Date of Award
Education Specialist (EdS)
Donald W. Smitley
The purpose of this Field Experience document is to chronologically record all of the work necessary to plan for and successfully carry out the first-ever Statewide Principals' Conference on Instructional Leadership. In fact, that was the exact title of the Conference, "THE PRINCIPAL AS THE INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER."
The proposal request for the funds for this conference was made to the Illinois State Board of Education through the federal government's Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title IV, Part C Division. It was that group, after having submitted our request to a Committee of Readers, who approved the request and agreed to allow our Center for Educational Improvement to have the funds. The amount asked for and approved was $20,000. This money, the proposal emphasized, was to be spent totally on resources that would be needed for the conference. It was to be a "bare-bones conference," which meant there was to be no money spent on dinners or entertainment of any type for the attendees. All of the money was to be used to reimburse the speakers and pay for the activities that developed because of the instructional leadership theme of the conference.
This accounting and related documentation was the Field Experience of this writer, Dan Mash, Director of the Illinois Center for Educational Improvement (ICEI), who acted in the positions of Chairman of the Planning Committee and Coordinator of this particular conference. It is very important to note that while the Attachments to this paper seem "endless,'' they are a small portion of the actual paperwork needed to accomplish this conference.
The need for this conference had become apparent sometime earlier, because, as the Illinois Center for Educational Improvement moved into its third year of operation, it had become increasingly clear that building principals in the region served were inundated with operational problems. All of these nitty-gritty concerns left little or no time for those principals to assume the very necessary and critical role as instructional leaders to the students and particularly to the staffs in their attendance centers.
The East Central Region of the Illinois Center for Educational Improvement decided to try to change that priority by making the principals more aware of their roles as instructional leaders. Thus, this Field Experience and this product.
This manual is actually a documented description of what was done to meet this much needed priority. The objectives and, if the conference was successful, the outcomes of this conference were as follows:
1. Because of the strength and attractiveness of the conference and the absence of any registration fee, to gather as many principals as possible from all over the state.
2. To stress that principals become aware of and accept the critical importance of their becoming effective in the major roles of instructional leadership.
An undertaking of the magnitude and scope of a Statewide Principals' Conference should never be and was not taken lightly. In addition to the amount of people who need necessarily to be involved in the planning and the number of people who have to be part of the input for a conference such as this, there are a myriad of details to carry out. To have speakers of national prominence that you would hope would please a vast majority of those who would be attracted to such a conference, is indeed a job of gigantic proportions. The logistics in arranging the necessary formal business contracts for their appearances and the arrangements for their travel, meals, and lodging are almost mind boggling.
The point of attendance attraction is a most important one. In this day and age, it is not enough to speak of our students being satiated with top-flight entertainment from television and the movies. The same is essentially true of the principals. Today, they are not going to be attracted to anything that does not carry the allure and glamour of speakers that have "name recognition" or are known in the education profession as renowned experts. To have a conference that would hopefully attract the numbers that were attracted to this particular one takes a lot of the so-called "star quality" of the presenters. The attraction, also, must assure these sophisticated, potential attendees that there will be a conference that will cover the items that they want covered and will present them with enough quality and depth in the proper amount of time so that they feel that something has been accomplished during the conference.
Fortunately for this conference, the evaluations bore out the fact that these goals were achieved by the conference planners and particularly by the Director/Coordinator and his staff.
It is important that this good effort continue. Therefore, this Center's recommendation for next Fiscal Year, 1982, if federal funds allow, will be to undertake the task of developing an Inservice Conference. This presently dreamed of conference is the result of the evaluations of the Principals' Conference as one that would lend itself to the methods and process of inservicing staff, a natural and logical follow up to the principal who is an instructional leader. It is no secret that with reduced district budgets, teachers today are remaining longer in one, usually their original, district. Statistics show that there is very little mobility among teachers today. In addition, Reduction in Force is resulting in those with seniority remaining on teaching staffs while those who are newer teachers are being cut. The teachers who remain need to be constantly retrained, reinvigorated and reinforced in their teaching skills, their teaching methodology, and their effectiveness as teachers. The conference that we will recommend we have in the fall of 1981 will be on the process of inservice for staff development. It will not be our intention to go into any cognitive learning areas. It will only be to stress process so that administrators such as superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, staff development directors, and others with similar administrative responsibilities will be able to know better how to plan and structure more effective inservicing of their staff.
This constant reteaching by districts and nonpublic schools must be instigated, reinforced and continued if education as we know it, or perhaps would hope that it would be, is to continue serving the children of our country in the face of the adversities that are mounting toward education and educators today.
Mash, Daniel J., "Illinois Principals’ Conference" (1981). Masters Theses. 2986.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.