvement is truly possible.

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002)

Taken from the Harvard Business School, this book on leadership is a critical resource that would benefit all superintendents. Leadership, whether in the business or public service sectors, is challenging. Leaders need to be savvy, skilled, and aware of the ways in which they lead. Consider reading this book if you want to sharpen the way in which you think about leadership.