whall SD , driven to ensure every English learner on their campus is re-designated English proficient before they leave our system at the end of sixth grade . They guarantee families and students have a connection to their school through their own voice , while striving to eliminate the achievement gap for English learners .

Daria Ramirez , assistant principal at Old Orchard and Valencia Valley , Ernestina Aguilar , assistant principal at Peachland , and Rosalinda Barajas , assistant principal at Wiley Canyon and McGrath are living proof of the power of education and the importance of building instructional leadership capacity in assistant principals .

Far too often , educational systems leave APs to deal with attendance and discipline issues . These are our future principals , so why not invest in them early ?

Background on NSD

In an era of new accountability and the implementation of the new California Standards in English language arts and mathematics , by most measures Newhall School District ’ s results have been outstanding . In 2014-15 , year one of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress ( CAASPP ), 67 percent of all students in grades 3-6 met or exceeded standards on the ELA CAASPP and 53 percent of all students in grades 3-6 met or exceed standards on the math CAASPP .

Through ongoing professional development efforts and a laser focus on data analysis during collaborative team time every Friday afternoon , NSD saw a rise in scores during year two ( 2015-16 ) to 72 percent of all students being proficient in ELA and 63 percent in math .

Gains of this magnitude are reason to celebrate within any school system . However , peeling away the layers yielded a glaring gap within various student groups , specifically English learners and economically disadvantaged students .

During the 2016-17 school year , Newhall experienced a convergence of a number of large-scale initiatives , including implementing new math curriculum , extensive math professional development , and a focus on supporting English learners through a new inquiry process .

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Initial district benchmark assessment data in mathematics yielded a significant reduction in the achievement gap for English learners , unheard of in an implementation year . That said , we knew that students in schools with the highest levels of instructional and teacher leadership performed significantly higher in both mathematics and English language arts proficiency , when compared to schools with the lowest levels of instructional leadership .

As a system , we historically focused much of our professional development on our teachers . It was time to think about how to support our leaders .

NSD and the CEL

ELA

With a keen sense of urgency to eliminate these gaps heading into the 2016-17 school year , the leaders in NSD decided to

Math All Students English Learner Economically Disadvantaged

Instructional Leadership Cycle

Analyze impact

Analyze evidence

Implement and support

Determine a focus partner with the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership ( CEL ) to develop instructional leadership expertise across the district .

Leaders utilized CEL ’ s 4 Dimensions of Instructional Leadership™ framework to identify strong leadership practices that support their goal of eliminating the achievement gap . Part of the development of leadership practice included learning how to analyze instruction using CEL ’ s 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning™ instructional framework and the 5D + ™ Rubric for Instructional Growth and Teacher Evaluation .

Using a cohort model , district leaders learned to coach school leaders to gather and analyze evidence from their school to identify a student learning problem . The student learning problem guided both leaders and teachers to identify areas within their own practice to refine and develop further .

With a focus on an identified problem of practice , a district coach engaged with a principal and classroom teachers in a CEL process known as an inquiry cycle , whereby participants developed specific skills and strategies in their own practice with the goal of impacting student learning .

During the inquiry cycle , school leaders asked questions of themselves like , “ What are the learning strengths and challenges of my students ?” and “ What are the related instructional strengths and challenges of teaching practice ?” Answering these questions helped to identify the problem of practice the school leader could work on for a specific period of time . In Newhall ’ s case , it was six months .

School leaders learned to focus on the

March | April 2018 9

whall SD, driven to ensure every English
learner on their campus is re-designated
English proficient before they leave our
system at the end of sixth grade. They guar-
antee families and students have a connec-
tion to their school through their own voice,
while striving to eliminate the achievement
gap for English learners.
Daria Ramirez, assistant principal at Old
Orchard and Valencia Valley, Ernestina
Aguilar, assistant principal at Peachland,
and Rosalinda Barajas, assistant principal
at Wiley Canyon and McGrath are living
proof of the power of education and the im-
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