Is your Child’s School Principal Communicating Effectively?

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Is your Child’s Principal Communicating Effectively?

Effective Principals and Educational Directors are strong educators and leaders, whom create a median on central issues of learning and teaching and continuous school improvement. According to Mike Schmoker, the Key to Continuous School Improvement, the combination of three concepts solidifies the foundation for positive improvement results: meaningful teamwork; clear, measurable goals; and the regular collection and analysis of performance data, whether that being for staff as well as students. Principals and Directors must lead their school through the goal-setting process in which student achievement data is analyzed, improvement areas are identified and actions for change are initiated. They must possess the capability to communicate effectively with parents, staff, and students as well. The skill to assess an audience prior to communicating an effective process is imperative for these school leaders. This process involves working collaboratively with staff and the school community to identify discrepancies between current imperative and desired outcomes, to set and prioritize goals to help close the gap, to develop improvement and monitoring strategies aimed at accomplishing the goals, and to communicate goals and change efforts to the entire school community. Principals and Directors must also ensure that staff development needs are identified in alignment with school improvement priorities and that these needs are addressed with appropriate professional learning opportunities hence providing consistent performance reviews and tools for staff to work on areas of improvement.

Leadership Skills

Five performance areas that are critical leadership skills which a Principal or Educational Director must demonstrate to effectively lead a school in improving student achievement.
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  • Using data to identify and plan for needed changes in the instructional program
  • Using systems thinking to establish a clear focus on attaining student achievement goals
  • Promoting collaborative problem solving and open communication
  • Collecting, analyzing, and using data to identify school needs
  • Implementing and monitoring the school improvement plan

Critical Beliefs

The Principal and the Director must believe in, value, and be committed to:
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  • Student learning as the fundamental purpose of schooling
  • The proposition that all students can achieve high standards of learning
  • Collaborative problem solving with staff and stakeholders
  • Ongoing collection and analysis of data
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Life long learning for self and others
  • Focus and alignment to achieve goals
  • Doing the work required for high levels of personal and organization performance


In order to demonstrate effective leadership in improving student achievement, the Principal and Director must have knowledge and understanding of:

  • The relationship of assessment to improving student outcomes and strengthening instruction
  • Information sources, data collection, and data analysis strategies
  • The school improvement planning process
  • Florida sunshine state standards, core learning goals, and learner outcomes
  • School curriculum guidelines
  • Evaluation and assessment strategies
  • Strategies for classroom teachers to monitor student understanding and progress
  • Research-based best practices
  • The principles of Dimensions of Learning, Constructivism, and Multiple Intelligences
  • Collaborative problem solving and consensus-building
  • Staff development standards
  • Systems thinking
  • The change process for systems, organizations, and individuals
  • Effective communication strategies
  • Technology as a tool in organizing and analyzing data and in monitoring progress

Overall, here are some simple forms of communication both School Principals and Educational Directors can utilize to effectively communicate with parents and the whole school community as a whole:

  1. Surveys asking parents what they want
  2. Electronic communications
  3. Webpage blog from “YOUR EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR”
  4. Better utilization of tools – timely notice
  5. Have parents sign any required forms – know that they have been received
  6. Consistency with Parents and Staff
  7. Monthly calendar/newsletter
  8. School should provide a sense of community and principals and directors need to provide the leadership to do it
  9. Board/calendar in hallways
  10. Yard signs on lawn of school
  11. Regular Q&A meetings with Principal and Director, teachers and families
  12. Regular Communication about decision making, how the school is performing, etc.
  13. Offer options for communication, such as email, website, hard copy, newsletter. – Post
  14. Informational snapshot (2-way) in the school as well. A blog and other technological tools improve and facilitate conversation within the school community
  15. Have more consistency in sending information to parents through Thursday folders
  16. Also, follow-up with communication that has already been sent home
  17. Must be able to communicate with parents of all backgrounds and ethnicity
  18. Keep school website updated!
  19. Weekly newsletter
  20. Newsletters from classroom teacher
  21. Email blast once a week Announcement
  22. Blog-a-classroom-teacher
  23. Stickers on kids shirts notifying parents of early release
[highlight]Hope this helps, and at the end, remember the School Principal or Educational Director works for the school and a Board of Directors who are typically and willing to listen and hear any concerns a parent may have regarding any issues involving their child and the overall school performance.[/highlight]


References: Denver Public Schools, Superintendent’s Parent Forum May 4, 2010; School Improvement Maryland,

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