Idaho Standards for Effective Principals

Last updated July 2013

An Administrator Evaluation Focus Group was convened from December 2011—June 2012 to explore current research surrounding administrator evaluation and provide input to the Idaho SDE in developing the Administrator Evaluation Framework. An Evaluation Capacity Task Force continues to meet to inform the process.

Through much deliberation, research, writing, and rewriting, the Administrator Evaluation Focus Group recommended the adoption of the following definition of an effective administrator:

Effective administrators in the state of Idaho are responsible for the collective success of their schools, including the learning, growth, and achievement of both students and staff. As the school’s primary instructional leader, effective principals enable critical discourse and data driven reflection about curriculum, assessment, instruction, and student progress and create structures to facilitate improvement. Effective principals are adept at creating systems that maximize the utilization of resources and human capital, foster collaboration, and facilitate constructive change. By creating a common vision and articulating shared values, effective principals lead and manage their schools in a manner that supports the school’s ability to promote equity and to continually improve its positive impact on students and families. (Adapted from Colorado State Council for Educator Effectiveness Report and Recommendations, page 14.)

After examining the research and many examples of frameworks in practice, both in the state of Idaho and other states and districts across the country, the Administrator Evaluation Focus Group defined 14 characteristics of a highly effect administrator. These make up the components of the framework and are organized under three domains, School Climate, Collaborative Leadership, and Instructional Leadership.

2013-14 Pilot for Principal Evaluation Three Options

Increased attention has been given to educator performance evaluation over the last number of years, culminating in Administrative Board Rule change that is now effective. Idaho Code IDAPA requires all district or local educational agency (LEA) charters to pilot Idaho's Standards for Effective Principals during the 2013-14 school year and full implementation in the 2014-15 school year.

The Idaho Principal Evaluation Pilot allows local education agencies (LEA) to choose from three different pilot options for principal evaluation. Each Idaho district or LEA charter must select one of the three methods to pilot principal evaluation for the 2013-14 school year.

Option 1:


  1. Align current district principal evaluation system to the Idaho Standards for Effective Principals
  2. Provide feedback to the Idaho Department of Education (SDE) in systematic format, if requested

Option 2:


  1. Align current district principal evaluation to the Idaho Standards for Effective Principals (ISEP)
  2. Pilot one or more of the SDE principal evaluation tools that support the Idaho Standards for Effective Principals
  3. Provide feedback to the SDE in systematic format, if requested

Option 3:


This option will be available for up to 8 - 10 districts and/or LEA charter schools. The goal of this pilot is to test the Idaho Standards for Effective Principals (ISEP) and the related suite of tools and processes that support the standards.

  1. Each participating team will consist of a superintendent (or evaluator of principals, if not the superintendent) and one principal.
    a. If there is more than one principal in the district, the other principal(s) may be evaluated using the district's current evaluation system or they be evaluated using the pilot ISEP suite of tools.
  2. Use the Idaho Standards for Effective Principals
  3. Use the suite of tools and processes that support the standards
  4. Pilot sites will be expected to participate in three webinars and one face-to-face training
  5. Participants will complete two surveys and provide systematic feedback concerning the usefulness of the tools and other relevant evaluation data.

Idaho Standards for Effective Principals

button Domain 1--School Climate

An educational leader promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional development. An educational leader articulates and promotes high expectations for teaching and learning while responding to diverse community interest and needs.

  1. School Culture— Principal establishes a safe, collaborative, and supportive culture ensuring all students are successfully prepared to meet the requirements for tomorrow’s careers and life endeavors.
  2. Communication— Principal is proactive in communicating the vision and goals of the school or district, the plans for the future, and the successes and challenges to all stakeholders.
  3. Advocacy— Principal advocates for education, the district and school, teachers, parents, and students that engenders school support and involvement.

button Domain 2--Collaborative Leadership

An educational leader promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations and resources for a safe, efficient and effective learning environment. In collaboration with others, uses appropriate data to establish rigorous, concrete goals in the context of student achievement and instructional programs. He or she uses research and/or best practices in improving the education program.

  1. Shared Leadership— Principal fosters shared leadership that takes advantage of individual expertise, strengths, and talents, and cultivates professional growth.
  2. Priority Management— Principal organizes time and delegates responsibilities to balance administrative/managerial, educational, and community leadership priorities.
  3. Transparency— Principal seeks input from stakeholders and takes all perspectives into consideration when making decisions.
  4. Leadership Renewal— Principal strives to continuously improve leadership skills through, professional development, self-reflection, and utilization of input from others.
  5. Accountability— Principal establishes high standards for professional, legal, ethical, and fiscal accountability self and others.

button Domain 3--Instructional Leadership

An educational leader 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. He or she provides leadership for major initiatives and change efforts and uses research and/or best practices in improving the education program.

  1. Innovation – Principal seeks and implements innovative and effective solutions that comply with general and special education law.
  2. Instructional Vision – Principal insures that instruction is guided by a shared, research-based instructional vision that articulates what students do to effectively learn the subject.
  3. High Expectations – Principal sets high expectation for all students academically, behaviorally, and in all aspects of student well-being.
  4. Continuous Improvement of Instruction – Principal has proof of proficiency in assessing teacher performance based upon the Danielson Framework for Teaching.
  5. Aligns resources, policies, and procedures toward continuous improvement of instructional practice guided by the instructional vision.
  6. Evaluation – Principal uses teacher evaluation and other formative feedback mechanisms to continuously improve teacher effectiveness.
  7. Recruitment and Retention – Principal recruits and maintains a high quality staff.