National Policy Board Approves Final Professional Standards for Educational Leaders

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Washington, D.C. (October 23, 2015) - The National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) (AASA is a member) voted unanimously Thursday to approve new, refreshed standards for educational leaders.

The 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, formerly known as ISLLC standards, aim to ensure district and school leaders are able to improve student achievement and meet new, higher expectations.

"The 2015 standards take a huge stride toward clarifying the administrator's role and connecting that role directly to student learning," said JoAnn D. Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and NPBEA chair. "A highly collaborative and inclusive process resulted in a high-quality set of standards that can potentially transform principal preparation and evaluation programs across the country."

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) worked closely with other members of NPBEA for more than a year to refresh the ISLLC standards, which were first published in 1996 and last updated in 2008. Since June 2014, the two groups have held two public comment periods, conducted numerous focus groups and established a 13-member working group to synthesize this feedback from the field and finalize the standards.

The 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders approved by NPBEA this week have been recast with a stronger, clearer emphasis on students and student learning. The 10 standards describe foundational principles of leadership than can help to make sure every child is well-educated and prepared for the 21st century, with a strong emphasis on educational equity. The updated standards also elevate areas of educational leader work that were once not well understood or deemed less relevant but have since been shown to contribute to student learning, such as managing change within schools and creating cultures of continuous improvement. In addition, one standard describes the ethical obligations of district and school leaders.

"A school leader's day-to-day work is dramatically different since the first release of these standards in 1996. Twenty years later, I am pleased to see CCSSO and other members of NPBEA have updated the standards to reflect what school leaders face each and every day. While maintaining a clear focus on equity, these standards now outline what it takes to be an instructional leader and an effective building manager in today's school," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO.

These approved standards will help challenge the profession, professional associations, policy makers, institutions of higher education and other organizations that support educational leaders and their development to move beyond established practices and systems and strive for a better future.

The professional standards are voluntary. States, districts, schools and university and nonprofit leadership preparation programs use the standards to guide preparation, practice, support and evaluations for district and school leaders, including superintendents, principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders. Most states adapt them to meet local needs.

The standards were refined after two extensive rounds of public input, including responses from more than 1,000 principals and superintendents, that gathered perspectives from across the field. A number of experts also made valuable contributions to the project, including the co-chairs of the 13-member working group: Beverly Hutton, deputy executive director of programs/services at NASSP, and Mark Smylie, professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago and visiting professor of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.

The final standards will be published in November. For more information on NPBEA's vote, please download a summary of the updated 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.

The Wallace Foundation provided $1 million in support to CCSSO over two years for the leadership standards work.

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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

The National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) is a national consortium of major stakeholders in educational leadership and policy. The purpose of the Board is to provide a forum for collaborative actions by organizations interested in the advancement of school and school-system leadership. They serve as organizations dedicated to work together to represent the educational administration profession and improve the preparation and practice of educational leaders at all levels. The NPBEA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation.