Superintendent’s Memo #275-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

October 5, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Revisions to the Advancing Virginia’s Leadership Agenda Guidance Document: Standards and Indicators for School Leaders and Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision Endorsement

On September 27, 2012, the Virginia Board of Education approved revisions to the Advancing Virginia’s Leadership Agenda Guidance Document:  Standards and Indicators for School Leaders and Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision Endorsement.

This document was first approved by the Board of Education on November 20, 2008, and was aligned to the 2000 Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals and provided guidance to school divisions in recommending principals for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision endorsement.

On February 23, 2012, the Board approved the revised Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals.  As a result of these Board-approved revisions, the Advancing Virginia’s Leadership Agenda Guidance Document:  Standards and Indicators for School Leaders and Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision Endorsement document needed to be revised to align with the 2012 Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals.

The Virginia Department of Education established a work group to align the Advancing Virginia’s Leadership Agenda Guidance Document:  Standards and Indicators for School Leaders and Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision Endorsement document with the 2012 Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals.  The work group met on April 3, 2012, and included representatives from professional organizations (Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Education Association, and the Virginia School Boards Association), an expert consultant, and Department of Education personnel.

The Advancing Virginia's Leadership Agenda Guidance Document:  Standards and Indicators for School Leaders and Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision Endorsement has three major components:

Performance Standards for School Leaders:  The revised uniform performance standards for principals (principals and assistant principals) articulate the expectations of principals in the Commonwealth’s schools.  The performance standards describe the functions of the position that can be used to judge the effectiveness of principals and focus assessment efforts on self-growth, instructional effectiveness, and improvement of overall performance.  There are seven performance standards:  Instructional Leadership, School Climate, Human Resources Management, Organizational Management, Communication and Community Relations, Professionalism, and Student Academic Progress.

Performance Indicators:  The performance indicators developed for each of the seven performance standards are based on the two-tiered endorsement model.  Level I indicators reflect proficient performance for school leaders who serve in the roles of assistant principals and principals. Level II (Principal of Distinction) is an optional endorsement, and the indicators reflect examples of distinguished performance by principals.

The Licensure Regulations for School Personnel set forth the requirements to achieve the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision endorsement. A building-level administrator may seek the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision preK-12 endorsement after successfully serving as a building-level administrator for at least five years in a public school or accredited nonpublic school and successfully completing a formal induction program as a principal or assistant principal. In order to earn the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision endorsement, the principal must meet two or more of the following criteria as specified by the Board of Education and documented in a Department of Education approved format and be recommended by the employing Virginia school division superintendent:

  1. Evidence of improved student achievement;
  2. Evidence of effective instructional leadership;
  3. Evidence of positive effect on school climate or culture;
  4. Earned doctorate in educational leadership or evidence of formal professional development in the areas of school law, school finance, supervision, human resource management, and instructional leadership; or
  5. Evidence of completion of a high-quality professional development project designed by the division superintendent.

The performance expected for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision endorsement involves creating a systemic framework for school processes that become integrated into the school’s culture and are sustainable beyond a principal’s tenure.  Inherent in the Principal of Distinction (Level II) performance indicators is the skill to responsively meet student needs, create collaborative work environments for teachers, engage constituencies in school improvement efforts, and foster a commitment to learning-centered schools.

Documentation for the Principal of Distinction (Level II) Administration and Supervision PreK-12 Endorsement:  Principals have the option of seeking the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision preK-12 endorsement.  Candidates for this “Principal of Distinction” status must hold a Level I endorsement (unrestricted), have five years of successful service as a building-level administrator, meet two of the five criteria specified by the Board of Education, must have completed a formal induction program or an alternative activity described in the guidelines, and be recommended by their employing Virginia school division superintendent.  Principals who seek the Principal of Distinction (Level II) administration and supervision endorsement must submit a written notice of their intent to seek the endorsement to their division superintendents.

The revised guidance document is available on the Career Resources and Incentives Page on the Department of Education Web site.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Dr. Mark R. Allan, director of teacher licensure and school leadership, at Mark.Allan@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 371‑2471.

PIW/ma