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Induction and support of new principals


Recognition of the significance of the role of the principal in school improvement is increasing. Mediocre principals do not lead excellent schools. Research in the past decade has identified the characteristics and behaviors of effective principals that influence student achievement. In order for new principals to become effective leaders, there is a need for support and assistance during their first years in the position. This study examined two systems of support in place for new principals in the Sunnyside School District. The research sought to understand what differences existed between the district programs of coaching support and mentor support for new principals. Interview and survey data from eight new principals were used to examine the supports and barriers that were identified as significant to beginning principals achieving or failing to achieve their goals during the first year. The study determined that new principals in the study district were satisfied with the level of support they received during their first year on the job. An influencing factor for the reported satisfaction with the district support may have been the level of previous principal experience. Areas of concern for accomplishing goals included: (a) Change in school level, (b) Construction issues, (c) Lack of information or training, (d) Learning or changing the school culture, and (e) Time management. Recommendations for further research include a need to examine the program impact on the coach or mentor, the selection and matching of mentors and mentees, and coaches and coachees, and the length of the formal program. The findings and their implications are discussed. Programs of support for new administrators from trained, experienced principals are one way to provide additional support and training for the beginning principal. Staffing schools with strong principals ready to meet the challenging demands of today's schools is important to the academic achievement of students

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