302 Thoughts: How School Leaders Can Simplify Accountability Through Clear Goals and Great Feedback

by | Mar 30, 2022 | 0 comments

7 min read

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can rethink accountability in a post-pandemic world. The tough reality is that many of the mandated efforts force school leaders to take a direction that leaves other critical work in its wake. Ask any effective principal, assistant principal, or district leader and they can tell you what needs to happen in schools. It’s time that educators empower one another to redefine accountability and pursue goals that consider the whole child. 

Joe and T.J. break down key elements of a school so school leaders can review how effective each one is and assess each one systemically for greater student achievement. This is not a task for the weak-willed. This challenge is for those who rise each day, and before they even put a sock on, are thinking about how they can make a difference in their school. We need clear goals and a follow-up process for each key function within every school. It starts with you today.

Figure 1: Key functions of a school

Key Functions of a School


Athletics/Extra Curricular

Building and Grounds/Facilities

Career and Technical Education

Community Service

Community Relations


Federal/State Policies 



Nutritional Services


School Climate

Special Education

Student Support 



During this episode, Joe discussed how the education narrative around accountability should change and become less reliant on annual performance measures. Although annual state assessments can still serve a purpose, the above key functions should have a key measure of performance associated with each of them. Each one covers an aspect of schooling, and if they are all functioning at peak performance, then high levels of learning are far more attainable in the classroom. 

T.J. took the opportunity to discuss the importance of setting clear and measurable goals using pre-identified and reliable data. Stiggins and Chappuis contend that students can hit any clear, non-moving target. The same is true for adults. When school leaders, along with teacher leaders, create goals that everyone can get excited about, then everyone and every initiative should be moving toward attaining that measure. The power is in the momentum that is gained and the ability to check to see if things are working. 

Joe takes a moment to discuss how this lends the perfect opportunity for feedback. Feedback doesn’t have to be perceived as negative or bad. In fact, we continue to posit that cultures that are built on trust, thrive on feedback. In our One Thing Interview with Joy Kelly, she discusses how great leaders and teachers are able to provide feedback to one another. 


This last point goes perfectly with some exciting news that we have to share. TheSchoolHouse302 Candid and Compassionate Feedback Virtual MasterClass is up and running, ready for you to sign up today. This class is built on our first book that has resonated with so many school and district leaders. Be sure to sign up and become a master at providing feedback. 

Here is what Amy M. Grundy, Ed.D., Senior Leadership Specialist at the University of Delaware’s Academy for School Leadership (DASL) had to say:


This course is a must for any busy school leader or aspiring school leader! The format lends itself to the busy professional committed to their own professional growth. The structure is easy to follow and the content is on point! 


The authors/presenters provide models on which to lean to strengthen one’s own capacity and to support others in giving praise and candid feedback anchored in school priorities and goals. Each session begins with a launch, followed by a practical scenario, false assumptions, strategies, models and Leader Development Activities with practical applications and reflection prompts.


As a leader and a learner, this course will absolutely develop your capacity to provide candid and compassionate praise and feedback as a tool for the professional growth of those you lead.

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 


We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

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