Jewish school leaders (heads, principals, assistant principals, deans) confront a plethora of daily challenges. These leaders must, at once, deal with managerial, political, financial, operational, and communal issues, among others.
These leaders know, though, that a significant portion of their time must be devoted to promoting educational quality; more specifically, a program of instructional excellence that promotes learning for all students. Leaders of Jewish schools are busy and may not always be cognizant of the latest cutting-edge theories and practices in the field of instructional leadership. On more than one occasion I have been asked by school leaders for a resource that may serve as a guide to best practices in instructional improvement. This monograph seeks to address that need.
This monograph, in an academic manner, summarizes extant literature in the field of instructional leadership, culls best practices from private and public schools, provides, in a practical vein, recommendations to enhance a school’s instructional program, and suggests strategies and steps to foster instructional excellence. The monograph includes an annotated reference list for further information and several questionnaires designed to assess instructional effectiveness.
The monograph aims, to build on current successes in Jewish schools by offering pathways to even higher realms of instructional success. Suggestions that are offered might appear overwhelming at first. I recommend that readers start with some small changes and move forward gradually. Research indicates that large scale instructional reform, as advocated in this monograph, can take nearly five years to fully implement.
This monograph affirms the critical nature of instructional leadership as the main responsibility of a Jewish day school leader. It is meant to provide Jewish school leaders with the theory and tools necessary to meet the instructional challenges, demands, and crises facing Jewish schools in the twenty-first century.