Missouri has approximately 2,200 principals and 1,300 assistant principals, and each year approximately 1,100 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, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is focusing on developing and supporting effective school leaders in every school. Currently, the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) serves 51% of the principals in the state, representing 53% of the public school districts and charter schools. R12CC is collaborating with DESE to scale-up MLDS. MLDS builds effective school leadership throughout the state by supporting principals across four career stages: Aspiring (pre-certificated), Emerging (initial career entry), Developing (practicing), and Transformational (highest level).

During Year 1, R12CC completed visits to three MLDS professional learning sessions to better understand the professional learning being offered to the principals, provide feedback on the quality of the sessions, and to capture R12CC observations for inclusion in a formative report. The formative report, recently presented to DESE and the MLDS Commission, includes perspectives of principals, superintendents, and other educators, as well as evidence-based recommendations and pathways for making continuous improvements to MLDS.

R12CC also completed a detailed assessment of superintendents’ needs for principal leadership development and provided feedback on micro-credentialing categories and content. Another report, slated for release in the coming weeks, includes a comparative analysis of different approaches districts are taking to improve schools.

The long-term goal of R12CC’s assistance is to develop DESE’s capacity to address emerging needs and priorities to scale effective leadership supports across the state. R12CC’s support will also increase DESE’s capacity to evaluate the effectiveness of districts’ school improvement models.