I believe that small schools run by inspired directors have the best chance of meeting the needs of both teachers and students. The essential element in such a school is the close relationships between educators based on the work at hand. If a group of teachers, guided by a master teacher/principal, keeps their eye on the prize of excellence, then student growth will follow. This is more fundamental to a strong outcome than all the evaluation tools – standards and tests and forms of all kinds – at use in so many of our schools across the country.
The bottom line is that a principal needs to provide for the growth and development of her teachers. She needs to find ways for the best teachers to continue to be challenged throughout their careers. The principal should consistently articulate to the teachers that nothing is more important to the success of the school than their own growth and development. Supervision, in other words, should mostly be focused on encouraging teachers to learn more about the art and craft of teaching. Evaluation should not be confused with the more important work of this sort of supervision. The current scramble to standardize and evaluate threatens to obscure the goal.