Many thanks to Peter DeWitt at Education Week for the recent publication of this article, “12 Areas School Leaders Should Focus on in 2019”, which outlines the areas he believes educators would benefit from examining in their schools in 2019. DeWitt’s insights come from the years he has spent as an educator, as well as from the research he and his colleagues have done on school leadership.
On that point, DeWitt says:
“I have had the honor of working with so many great school leaders who work really hard. They find a balance between the politics of the position and focusing on what will have a true impact on students and teachers. Unfortunately, I have also noticed that there are principals who do not always know where to begin. Additionally, some leaders believe they are doing something impactful, when if they collected evidence, they will find those actions they take are not impactful at all. Sometimes we refer to this as confirmation bias.”
According to DeWitt, areas of focus for educational leaders in 2019 include:
- Their Own Credibility: Developing awareness around where they have the expertise and credibility to guide and advise their teaching staff
- Trauma & Mental Health: Mental health issues are on the rise for both adults and children in the U.S. Understanding how these issues affect academic and staff performance, as well as school safety and school culture, are key.
- Equity: How are leaders ensuring their campuses are safe places for people of all backgrounds?
- Mindfulness: A popular subject here at ED311, DeWitt insists mindfulness must find and sustain a place in all classrooms and on all school campuses.
- Media Literacy: School campuses and leaders must make sure that students and teachers are adept at using digital technologies.
- Collective Teacher Efficacy: How can school leaders elevate and empower their teachers to make a bigger difference for students and communities?
- Active Shooter Drills: Sadly, DeWitt acknowledges the growing need to focus on these important safety drills.
- Learning: Another popular topic at ED311, DeWitt says school leaders need to place a heavier focus on professional development opportunities for themselves and their staff.
- Family Engagement: School leaders should explore how they are engaging and communicating with the families of their students.
- Coaching: Coaching is becoming a popular tool for school leaders to use to build confidence across their roles.
- Educational Research: Leaders need to be more mindful and use more discernment around how they are using research to drive their decision-making processes.
- Positive News: Leaders need to set the tone for sharing more of the positive – and less of the negative – about their schools and the field of education.