Synthesis Paper


Thisessay is a synthesis paper of the article TheSchool Principal as a Leader: Guiding schools to Better Teaching andLearning,written by The Wallace Foundation. For more than ten years, thisestablishment has exerted efforts to increase governance in publicschools through issuing reports and other publications regarding theleadership of schools ranging from how school principals areevaluated on the job. Correspondingly, this paper will comparativelysynthesize the article Roleof Principal Leadership in Improving Student Achievement,written by Reading Rocket (hereafter RR). Even though both articleshave a mutual topic of discussion, the article by The WallaceFoundation is more effective than the RR article because itexplicitly highlights the key responsibilities/roles of an effectiveschool principal as a leader.

Itis important to note that since both articles share a topic ofdiscussion, they do have a mutual direction in which they lay theirarguments regarding the essentials of effective principal leadership.In this regard, the studies mentioned in Wallace’s (2013) workhighlight the fact that school principals are better equipped toimprove student achievement when they engage in five key leadershippractices. As per the studies mentioned in RR’s (2015) article,school principals are better equipped to improve student performancewhen adhering to three sets of key leadership practices that make upthe basic core of successful principal leadership. It is evident thatboth articles do have a mutual direction of laying their arguments.Both articles support the fact that for school principals to improvestudent performance, they have to perform their leadership duties inthe backdrop of a set of practices and skills typical to an effectiveleader.

Aneffective principal leader, according to Wallace’s (2013) work, isthe one tasked with the responsibility of instituting anall-inclusive vision of the academic achievement that caters to theacademic needs of all students. Moreover, an effective principal isone that makes sure that this notion gets embraced by the entireschool community. With this achieved, the principal will befashioning a hospitable learning environment which is the secondskill as per Wallace’s (2013) article. The third skill, inaccordance to Wallace’s (2013) work, is cultivating leadership inothers in the form of teamwork in developing curriculum,instructional practices, or test assessments. The fourth leadershipskill set for an effective principal leader is working relentlesslyto improve student achievement by focusing on refining the quality ofinstruction to make sure that teachers teach their students at theirbest (TheWallaceFoundation, 2013). The last leadership skill set, aspointed out by Wallace’s (2013) article, is managing people,processes, and data in order to foster rapid school development.

Echoingsimilar opinions, RR’s (2015) article identifies three key tenetsof effective school principal leadership. Compressing the first twotenets of Wallace’s article into one, RR’s (2015) articlehighlights the fact that the first set of effective leadershippractice is setting direction. Resonating Wallace’s first skillset, RR’s article highlights the importance of a principal leadersetting an academic direction for students. Going by RR’s (2015)article, an effective principal leader should help to create a sharedcomprehension of an institution’s activities, values, and goalswhich becomes the foundation of a sense of vision or purpose. Thesecond set of skill, according to RR (2015), is developing people.This corresponds to the third tenet of Wallace’s (2013) practicelist. Mirroring the same idea, RR (2015) also notes that an effectiveprincipal leader should engage in cultivating leadership skills inothers. The last set of skill redesigning the environment. Vaguelyexplained, this stage corresponds to Wallace’s fifth tenet, whichnotes that an effective leader is one that modifies organizationalculture, strengthens a school’s culture, and creates collaborativeprocesses.

Afterscrutinizing both articles, it becomes apparent that there arestunning similarities and differences between them. They both sharethe same directional argument because they focus on the essentialtenets that a principal leader should possess. They are in synchronywhen it comes to the topic and direction of discussion. On thecontrary, there are significant differences between Wallace’s(2013) and RR’s (2015) articles. As initially highlighted,Wallace’s (2013) article portrays the fact that school principalsare better equipped to improve student achievement when they engagein five key leadership practices. RR’s (2015) article identifiesonly three tenets that an effective principal leader should possess.

Ifthese two articles were to be weighed on a scale, Wallace’s (2015)article would be the heavier one on account of the depth ofdiscussion regarding the important set of skills that an effectiveschool principal leader should possess. As an article, Wallace’s(2015) is more effective than RR’s (2015) because it exhaustivelydiscusses five tenets of leadership skills. RR’s (2015) article isnot as effective because it appears to be a summary of Wallace’sinto three skill sets eliminating the true worth of the article. Iftwo principals were to execute their duties on the basis of each ofthese articles, it is a fact that the one that employs Wallace’sapproach will be the better leader. Even though both articles arebeautifully written, Wallace’s essay is more effective as aninformative article because it explicitly highlights a five-set skillfor school leaders.


TheWallace (2013). Role of Principal Leadership inImproving Student Achievement. Retrieved October 2, 2016,from Principal-as-Leader-Guiding-Schools-to-Better-Teaching-and-Learning-2nd Ed.pdf Role of Principal Leadership in ImprovingStudent Achievement. Retrieved 2014, from achievement