News & Events

Helping Principals Focus on Teaching and Learning

April 18, 2016

Making Time for Instructional Leadership, a new three-volume report comissioned by the Wallace Foundation, describes how about 700 schools around the nation are using the “SAM process,” an approach to helping principals focus on improving instruction in their classrooms by reducing the amount of time they spend on building management and day-to-day administration. The report is by a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennyslvania, led by CASJE Advisory Board member Ellen Goldring.

The SAM approach has evolved since it was introduced in 2002 and earlier evaluations of it were published. Volume 1 details this evolution, explaining how the original model has been refined to include a greater variety of supports for principals and an emphasis on increasing the quality of the time the principals spend on instructional matters. Click here to read the executive summary of volume 1.

Volume 2 suggests that a high-quality randomized controlled trial of the SAM process could be feasible and would help the field better understand the effects of the updated process. Volume 3 contains technical appendices.

A key finding, based on a survey of SAM principals, interviews and other sources, is that the research results “are consistent with the idea that the SAM process helps principals focus on and find ways to increase the time they engage with the school’s instructional program.” For the future, the report says, an area of continuing development for the process will be a focus on the quality of classroom instruction.

Learn more about the series.