Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:05am Updated: Fri, 11/09/2018 - 2:40pm

Advancing Student Learning Through Distributed Instructional Leadership


Background on this Tool

This toolkit is designed to support school leaders to build and leverage distributed instructional leadership teams to improve student learning. The toolkit is an outgrowth of a three-year partnership between the Wisconsin Urban Schools Leadership Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and 16 high schools in Wisconsin. Through this partnership, a number of tools were developed and used by school leaders to guide the formation and facilitation of distributed instructional leadership teams. These tools are organized around three key phases of work related to distributed instructional leadership teams:

  1. Defining a shared vision
  2. Building the capacity of leaders and leadership teams
  3. Mobilizing distributed leadership to analyze problems and develop solutions using the best data available

The resources in this toolkit can be used independently and/or customized to meet a specific school's context and needs. While the toolkit was designed through a partnership with high schools, the resulting tools are reflective of best practices for distributed instructional leadership teams in elementary, middle, and high schools.


Guidance on How to Leverage this Tool

This toolkit contains an intentionally sequenced set of tools and corresponding guidance to help school create, launch, and continuously improve distributed instructional leadership teams. Depending on local context and needs, a school leader can use some or all of these tools to create a new or improve an existing instructional leadership team. Specifically, a school leader could use one or more of these tools to:

  1. Select members of a distributed instructional leadership team
  2. Define a shared vision
  3. Define roles and responsibilities
  4. Build individual and team instructional leadership capacity
  5. Facilitate meetings and progress monitor to address challenges and roadblocks
  6. Use data to identify areas for growth


Getting Started with the Distributed Instructional Leadership Handbook

If a school leader is interested in developing a new distributed instructional leadership team, she or he is encouraged to review page 10 of this toolkit for an overview of the various approaches to launching such a team.

If a school leader is striving to improve an existing distributed instructional leadership team, she or he is encouraged to review page 11 of this toolkit for a brief description of each tool in order to identify the specific tool or tools that align with their local context and needs.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The toolkit was written by Carolyn Kelley, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for the Wisconsin Urban School Leadership Project.