Inclusive Practice: Administrator Evaluation
The Massachusetts Model Systems for Principal and Superintendent Evaluation were created in response to new regulations adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2011. The models were designed to promote leaders' growth and development while placing student learning at the center of the process.
Similar to the educator evaluation system, the administrator evaluation system consists of a five-step cycle. Administrators are assessed on four Standards: Instructional Leadership, Management and Operations, Family and Community Engagement, and Professional Culture, as well as completion of goals related to student learning, professional practice, and school improvement. Evaluators review administrator goals, student outcomes, and professional practice in order to determine the administrator's Summative Performance and Student Impact Ratings. View the Model System.
Administrator's Role in Creating an Inclusive Environment
Inclusion is not the job of any one educator, classroom, or school. Although the tools of this Guidebook are designed to support the inclusion of diverse learners in general education classrooms, the successful creation of an inclusive educational setting begins at the school and district levels. Superintendents, principals, and other administrators are vital to this process. It is crucial that administrators know and can integrate strategically and effectively the principles of accessible instruction and positive behavior supports within a school culture, establish the infrastructure needed, and support educators' implementation. When cultivating an inclusive school setting, administrators implement the following practices:
Committing to the philosophy that all means all. Administrators who embrace and model a philosophy that all students can learn set the stage for establishing a collaborative, supportive, and effective environment for students with exceptional learning needs. Educators are more inclined to share responsibility for all students when they are involved in decision making, provided strong leadership, engaged in a common mission, and surrounded by peers who buy into the notion that all students can succeed when provided with appropriate supports and instructional strategies.
Strategic planning. Administrators play a critical role in creating strategic plans and schedules that take into account the needs of diverse learners, prioritize uninterrupted instructional time, and provide educators the opportunity to collaborate to meet students' needs. When plans and schedules are built with district core values at the forefront, students benefit.
Embracing high expectations for all students. Administrators play a key role in leading and educating staff to ensure that high standards and expectations are held for all students. For example, research suggests that English language learners perform much better when placed according to academic ability rather than language proficiency, reinforcing the need to establish high expectations1.
Focusing on instruction and learning. Administrators should hold high expectations, and provide opportunities, for all educators to acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to employ instructional strategies designed to meet the individualized learning needs of all students. Administrators can emphasize and model the importance of collaboration to provide supports and services to ensure equitable access to the standards and curriculum.
The following tools provide concrete strategies to help evaluators support and develop administrators' skills in implementing and supporting inclusive practices.
Inclusive Practice Tool 8a: Superintendent Self-Assessment
This tool is designed to assist superintendents or district leadership teams conduct self-assessments regarding the adoption and implementation of district-wide inclusive practice. It aligns inclusive practice at the district level with nine Power Elements for Inclusive Practice from the Massachusetts Model Superintendent Rubric.
Districts considering comprehensive implementation of the Guidebook may find value in using this tool to demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to the work of establishing an inclusive environment at all levels.
Inclusive Practice Tool 8b: Master Schedule Review
The Master Schedule Review Tool helps administrators and leadership teams ensure that the school's master schedule promotes an inclusive climate. The tool also provides a protocol for school-based teams to use to review school schedules for inclusive practice. The combination of activities asks leaders to do the following:
- Reflect on the equity of the schedule and how well it incorporates principles of accessible instruction and positive behavior supports
- Analyze schedule data to look for trends, strengths, and deficits in the schedule
- Create a plan to support more inclusive scheduling
Inclusive Practice Tool 8c: Staff Feedback Discussion Protocol
Staff feedback on administrator practice is a key piece of information related to an administrator's ability to create and support an inclusive environment. Evaluators can use the MA Model Staff Feedback Survey for evidence of an administrator's practice in this area. Evaluators can also use the Staff Feedback Discussion Protocol to gather information from educators about an administrator's practice related to creating and sustaining an inclusive school culture.
Inclusive Practice Tool 8d: What to Look For-School-Level Administrator
Administrator observations will often take place in a variety of settings and contexts. The What to Look For-Observations tool for evaluators identifies administrator behaviors, staff behaviors, and environmental conditions that are reflective of an inclusive school community. Evaluators can also use the What to Look For-Observations tool to frame post-observation conferences when inclusive practice is an identified area of focus.
1 Callahan, R. (2005). Tracking and high school English learners: Limiting opportunity to learn. American Educational Research Journal, 42, 305-328.
Last Updated: August 14, 2015