Seven: Supervision of Personnel. The principal is knowledgeable
about national state, and local district personnel policies.
Administrators wear many hats, each essential to their job. Hiring and
keeping good teachers requires proactive learning about content areas,
‘best fit’ of experience and personality for a position, and regular
communication to establish positive relationships. While investing in
relationships with your staff is time intensive, it is extremely beneficial
when teachers must tackle change and address improved student achievement.
This is particularly important during classroom observations and evaluation
of teacher performance. VonVillas (2004) talks about the necessity of
going beyond noting the quality of a lesson plan or the degree to which
students are engaged. She charges effective administrators with developing
a deep knowledge about instructional design and delivery related to
that content. Part of achieving this, she suggests, is approaching supervision
as more of a continuous activity rather than isolated, prescribed events.
The 3-minute observation
cycle I mentioned in my discussion of Standard 6 is very useful in ongoing
supervision as well. Using this routine establishes regular communication
between teachers and administrators. Teachers feel supported when administrators
are regularly visible in the classroom. Administrators also have the
benefit of genuinely knowing how their teachers teach based on frequent
observations of their work. This gives the evaluation process a genuine
depth that can otherwise feel somewhat artificial.
stance is also very important during the interview and hiring process.
Effective administrators are current on hiring policies so that they
are prepared to offer positions to desirable applicants. Several factors
can make the interview process more productive. In-district employees
seeking to transfer can be a good fit for a position rather than ‘taking
what you get.’ In the district where I completed my internship experience
I observed another unique approach. The personnel administration actively
recruited potential employees out-of-cycle. In other words, they planned
proactively where possible, ensuring that the best possible employees
were secured early in the hiring season.
Two excellent artifacts relate to this standard. I have participated
on the Personnel Subcommittee for George Washington High School for
the past several years. This year I am the coordinator for the committee.
This experience has taught me a lot about the hiring process. Before
interviews even begin, I have learned that communication with my colleagues
is extremely important. Respecting their time is foremost in my planning
when I develop the interview schedule. I relay the dates and times to
them well in advance to help alleviate stress related to staying after
work hours to interview applicants. We have also worked together as
a team to streamline the interview process. Using thoughtful questions
helps us assess interviewees at several levels. Not only do we listen
for critical indicators of their ability, but we also glean information
about them as teammates and colleagues. We know our existing teams and
how potential employees would fit with them. This is important preparation
for the interview process.
The other artifact
that I find particularly applicable to this standard is the Observation
Cycle work product from my Supervision course. The observation roughly
follows a clinical supervision cycle that uses a pre-observation, observation,
and post-observation format. This observation cycle deviated from traditional
administrator observations in that this observation on a peer-to-peer
level. In short, it was great! I think both my colleague and I enjoyed
the process and the opportunity to discuss teaching strategy for our
B. (September 2004). Improving the way we observe classrooms. School
v 61, n 8, p 52.