The Principal Story Video Series

School leadership matters. During the past decade, there has been a growing recognition among educators and policymakers that school principals must be instructional leaders who ensure that high-quality teaching occurs in every classroom. This view is backed up by a solid body of evidence showing that leadership places second only to teaching among school-related influences on learning.

In culling lessons from 13 years of research that describes what effective principals do well, The Wallace Foundation has found they perform five key practices:

  1. Shaping a vision of academic success for all students
  2. Creating a climate hospitable to education
  3. Cultivating leadership in others
  4. Improving instruction
  5. Managing people, data, and processes to foster school improvement

Learning Forward has developed a web-based professional learning guide using excerpts from the award-winning PBS documentary film, The Principal Story, to illustrate the five practices. The guide instructs educators to read the research, discuss the practices, view film clips exemplifying the practice, and complete a range of activities as individuals or in groups. It is intended to help those who prepare and support aspiring and current principals probe these essential practices. A facilitator guide provides options for using these tools.

For more information and to access the videos and facilitator guide, see: