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Knowledge From the Field

Learning From Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning

Published: July 2010

Publisher(s): Wallace Foundation; Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement; Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Author(s): Louis, Karen Seashore; Stephen Anderson; Kenneth Leithwood; Kyla Wahlstrom

Funder(s): Wallace Foundation

Related Organization(s): Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

View Report (338 pages; 3.32MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Rural Education; Teacher Quality and Leadership


The report examines successful educational leadership at the school, district, and state levels and concludes that leadership does impact educational practices and student achievement.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=When principals and teachers share leadership, teachers’ working relationships with one another are stronger and student achievement is higher.

=District support for shared leadership fosters the development of professional communities, creating synergy where teachers work together to improve their skills and employ instructional practices that are linked to improved student learning.

=In districts where levels of student learning are high, district leaders are more likely to emphasize goals and initiatives that reach beyond minimum state expectations for student performance, and teachers and principals pay attention to multiple measures of student success.

=All states have more rural than urban districts and experience strains that differences in student demographic characteristics place on the provision of educational support services; therefore, state policy makers must consider that one size does not fit all when considering how to support school and district leaders in meeting new accountability challenges.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Achievement; Leadership; Professional Development; Rural; Student Learning

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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