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Instructional Leadership

Instructional Leadership
Creating Practice Out of Theory

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February 2020 | 176 pages | Corwin

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Bridge the gap between good intentions and real results

Instructional Leadership is one of the most researched and discussed leadership practices, but most school leaders don’t know where to begin or how to balance this role with all of their other responsibilities. Peter DeWitt’s Instructional Leadership provides practical tools for delivering lasting improvement through small, manageable changes over time.


This step-by-step, how-to guide presents the six driving forces of instructional leadership—implementation, focus on learning, student engagement, instructional strategies, efficacy, and evaluation of impact—within an easy-to-follow, multi-stage implementation model. It also includes:


·         Practical strategies grounded in research

·         “Entry point” sections highlighting the best places to start

·         Help working with PLCs, faculty meetings, teacher observations, and walkthroughs

·         Study questions


As a leader, you are the guide for your teachers, staff, and students. Let this book guide you to a vision of instructional leadership that really works.

About the Companion Website
Why this book?
This Book’s Features

Publisher’s Acknowledgments
About the Author
Tap Into Your True Inner Instructional Leader

Blog - Help! My Principal Says He’s an Instructional Leader!

Chapter One: Instructional Leadership: A Holistic Approach
What the Research Says About Instructional Leadership

In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Two: The Logic Behind Implementation
What Is Program Logic?

From Program Logic to Implementation Cycle

Implementation Multi-Stage Model

In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Three: A Focus on Learning: Deepening Our Impact as Instructional Leaders
Types of Learning: Knowledge vs. Skills

Levels of Learning: Surface, Deep, and Transfer


Knowledge Dimensions

In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Four: Student Engagement: From Alienation to Social-Emotional Learning

Social-Emotional Learning

Five Easy Steps to Social-Emotional Learning

Enabling Conditions

Blog - Educators Need Mindfulness. Their Mental Health May Depend on It.

In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Five: Instructional Strategies: Exploring Surface, Deep, and Transfer Learning
Academic Engagement

Blog - The Myth of Walkthroughs: Eight Unobserved Practices in Classrooms

Teacher Clarity

Classroom Discussion


In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Six: Collective Efficacy: Easy to Define, Hard to Build?
Collective Teacher Efficacy: A Definition

Why Do We Need Collective Teacher Efficacy?

Blog - No Testing Week

No Testing Week

Leadership Efficacy

When Do We Build Collective Efficacy?

Why Is Collective Efficacy Hard to Build?

Collective Efficacy: A Program Logic Model

In the End

Study Guide Questions

Chapter Seven: Evidence: How Will You Evaluate Your Impact?
Evidence of Impact

Student Engagement Practices

Blog - Advisory Groups: Helping to Create a Positive School Climate

Instructional Leadership

In the End

Reflection Tool
Study Guide Questions


Peter DeWitt provides tremendous context and understanding of what principals face today each day in meeting the demands of educating all students.  He provides an excellent framework and practical applications to move leadership from managerial to authentic instructional leadership. He gives in-depth advice and strategies to improve the work and efficacy of school leadership.  His use of mindful moments, student voice questions, study guide questions, and reflection allows each reader to look at their practice and challenge the norm.  Instructional Leadership:  The What, Why and How is a must-read for all school leaders.

Peter D. Marano
Bellingham Public Schools

I have never read an educative book that was so compelling. What makes this book so powerful is that it tackles every challenge from various angels, as the perspective of the teacher and the student are taken into account as well. Not only would I advise every principal to read this book, but also every other member of the team as it gives the reader a profound understanding of what instructional leadership entails, what it should look like, and how it can effectively be implemented. Instructional leadership encompasses all the right ingredients that can help lead any school toward success.

Charly Boerboom
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Peter Dewitt’s approach to instructional leadership takes what sometimes feels as a hugely overwhelming and sometimes unsustainable task into a bite-size framework. Each chapter’s content and mindful moments provide practical guidance and encourages purposeful reflection. This book is a must read for principals who are seeking best practices for effective instructional leadership in an ever-evolving and busy role.

Crystal Haskins
James Blair Middle School

Peter DeWitt’s Instructional Leadership book is a perfect balance between theory and practice. As a principal, these two elements are essential for the implementation of the instructional leadership model, which includes implementation, focus for learning, student engagement, instructional strategies, collective efficacy, and understanding impact through evidence. Instructional Leadership also offers a framework to use with building and district leadership teams. For example, each chapter lends itself to taking a deeper dive with the components using lenses such as student voice and mindfulness moments. Peter’s Instructional Leadership work has inspired and motivated me to develop sustainable habits to be an instructional leader for my school community.

Susan Inman
Willard School

Peter's newest book answers key questions for any school administrator interested in the what, why, and how of instructional leadership.  With its focus on defining a common language and common understanding, the inclusion of a logic model, research, and clear examples from practice this book is a must-read for any leader engaged in the implementation of practices to positively impact student learning!

Trista Hollweck

In selecting books for courses, I look for ones which a student will ultimately use a s a reference in their profession. The content in this book is relevant and many strategies are relatively "turn key" - a valuable resource for instructional leaders!

Dr Jaime C Stacy
Graduate Education Programs, Averett University
March 5, 2021

Sample Materials & Chapters

Table of Contents


Chapter 1

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