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The Link Between School Leadership and Student Achievement

School leadership is critical for school success. Of course, having excellent teachers is essential, but leaders who can help teachers thrive and grow, create great relationships with parents, inspire students and ensure the classes are clean and orderly are also vital to student success.

Schools with strong leaders are more likely to have highly effective teachers. In addition, there is a direct connection between school leadership and student achievement. A school leader with high expectations for student achievement can impact the school's climate and culture.

One of the most important things a school leader can do is to communicate their vision for student achievement to teachers and staff. Then set expectations for everyone involved in the process so everyone knows what they need to facilitate student success. What makes for an effective leader? Continue reading to learn more about how strong school leadership affects student achievement.

There are multiple ways good leaders impact student achievement. In some cases, they involve working with teachers and staff. In other instances, they include direct interaction with students and their families. Good school leadership includes leaders that:

Ensure Teachers Are Equipped With the Tools They Need

Good school leaders ensure that teachers have the right resources and training and are prepared for their roles. For example, in addition to standard materials and training opportunities, leaders should create an environment that allows educators to collaborate on teaching and learning.

Communicate a Clear Vision for the School


An important part of leadership is developing a concise vision for your school. Sharing that vision with teachers, staff, students, and the community is crucial to teacher and student success. Effective leaders communicate this vision in a way that is not intimidating, condescending or vague.

Build Relationships With Parents and the Community


Effective school leadership includes audiences outside the school walls. That means that school leaders build ongoing relationships with parents and the community to get them involved in student success.

Assure Professional Development Is Available So Teachers Can Flourish

An excellent school leader prioritizes professional development to ensure that teachers can grow and improve their practice, leading to better student achievement results. It's also an opportunity for teachers to learn from each other and share knowledge across the school system.

Promote Learning Outside of the Traditional Classroom Environment

Effective school leaders constantly search for opportunities to enhance student experience outside the traditional classroom environment. For example, students could participate in online courses taught by top-notch professors from prestigious universities. In addition, courses might include videos and interactive exercises that will help students gain knowledge about different topics (such as math or science) either before or after school.

Students may also access online tools to practice challenging skills like public speaking, reading comprehension, etc., so they'll feel more confident when presenting their work at school.

Many Skills Are Required To Be a Great School Leader

It’s easy to think of leadership as a single-minded pursuit. Often, people might imagine a leader as the person at the top of an organization who sets goals, communicate those goals to their team, and make sure the objectives are met. While this is true in some sense, there's more to being a leader than just ensuring things get done.

A great school leader must be able to motivate people, communicate effectively with others, provide feedback for ongoing improvement, delegate tasks appropriately and set goals for students and teachers alike. They must also inspire others (both within and outside their school) with confidence in the future success of everyone involved in the education system.

Good School Leaders Are Essential for Robust Schools

There’s no question that school leaders are an essential part of the education continuum. So this year, the National Math and Science Initiative is introducing the inaugural NMSI Launch Fellowship to its extensive suite of programs to support schools.
This cohort of school and district leaders will tackle challenges, including supporting students left out of STEM education, increasing equity and access to Advanced Placement coursework and building capacity.
Learn how the fellowship program can enrich your leadership skills to support your schools.