Instructional Vision Project Logo

How Leaders Align Practice & Drive Improvement

State standards. Adopted curriculum. Common assessments. Professional development.

These tools for creating alignment across K-12 organizations are necessary, but not sufficient for leaders who want their vision to have an impact on teacher practice and student learning. 

In too many schools and districts, the leader's vision is little more than a public relations tool, with little evidence of alignment—no evidence that the vision espoused by senior leaders is a consistent reality in classrooms. 

Instead, under the justification of professional autonomy, teachers nod along during professional development, but don't necessarily align their practice. 

Close the Gap between Vision and Reality

As instructional leaders, how can we cast a compelling vision and move people toward it?

  1. First, we must be aware of the present reality by seeing the evidence for ourselves, firsthand. Assessments and data don't give us the whole picture—we have to actually see teacher practice for ourselves. That's why it's so important for leaders to get into classrooms every day.

  2. Second, we must be honest about the present reality in our organizations. Giving people a list of "look-fors" is often little more than an exercise in  telling people how to fool us into thinking we're achieving our vision.

  3. Third, we must be willing to confront our present reality. Even though we have plenty to be proud of, we can't let complacency keep us from achieving our vision.

The Instructional Vision Project is a direct consulting and professional development partnership between your organization and The Principal Center.

We'll work together to articulate your vision in leveled rubrics for practice, and implement your vision for instructional excellence using the Evidence-Driven Leadership™ system.

Instructional Frameworks: Articulate Your Vision

Instructional Frameworks are leveled rubrics for specific areas of professional practice. These rubrics:

  • Create a shared vocabulary for talking about practice
  • Anchor conversations about practice in common expectations
  • Define levels of performance for making evidence-driven decisions

You no doubt already have some instructional frameworks in place—such as your teacher evaluation criteria or curriculum-based frameworks.

While these frameworks may be high in quality, they're often lacking in relevance to your organization's unique vision.

The Vision Project is designed to help you articulate your vision in the format of specific rubrics for professional practice, by taking teachers through the Instructional Framework Development Program. 

If you're looking to address:

  • Challenges with staff turnover and building a sustainable culture of excellence
  • Pockets of mediocrity in practice
  • Resistance to change and new practices

...then the Vision Project is for you. 

Your Virtual Learning Framework: How You Support Student Learning From A Distance

Virtual learning has been an area of rapid professional learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators have been resourceful, collaborative, and hardworking. Yet in nearly all organizations, practice has taken a backseat to logistical questions, such as:

  • What technology platform will we use?
  • How will we divide the work?
  • How will we digitize our materials for remote learners?

The question that's harder—but ultimately more important—to ask is about practice: how will we serve our students from a distance?

Right now, teachers are rapidly discovering what works and what doesn't. This professional learning is happening at an unprecedented speed—but too often, teams and departments are operating as silos, with little alignment at the level of the school or district. 

Or, worse, teachers are making decisions totally on their own, and using whatever materials they can find online, with no coordination or alignment whatsoever—and little time for vetting materials based on quality or fit. 

But what if all teachers were working from a shared framework that they developed? And what if this framework was already starting to emerge—just waiting to be noticed and articulated by instructional leaders? 

Time is of the essence, because practice makes permanent.

We have a short window of time in which we can turn pockets of excellence into the standard for all students. 

We have a short window of time in which we can prevent mediocre materials and practices from becoming a permanent part of our curriculum and pedagogy. 

We have a short window of time during which we can develop a shared Virtual Learning Framework to align and accelerate our work in support of student learning. 

Program Timeline: October 2020

Beginning in October 2020, the Virtual Learning Framework program will guide your team through the process of:

  • Holding focused 1:1 conversations with teachers about key practices
  • Examining 7 sources of evidence of practice, giving you the rich information you need to make decisions—even when you can't get into classrooms for traditional in-person observations
  • Training all staff in the 6 Essential Elements of Engaging Online Learning
  • Developing protocols for looking at student work in each subject area and grade level
Evidence-Driven Leadership

The Evidence-Driven Leadership™ System: Implement Your Vision

The Evidence-Driven Leadership system is built around three sources of firsthand evidence, in addition to the data your organization already collects:

  • District learning rounds—classroom walkthroughs conducted jointly by senior organizational leaders and school-based administrators
  • Daily informal classroom visits conducted by school-based administrators
  • Collaborative analysis of student work, using existing PLC protocols or our Evidence of Student Thinking protocol.

Together, these three practices provide:

  • Evidence of instructional leadership practice
  • Evidence of teaching practice, and
  • Evidence of student learning

...allowing you to link decision-making at all levels to high-quality, firsthand evidence, instead of relying on lagging indicator data that tell only part of the story. Equipped with this evidence, leaders are empowered to act as organizational scientists, developing and refining testable theories of action.

When you join the Instructional Vision Project, we’ll work together to craft an Instructional Leadership Development Plan for leaders at every level in your organization, and you’ll receive done-for-you professional development programs for your entire team. 

Evidence-Driven Instructional Leadership Professional Development for Your Entire Team

Download Our Brochure »

As a Navigator member, you'll have access to our entire suite of professional development programs:

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program
($1495/person value)
Our flagship program on changing teacher practice features 8 modules on evidence-driven feedback:
  1. The Power of Professional Conversation 
  2. High-Performance Habits for Getting Into Classrooms
  3. The Classroom Connection: Understanding Instructional Improvement
  4. Seeing Deeper with Learning Dynamics™
  5. The Power of A Shared Instructional Framework
  6. Gathering, Discussing, and Using Evidence from Classroom Observations
  7. High-Performance Formal Evaluations
  8. Go and See: Fueling Organizational Learning

High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Demo
Organizational Learning Intensive Demo
The Organizational Learning Intensive 
($1495/person value)
Discover how to create sustainable improvement by following the Evidence-Driven Roadmap for Change:
  1. Find Your Bearings
  2. Map The Improvement
  3. Help People Change at the Right Time
  4. Get Close to the Work
  5. Protect & Accelerate the Work
  6. Learn through Evidence-Driven Inquiry
The Instructional Leadership Association
($564 per person per year value)
Dashboard Demo

As a member of the Instructional Leadership Association, you'll gain access to our Repertoire feedback app, plus our weekly and monthly resources to help you advance through the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Roadmap.

Your Core Channel for Evidence & Impact: Daily Classroom Walkthroughs

The Evidence-Driven Leadership System is built around administrators’ daily classroom walkthroughs, as Dr. Baeder describes in Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership .

While most administrators strive to get into classrooms as time allows, The Principal Center’s approach is uniquely successful in getting principals and APs to develop a consistent habit of visiting three classrooms a day, every day—a total of more than 500 visit a year.

These visits provider senior leaders with a channel for both gathering evidence of and having an impact on teacher and principal practice.

 Daily classroom visits strengthen relationships, improve teacher evaluations, and provide you with insight into the patterns of strength and need across your organization

Our Evidence-Driven Leadership Programs

As a Navigator school, you'll have access to our three main programs to help your admin team:

  • Confidently get into classrooms every day
  • Have feedback conversations that change teacher practice
  • Discover their best opportunities for school improvement

One membership gives you a school-wide site license that covers all staff, including principals, assistant principals, deans, coaches, teacher leaders, and others you want to develop as instructional leaders.

Navigator membership includes the following programs:

ILA Logo

Instructional Leadership Association

The Instructional Leadership Association helps school leaders confidently get into classrooms every day and build their capacity by following our High-Performance Instructional Leadership Roadmap for growth. We release new content each month through the Instructional Leadership Show, exclusive on-demand training videos, online courses, and our monthly ILA Playbook. 

OLI logo

Organizational Learning Intensive

The Organizational Learning Intensive helps school leaders discover their best opportunities for creating sustainable improvement by adopting an evidence-driven school improvement system. Once leaders master the Organizational Learning Cycle, they experience a permanent increase in their capacity to transform their schools into true learning organizations.

High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification logo

High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification 

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program builds school leaders' capacity to change teacher practice through evidence-based feedback conversations, using the shared language of their instructional framework.  Includes the Instructional Framework Development Program for developing shared expectations with staff. 

Repertoire Icon

Repertoire Feedback App

Our web-based feedback app, Repertoire, is designed to help instructional leadership take evidence-rich notes during formal or informal observations, using the shared language of your instructional framework. 

Repertoire automatically saves and suggests well-crafted phrases that you use in your notes and feedback to teachers, making your writing faster, more precise, and more aligned to shared expectations. 

Direct Support for Principals Who Want To Build Capacity for Instructional Leadership

The Navigator school membership is more than just professional development for your team—it's also a resource for you as the senior leader in the organization. 

By becoming a Navigator school, you'll gain direct access to 1:1 consultation and coaching to help you build capacity for instructional leadership.

You'll work directly with Dr. Justin Baeder, Director of The Principal Center,  to craft a year-long Instructional Leadership Development Plan for leaders at all levels of your organization.

Monthly Roundtable Meetings

In addition to our world-class professional development programs for your team, and 1:1 support for your Instructional Leadership Development Plan, you'll gain access to our exclusive Roundtable meetings, where we feature our profession's leading experts and give you direct access so you can ask questions, get feedback, and gain clarity on your next steps in building capacity for instructional leadership. 

Roundtable meetings are held on Zoom video chat each month, and are recorded for members to review at any time. 

Recent and upcoming guests include:

  • Doug Fisher & Nancy Frey
  • Jennifer Abrams
  • Anthony Muhammad
  • Jane Kise
  • Douglas Reeves
  • Robyn Jackson
  • Peter DeWitt
  • Ken Williams

The Repertoire Walkthrough Feedback App

Repertoire Demo

When you become a Navigator school, you'll gain access to Repertoire for your entire admin team. Repertoire is our web-based feedback app for keeping track of informal classroom visits and providing evidence-based, framework-linked feedback to teachers, using the specific vocabulary of your organization's improvement strategies.

Repertoire empowers you to have evidence-based conversations with instructional leaders about the feedback they're providing to teachers, so you can hold administrators and coaches accountable for visiting classrooms regularly and staying close to the work of instructional improvement. 

Turn Team Instructional Frameworks Into Repertoire Templates

Team Instructional Frameworks are the cure for generic feedback. When you get into classrooms, you can use your TIFs as observation templates to structure your thinking and feedback in Repertoire. 

Rather than look for generic elements of effective practice, your TIF will enable you to give teachers feedback using the language and shared expectations THEY have articulated themselves. 

In the Instructional Framework Development Program, your teachers will discover how to create rubrics describing the "insider's view" of practice, so you can give feedback based on the specific instructional activities taking place when you observe. 


About Your Facilitator

The Navigator program is led by Justin Baeder, Director of The Principal Center. A former principal in Seattle Public Schools, he is creator of the Instructional Leadership Challenge, which has helped more than 10,000 school leaders in 50 countries around the world:

  • Confidently Get Into Classrooms Every Day
  • Have Feedback Conversations That Change Teacher Practice
  • Discover their best opportunities for school improvement

Dr. Baeder is the author of Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership (Solution Tree).

He is the host of Principal Center Radio, a weekly podcast featuring education thought leaders, and The Instructional Leadership Show, a weekly video podcast for K-12 leaders. 

Dr. Baeder holds a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Washington, where he studied principal productivity with a view toward helping school leaders make a habit of visiting classrooms daily. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What teacher evaluation systems are compatible with the Instructional Vision Project?

What's Included in the Instructional Vision Project?

What specific problems will the Instructional Vision Project address?

How does the consulting aspect work?

What's the timeframe?

How can organizations join?

What options do you have for individuals, e.g. leaders who may be transitioning to a new role?

Is the Instructional Vision Project open to aspiring administrators?

Is the Instructional Vision Project open to regional agency/service center staff or higher education faculty?

How can I ensure that my organization is considered for possible inclusion in Dr. Baeder's next book as a case study?

Who is covered by our Navigator membership?

What if my school has multiple campuses?

Can I register just the part of my organization that I oversee?

How long does our Navigator school membership last?

Do you offer payment plans?

Navigator Logo
Insert Styled Box
Insert Styled Box
Insert Styled Box
Select Columns Layout
Insert Image
Insert Audio