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Star Principal Training
Haberman Online Product Integration:
When districts purchase the online Teacher Pre-screeners and/or Administrator Questionnaires they automatically receive the results. In this way, the Haberman online products stand alone as tracking system for your district. In addition, we have the ability to partner with any applicant tracking system already in place.

Star Principal Selection Interview: Principal selection training would occur for an audience specially chosen by the district leadership team. The one-day Star Principal Selection Interview training highlights the eleven basic beliefs of effective administrators of schools where students are at risk and in poverty. These beliefs are outlined in much of the generally accepted literature on school leadership and codified in Martin Haberman’s Star Principals Serving Children in Poverty, Kappa Delta Pi (Indianapolis, IN: 1999). One day of training would equip district leaders to understand the rubric and background of Star Administrator Questionnaire. When district administrators understand the ideology of the star principal live interviews, they will fully understand the implications of the online administrator pre-screener results. Both protocols are important to the district’s success.

Background and Methodology Undergirding the Development of the Star Principal Interview: by Dr. Martin Haberman The development of the Star Principal Selection Interview could not be developed following the same procedures as the star teacher interview. Quitter/failure principals are reluctant to be interviewed for a variety of reasons. Some have been told they will get a good reference if they leave the district quietly. Others are promised other jobs in the district if they keep quiet about the causes of their stepping down. Some have been given lucrative buyouts to leave quietly. Some have relatives who still work in the district and fear retribution, while others save face by claiming they were simply taking early retirement or leaving for health reasons. While classroom teachers fail more quietly in their classrooms, principals fail publicly. Because it is more difficult for them to pretend they have been successful they are reluctant to be interviewed. This limits the number of those who would cooperate in the development of an instrument to those who would not be representative of the total group of quitter/failure principals.

The method used to develop the Star Principal Selection Interview therefore drew upon both the written knowledge base and the best practice cited by star principals to explain their effectiveness. In this sense, the star principal methodology was more complete than the process used to develop the star teacher interview.

The Knowledge and Skill Base -
The Danforth and the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge foundations supported a year-long project to summarize the best practice of school principals. The Eli Lilly Foundation also contributed several forms of support and expertise. With the cooperation of all the major professional associations that represent school administrators, the National Policy Board for Educational Administration compiled Principals for Changing Schools: Knowledge and Skill Base. Fairfax,VA: 1992.

The process the group followed was to define the scope of the principal’s role as covering 21 domains of knowledge and skill. Teams of 6-12 academic and practitioner scholars then summarized the knowledge base in each of these domains including critical behaviors to be performed, ways of measuring effectiveness and the supporting bibliography. The domains of the principal’s knowledge and skill base covered were: leadership, information collection, problem analysis, judgment, organizational oversight, implementation, delegation, instruction, curriculum design, guidance, staff development, measurement and evaluation, resources allocation, motivation, interpersonal sensitivity, oral and non-verbal expression, written expression, contextual domains, legal and regulatory applications, policy and political influences, and public relations.

Selecting the Outstanding Principals -
The practitioners selected to serve as resources and jurors were drawn from the Milwaukee Public Schools, the Chicago Public Schools and the Houston Independent School District. The method used to identify star principals was as follows. Principals with a minimum of five years of service were evaluated by their superiors on the basis of their demonstrated performance of the following functions: creating a common vision, team building, securing teacher buy in, staff development, instructional leadership, parental and community relations, performing within the contractual obligations of the various unions representing the school staff, implementing innovative programs, budgeting, and garnering resources for their schools. Principals were also asked to evaluate themselves against the same criteria used by their superiors. An anonymous survey was made of assistant principals asking them to assess these same principals on the same criteria. Traditional criteria such as student learning, absenteeism, suspensions, expulsions, and graduation rates were also assessed. All principals identified were leading schools making annual improvement and growth for the preceding five years on these criteria. In addition, some less traditional means were used to select star principals. Surveys of principals identifying colleagues they regarded as stars were used to rank those most frequently named. These surveys were also used to rank principals most frequently cited as being the most desired principal coaches. Finally, supplemental data were collected on those considered as possible stars: these data included, the number of the transfer requests made by teachers in their buildings who had been rated as effective, teacher absenteeism and the degree to which their schools were used after school, weekends and summers. The result of this extensive process yielded 27 star principals in Milwaukee, 36 in Chicago and 18 in Houston.

Developing the Practitioners’ Knowledge Base -
This phase of the work, including the identification of star principals described above, covered a period of three years from 1993 through 1996. Daylong workshops of the 81 star principals were held in each of the three cities. The principals engaged in a process of team deliberations which yielded their perceptions of 14 functions they performed that they believed accounted for their success. They also produced specific behaviors which were behavioral manifestations of each of these functions.

Working with a team of doctoral students in the 1993-94 school year, the 21 domains of the research knowledge base in Principles for Changing Schools were merged with the 14 functions identified by outstanding principals as the explanation for their success. The 21 Milwaukee principals serving as a jury agreed that the merged document preserved the intent and the functions of both the literature and the practitioners’ knowledge bases.

The 1994-95 year was spent developing questions that could assess the functions identified. Through an iterative process trial questions were tested for their ability to orally communicate the functions correctly to a variety of constituencies; principals, acting principals and principals in training. Respondents were not asked to answer the questions but were asked to explain what they believed the question was asking them.

These trials also produced the prompts interviewers might use to ensure that respondents understood and answered the questions being asked. At the end of these year-long trials the questions and prompts were worded so that 100 per cent of English speaking respondents agreed upon what was being asked in the questions.

Background and Development of the Star Administrator Online Questionnaire:
Overview Like the online pre-screener, the Star Administrator Questionnaire is based on the same research as the live interview and will determine what applicants will do well on the live interview. The questions are based on the individual's core beliefs about connecting with teachers, parents, and the community to ensure success of the children and youth of America. It is made up of 104 questions with two possible answers. The applicant must select the best possible answer and go to the next question. After applicants have completed the test they will not be able to change any answers.

Uses of This Instrument
This questionnaire predicts which candidates will succeed as school principals serving diverse children and youth in urban/rural poverty in a school district. It analyzes respondents' answers to thirteen dimensions of school administrators. These dimensions were identified in our studies of star principals who led effective schools in large districts or who turned failing schools into effective ones. The items represent star administrators' behaviors and predispositions to act. These actions reflect an ideology regarding the respondents' beliefs about the nature of effective schooling for diverse children and youth in poverty and the nature of school leadership necessary to create such schools.

This online questionnaire may be used with experienced individuals who are currently principals or with neophytes who are aspiring principals. It is applicable to individuals who have completed state certification requirements to become principals, or individuals from other careers without formal training in teaching or school administration who are seeking to pursue an alternative route to the role of a school leader. Those typically using this questionnaire are 1) urban or rural school districts seeking to hire new principals 2) school districts seeking to identify effective leaders for failing schools that serve diverse children and youth in poverty and 3) school districts seeking to select individuals for training programs to become principals. Researchers and doctoral students use the questionnaire as a pre and post test in studies assessing the power of various training programs and other treatments intended to change or develop administrators.

The Predictive Profile
Respondents' replies are analyzed in terms of the thirteen functions necessary for effective leadership in schools. Respondents' answers are compared to those of outstanding school principals. The respondent's profile provides ratings of High, Acceptable and Low on each function. Low indicates a danger zone where the responses red flag an area of weakness and likely failure by the respondent in performing that function. In addition to the respondent's profile an overall score comparing the respondent to all others who have taken the test is provided.

Dimensions of Effective Urban School Leadership Assessed by the Questionnaire:

  1. Sensitive to Diversity/ Insensitive to Diversity
    Does the respondent understand the pervasive importance of race, ethnicity, class and gender in the process of interacting with all the constituencies involved in the school community, or does the respondent assume that these differences will not affect his/her leadership? This dimension predicts the respondent's ability to be perceived as fair and equitable in an urban school serving diverse children, parents and community in poverty.
  2. Creates a Common Vision/ Fosters Personal Preferences
    Does the respondent have a strong and persisting commitment to creating a common set of goals and objectives for all school staff, or does s/he believe that it is best for each staff member to decide school goals and best practice for him/herself? This dimension predicts the likelihood that the respondent will create the effective work teams and cooperative activities needed for the school to succeed, or simply seek to make individuals happy by following their preferences.
  3. Develops Positive Working Climate/ Enforces Rules
    Does the respondent appreciate that the leader's role involves dealing with a complex set of interpersonal relationships, or does s/he see the leader as the final authority in enforcing rules? This dimension predicts the respondent's potential for creating a positive working climate, or having the school function as a depersonalized bureaucracy.
  4. Instructional Leader / Building Manager
    Does the respondent place a high priority on the leader's role in improving teachers' instructional effectiveness, or does s/he see the leader's role in controlling and maintaining the building as his/her highest priority? This dimension predicts whether the respondent will function as the school's leading educator, or as the overseer of the school organization and the physical facility.
  5. Data Driven / Idiosyncratic
    Does the respondent use data as the primary basis for setting school policies and procedures or does s/he use school traditions, personal charisma or pleasing staff as the basis for instituting school policies and practices? This dimension predicts the ability of the respondent to increase the effectiveness of the school in achievement, attendance, suspensions and in other critical areas where the data is readily available. Questions 89- 96.
  6. Product Evaluation / Process Evaluation
    Does the respondent focus on results as the fundamental criterion of success, or does s/he believe that procedures followed can be used as the criterion of success? This dimension predicts whether the respondent will maintain a focus on improved learning as the ultimate value to be preserved, or whether the programs in his/her school will be evaluated on the basis of procedures followed and how the programs are implemented.
  7. Personal Accountability / Others Accountability
    Does the respondent understand and accept the need for the school principal to bear personal accountability for student learning and other measures of school success, or does s/he believe it is the role of the principal to ensure that only others are held accountable for various aspects of the school's program? This dimension predicts the respondent's willingness to hold him/herself accountable for people and processes which s/he cannot completely control.
  8. Responsible Leader / Delegator
    Does the respondent understand the leader's role to be primarily one in which s/he will be the responsible authority for performing major functions, or does s/he believe that the leader's role is primarily one of delegating as much as possible to others and overseeing their work? This dimension predicts not only the respondent's leadership style but the degree to which s/he perceives the school leader as directly and personally responsible.
  9. Expanded Principal's Role / Traditional Principal's Role
    Does the respondent understand that the effective urban school principal is the leader of a community based, non-profit organization, does s/he see the role of principal as limited to his/her role and status in the urban school district bureaucracy? This dimension predicts the respondent's propensity to connect the school with the resources needed to serve diverse children in urban poverty, or to be limited to only the district's budget, personnel and resources.
  10. Bottom-up Representative / Top-down Representative
    Does the respondent perceive his/her role as primarily representing the needs of the school upward to superiors, or does s/he interpret the role of the principal as primarily representing the mandates and policies of the system downward to the staff? This dimension predicts whether the respondent will protect and enhance effective practices in his/her school or simply follow orders.
  11. Parents with Voice / Parents as Helpers
    Does the respondent understand the need for parents, caregivers and community to be involved in the life of the school as participants with voice, input and even power, or does s/he see the value of these constituencies as essentially supporters of the school program? This dimension predicts the likelihood that the respondent will seek to involve parents and community as genuine partners, or limit them to homework helpers and visitors.
  12. Client Advocate / Staff Advocate
    Does the respondent understand the principal's role as an advocate of children, parents and community, or does s/he see the "good" principal as one who only supports teachers and staff in problem and conflict situations? This dimension predicts the respondent's ability to implement the school's commitment to serve diverse students and families in poverty and simultaneously represent the professional staff.
  13. Problem Solver / Reactor
    Does the respondent perceive the role of school leader to be primarily one of active involvement in problem solving, or does s/he see the principal as the legal authority making final decisions from options presented to him/her? This dimension predicts whether the respondent will be a dynamic, creative leader, or whether s/he will passively wait for problems and solutions to be presented to him/her.

At the conclusion principal interview training, there is a proficiency test that ensures inter-rater reliability. When key leaders are trained, a full understanding of the online pre-screener results will emerge and the complete selection protocol will become systemically research-based.



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