Involved in the Academic Business of Schools

Successful superintendents believe that they must not only understand, but be directly and deeply involved in the academic business of their schools (in addition to, but above and beyond the managerial side of things). Instruction is not left to chance. They believe that strong practices in the Instructional Core (Elmore, 2008) form the foundation for the success of their students. Thus, they seek to ensure that classroom instruction is strong by monitoring teaching and learning across their entire system, and when they find areas that need improvement, they put robust approaches to professional development in place to improve upon any area of concern. First, they set district wide expectations for a strong instructional framework (i.e., curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices). Second, they actively monitor teaching and learning to evaluate if their expectations are being met. Third, they view professional development as an implementation tool for teaching new expectations or correcting poor performance.