How Can Principals Promote Productive Learning in Their Academic Environments

December 20, 2023
School Principals were historically seen as school managers rather than facilitators of academic learning. But, over the last decade or more, we’ve seen a major shift in principals’ roles as leaders and understand how their leadership impacts student achievement. To meet State and district goals, principals are effective when leading collaboratively and empowering others to succeed. Now, more than ever, school principals and leaders must work with their teachers and staff to help meet academic needs in the classroom, often with fewer resources than they need.

With the learning loss after COVID-19 and mounting staffing shortages, principals must examine how they can promote productive learning, close opportunity gaps, and increase student achievement without overburdening classroom teachers.

Principals Can Promote Productive Learning with High-impact Tutoring

Principals can promote productive learning and increase academic achievement by implementing proven educational solutions. One proven method to dramatically increase learning and achievement is high-impact tutoring. By implementing high-impact tutoring into the school day for all students, principals can help accelerate student learning and increase instructional support for teachers without the need for additional hiring.

How Does High-Impact Tutoring Work in the Classroom?

High-impact tutoring consists of three weekly small-group sessions for 30-50 minutes. These sessions are scheduled into regular classroom time and facilitated by a trained tutor delivering a data-driven curriculum. The students and tutor remain with the same groups for the entire academic year.

Students benefit from the additional classroom support and the consistent relationship with the tutor. In turn, classroom teachers can focus on instruction, individual help, and more during tutoring sessions. This gives teachers some of their classroom time back and helps improve student outcomes, making their large-group instruction more productive and accessible. When teachers have more capacity to do their work, they can more readily meet the goals set by their principals and districts.

High-impact Tutoring Can Address Teacher Shortages & Burnout While Improving Outcomes

The issues facing today’s public schools are complex, and teachers are shouldered with far more than simply teaching the day’s lessons.  A common concern among principals and school leaders is a lack of human capital. In many districts, teachers are overwhelmed by expectations to remediate learning, teach current material, and meet benchmarks for success while understaffed or underfunded.

Successful principals can recognize the signs of a burnt-out staff and address them with meaningful initiatives and interventions. Another way to alleviate the burden on teachers is to create collaborative solutions to improve student outcomes so teachers have support to meet learning goals. 

No one solution can solve every problem US schools face. Often, these solutions must be district or school-wide rather than targeted toward individuals to have widespread success. However, some are proven to address specific problems so well that the benefits extend beyond their direct applications. One of these is high-impact tutoring. The University of Chicago Urban Labs rigorously evaluated Saga Education’s High-impact Tutoring program via large-scale randomized controlled trials. Here’s what they found:

  • Students learn up to 2.5 years’ worth of math in one academic year.
  • The opportunity gap is closed by nearly 50% in one academic year.
  • Math course failures are reduced by as much as 63%.
  • Course failures in non-tutored subjects are reduced by as much as 26%.
  • Student attendance improves by as much as 18 days per academic year.

This game-changing impact is against a national backdrop of limited success stories of improving academic outcomes. We know that everyone wins when students have the support they need to succeed in the classroom.

High-impact Tutoring Can Close Opportunity Gaps & Establish High Achievement Standards for All Students

Evidence shows a link between school leadership and improved student achievement. While there are likely many reasons as to why, it is important to note that expecting high standards from all students from all backgrounds is a common aspect of successful school leadership. But how can school districts increase student outcomes when opportunity gaps are wide, students are not demonstrating grade-level competencies, and kids come through the doors with significant gaps in learning?

One of the solutions is differentiated instruction and small group work to accelerate learning and address areas of need. However, this is an impossible task for one teacher to tackle alone, and that makes meeting district and state standards more difficult for principals and school leaders. However, when high-impact tutoring is offered during school, all kids have the opportunity to work 1:1 with tutors and reach grade-level competencies and beyond. Students not only catch up, but they achieve more than they often believe they are capable of, and that boost in confidence helps them take more risks and grow as learners.

High-impact Tutoring Uses Data-Driven, Proven Educational Inputs to Increase Academic Success

High-impact tutoring uses data-driven curriculum and methods to accelerate student learning in close relationship with a tutor. While other remediation solutions may address specific issues or individual student success, high-impact tutoring helps students learn more deeply, take risks, engage in class, and even attend school more often. 

Graduation rates are an indicator of school district success, and implementing high-impact tutoring programs helps students perform well in classes that are instrumental in continuing a successful high school career and graduating with their classes. Overall, high-impact tutoring has shown to be a beneficial solution for principals to bring their students up to speed and help them achieve their educational goals.

Did you know that students who pass 9th-grade math are 4x more likely to receive a high school diploma?

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