The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) seeks to increase leadership effectiveness statewide to raise school and systemic performance. Missouri has approximately 2,200 principals and 1,300 assistant principals, and each year approximately 600 educators earn an administrator certificate and 300 new principals are hired. Recognizing the essential role effective leaders play in ensuring equitable access to excellent education for all Missouri students, DESE is focusing on developing and supporting effective school leaders in every school through the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS). MLDS supports principals across four career stages—Aspiring (pre-certificated), Emerging (initial career entry), Developing (practicing), and Transformational (highest level).
R12CC is collaborating with DESE to refine and expand MLDS. This includes conducting ongoing assessments of superintendents’ needs for principal leadership development, monitoring and reporting on the perspectives of principals, superintendents, and other educators on MLDS implementation, and providing evidence-based recommendations and pathways for making continuous improvements to MLDS. Technical assistance will also support two critical school improvement efforts—the principal-level support that school leaders in Comprehensive Support and Improvement schools receive and the supports districts receive through the District Continuous Improvement process.
To further support student learning and strengthen instructional leadership, DESE aims to develop a statewide Common Formative Assessment (CFA) system. Educators need to have an understanding of where students are in their learning, especially given transitions between remote, in-person, and hybrid learning environments, and the available tools to consistently measure student academic progress.
R12CC is assisting DESE to better understand and select evidence-based practices in formative assessments, create a plan for implementing a formative assessment strategy in Missouri, and integrate the CFA system into the state’s comprehensive assessment approach. This will build the capacity of state leaders to develop an informed framework for a statewide system of formative assessment—both in practice and in policy—that increases equitable access to common formative assessments for student learning in all content areas.
The long-term goal of R12CC’s assistance is to develop DESE’s capacity to address emerging needs and priorities to scale effective leadership and instructional supports—through MLDS and CFA—across the state.
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