Time to Lead: An Illustrative Look at How Elementary School Principals Spend Their Workweek

Time to Lead: An Illustrative Look at How Elementary School Principals Spend Their Workweek

Published: Jun 23, 2021
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Key Findings
  • This snapshot analyzes detailed principal time-use log data from approximately 100 elementary schools in eight school districts.
  • Principals spent more than one-third of their time on instructional support to teachers on average, split fairly evenly between direct and indirect support.
  • Principals with elementary school teaching experience reported providing more extensive direct instructional support. And according to teachers, they provided more helpful and actionable direct instructional support in some cases.

Principals play a role in helping teachers improve their instruction. However, little is known about how much time elementary school principals spend providing instructional support to teachers, either directly or indirectly by arranging resources for teachers to use. New evidence suggests that elementary school principals spend more than one-third of their workweek providing these types of supports. Principals who previously taught in elementary schools provided more extensive and, in some cases, more helpful direct instructional support to their teachers.

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