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GUEST COLUMN: Building Successful Schools from Effective Administrators
Start Date: 7/2/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 7/2/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City)

Many of us have heard that an effective teacher is critical to a student’s academic success. While this is very true, it’s also worthwhile to examine the influence an experienced, knowledgeable administrator can have on a school environment. Because administrators’ work involves all students, teachers and staff members at a school, they serve a key role that has a unique impact.

In a 2012 study by Harvard- and Stanford-based education journal Education Next, it was found that highly effective principals can improve student achievement by the equivalent of two to seven months of additional learning, each school year. Ineffective administrators, however, can negatively impact student achievement by a similar amount.

That trend was especially critical in high-poverty and low-performing schools, the study said. In these environments, an above-average principal can have the effect of an extra seven months of learning per academic year. On the other hand, an ineffective administrator can keep a low-performing school from progressing and improving.

Oftentimes, principals want to learn new skills and techniques that will improve their schools, but they do not have the means to do so. When a school district does not have the resources to support these ambitions, many administrators are left with few options.

This past legislative session, I had the opportunity to work with school administrators and leaders to author a new law establishing the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute through Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education. Through the Institute, principals who enroll in the program will learn new leadership, management and communication techniques that they can carry on to their schools.

The curriculum focuses on various aspects of school leadership issues, such as developing and implementing personal and school improvement plans, facilitating action research projects and bolstering community involvement. Additionally, the Institute encourages collaboration between mentoring administrators and participating principals, creating a network of support that extends beyond the program.

Fifty principals are invited to join the two-year program’s first class. Participants will be required to attend five seminars each year, and school corporations must contribute a one-time $1,000 fee to cement the commitment of the principal and superintendent to the program. Nominating a principal implies the superintendent and school board think the principal has the potential to improve their school, are supportive of positive change in the school and will allow data collection to occur.

I sincerely believe this program will make a major difference in how our schools perform. If a principal has the tools to identify and change key aspects of his or her school, it can lead to better results for students, faculty, parents and even the community as a whole. I look forward to seeing how the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute’s first class performs and the long-term effects of their experience.

To learn more about the program and apply, go to

Contact Information:
Name: Tracy Lytwyn
Phone: 317-234-9221
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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