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Building a Better Pipeline to the Principalship: The SABLE Story

Duration: 10:50

Urban superintendents are struggling to find enough effective principals and other leaders to staff schools in their districts. More principals are eligible to retire each year, and there are few qualified candidates in the pipeline to replace them. How can super-intendents address a leadership crisis in their districts? Every public school system presents distinct challenges, needs and reform priorities for school leaders. The crucial question is not just how can we train future leaders, but how can we train leaders that will succeed in specific school environments and be part of a sustainable reform effort.

In response to a shortage of qualified leaders, the Atlanta Public Schools developed the Superintendent’s Academy for Building Leaders in Education (SABLE), which prepares aspiring principals with the specific standards, core values, knowledge and skills required to lead the district’s schools. This video vignette looks at SABLE through the experiences of participants, district leaders and graduates, and demonstrates the benefits it has brought to the district.

THE PRINCIPAL STORY follows the journey of two elementary school principals throughout a school year as they strive to improve student achievement and implement school reform. Featured are novice principal Tresa D. Dunbar of the Henry H. Nash Elementary School in Chicago and veteran principal Kerry Purcell of Harvard Park Elementary School in Springfield, Ill. Their stories unfold in an hour-long documentary film that illustrates the struggles and successes these leaders encounter. In addition, a 23-minute clip reel, available on the film’s supplemental outreach DVD and website, draws from the documentary to highlight four themes critical to effective school leadership:

1. Stewardship of a vision;
2. Leading instructional improvement;
3. Creating the instructional environment; and
4. Holding people accountable.

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Post Date: July 21, 2009