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Instructional Leadership

The Center to Support Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University is developing a research-based model of instructional leadership comprising leadership practices and tools and a framework for building instructional capacity. The Instructional Capacity Building Framework lays out the ideas essential to identifying, creating, and implementing four categories of resources in a specific context for the purpose of strengthening the quality of instruction (Jaquith, 2009). CSET’s approach to instructional leadership focuses on ways to create and implement site-based conditions and systems necessary to support teachers’ ongoing learning about instruction, including the development of the conditions that enable and stimulate the use of specific instructional practices or materials.

Providing high-quality instruction every day to every student in every classroom requires the continuous generation of the capabilities and instructional capacities that teachers, schools, and school systems need. Identifying and building such capabilities and capacities requires leadership that supports both high-quality teaching and the strategic exercise of the knowledge and skills required to develop conditions that stimulate, support, and sustain high-quality teaching and inspired learning in a classroom—in a department, in a grade-level, and in a district.

The Instructional Capacity Building Framework offers a way for leaders at different levels of an organization to identify, generate, and implement the full spectrum of instructional resources needed to ensure that instructional improvement is systematic, well-integrated, continuous, and sustainable.

As researchers who aim to improve the quality of teaching and learning, we are particularly interested in understanding the kinds of knowledge that instructional leaders need. We want to understand how instructional leadership can be effectively distributed across a team of people and what kinds of support instructional leadership teams need in order to:

  1. develop an organization’s instructional capacity;
  2. marshal the resources located within a specific context; and
  3. engage in an ongoing practice of instructional improvement.

This project is led by Ann Jaquith and funded in part by the Silver Giving Foundation.