Leaders as Learners: The Case for Continued Professional Development

By Shoshana Rabinovsky, Yael Kidron

American Institutes for Research (AIR), Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE), January 2017

Researchers and policymakers have advocated for the continued professional development (CPD) of school leaders as a key strategy for quality education and school improvement. In several states, there are explicit requirements for annual CPD of public school principals. Presently, in Jewish day schools, there are no standards or consistent expectations for leaders’ CPD. The goal of the study was to examine the relationship between leaders’ CPD related to Jewish learning and teachers’ classroom practices to promote students’ Jewish learning and engagement. We defined professional development as any learning activity with well-defined sequence and objectives designed to enhance a leader’s knowledge and skills. The study team surveyed and interviewed 36 school leaders. Additional data were collected from 330 full-time teachers who were directly supervised by the school leaders. Results indicated that school leaders’ participation in continued professional development significantly predicted teachers’ classroom practice. In particular, the integration of Jewish learning into general education classes was linked to leaders’ CPD. Independently of leaders’ CPD, the professional experience of teachers and amount of guidance on pedagogical practices they received from leaders were associated with classroom practices. The study identified three key actions that school boards, school associations, and program providers may take to motivate leaders’ participation in CPD: (1) Helping leaders develop professional development plans (2) Offering professional tools for immediate application (3) Designing CPD programs for middle management Additional research is needed to inform the intensity, scope, and rigor of CPD for leaders with varying levels of professional experience and job responsibilities. 

Topic: Jewish Education, Day Schools, Leadership

Name of Publication: CASJE Jewish Educational Leaders Brief

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Genre: Brief

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Rabinovsky, Shoshana. Kidron, Yael. Leaders as Learners: The Case for Continued Professional Development . CASJE Jewish Educational Leaders Brief. American Institutes for Research (AIR),Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE). January 2017: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=22593