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The Principal as Curriculum Leader

The Principal as Curriculum Leader
Shaping What Is Taught and Tested

Fourth Edition

September 2016 | 288 pages | Corwin

Your best resource for curriculum leadership post-NCLB and beyond!

Put quality curriculum front and center with this classic toolkit to savvy curriculum leadership for the 21st Century. Newly revised and updated case studies, research, and state and national curriculum and leadership standards complement a completely new section focused on emerging technologies.

New features include up-to-date information on:

  • Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, ESSA, CCSS and more
  • District-level curriculum mapping, planning, and integration
  • Facilitating professional growth, learning-centered scheduling, and leadership time management
  • State curriculum frameworks, online assessments, SBAC, PARCC, and adaptive testing

Learn what it really takes to structure, align, integrate and evaluate quality curriculum in the post-NCLB, ESSA and Common Core era. This nuts and bolts guide will help you navigate the new curriculum landscape with ease!

"As principals, we so often get caught up in the day-to-day management of our schools.  We must quit putting out fires and instead focus our attention on leading, specifically as curriculum leaders. The Principal as Curriculum Leader provides a clear framework with a plan of action to put you and your school on a path to student success."
—Stephen Baker, Principal
Smithfield-Selma High School, NC

"The Principal as Curriculum Leader is a blueprint for principals to use when implementing curriculum reform. It brings clarity to the many trends, mandates, and guidelines that masquerade as simple solutions to complex issues. This book should be read and owned by every principal and curriculum leader."
—Dr. Jerry V. Congleton, Former Superintendent
Weldon City Schools

Preface to the Fourth Edition
About the Authors
PART I: Laying the Foundations
1. What It Means to Be a Curriculum Leader: Post Race to the Top, the Era of the Common Core of State Standards (CCSS) and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA)
Movement Toward National Standards

Influences on Curricula: Current and Past

The Hallmarks of Curriculum Quality

Chapter Summary


2. Some Current Trends in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in the Era of the Every Student Succeeds Act and New State Standards for Curriculum (ESSA and CCSS)
Some Current Trends in Curriculum

Some Practices Related to Current Trends in Curriculum

What These Trends Mean

Chapter Summary


3. The Five Curriculum Levels: National, State, District, School, and Classroom
National Functions

State Functions

District Functions

School Functions

Classroom Functions

Flexible Allocations

Chapter Summary


4. Importance of the Principal
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Commission Report Called for Definition of Highly Effective Principals

Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) 2015

Defining Curriculum Leadership

Understanding the Problems of the Principal’s Curriculum Leadership Role

Understanding the Rationale for Principal Leadership

Uniting Principal and Teacher Leadership

Performing the Leadership Functions

Chapter Summary


PART II: Shaping State and District Curricula
5. State Policies and Frameworks
The Case of State Frameworks in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi

Becoming Informed

Getting the Message Across

Evaluating State Frameworks

Chapter Summary


6. District Curricula
District Functions

Exercising Influence as the Principal

Chapter Summary


PART III: Providing Leadership
7. Developing Vision and Goals
Developing the School’s Vision of a Quality Curriculum

Developing the School’s Curriculum Goals

Chapter Summary


8. Rethinking the Program of Studies
Renewing an Existing Program of Studies

Restructuring the Program of Studies

Chapter Summary


9. Committing to a Learning-Centered Schedule and Protection of Instructional Time
The Nature of a Learning-Centered Schedule

Developing a Learning-Centered Schedule

How the Principal and Teachers Can Make More Effective Use of the Existing Schedule

Chapter Summary


10. Integrating the Curriculum
Types of Integration

Arguments Supporting Integration

Arguments Questioning the Use of Integration

Some Challenges of Integration at All Levels

A Process for Resolving the Integration Issue

Chapter Summary


11. Aligning the Curriculum
Types of Curricula

Aligning the Recommended and the Written Curricula

Aligning the Written, the Supported, and the Assessed Curricula

Aligning the Written and the Taught Curricula

Aligning the Hidden and the Learned Curricula

Aligning the Taught and the Learned Curricula

Chapter Summary


12. Monitoring the Curriculum Implementation Process
The Argument About Monitoring

A Practical Solution for Monitoring

Chapter Summary


PART IV: Working With Teachers
13. Making Yearly Planning Calendars and Curriculum Maps
The Nature of Yearly Plans and Curriculum Maps and a Rationale for Their Use

Organizing for Yearly Planning

Developing Yearly Plans

Reviewing the Plans

Chapter Summary


14. Developing Units of Study
A Rationale for Unit Development

Organizing for Unit Development

Developing Units Based on Constructivist Principles

Some Criticisms of Constructivism

Chapter Summary


15. Enriching the Curriculum and Remediating Learning
Helping Teachers Enrich the Curriculum

Helping Teachers Remediate Learning

Chapter Summary


16. Evaluating the Curriculum
Evaluating the Assessed or Tested Curriculum

Evaluating the Supported Curriculum

Evaluating the Written Curriculum

Evaluating the Taught Curriculum

Evaluating the Learned Curriculum

Chapter Summary


PART V: Looking Ahead
17. Curriculum Leadership: Putting It All Together
Work Closely With District Leadership

Set Up the Curriculum Organizational Structures

Use Team Leadership

Make Curriculum Improvement Part of an Overall Plan

Use an Incremental Process in Effecting Curricular Change

Prioritize Curriculum Tasks

Use Routine Activities to Support Quality Curricula

Develop Specific Plans and Manage Time

A Personal and Concluding Note

Chapter Summary



This text is both practical, and appropriately theoretical. Principal interns learn about the "big picture" of curriculum leadership, and also have the opportunity to look at the details of various aspects of curriculum leadership, such as a learning-centered schedule.

David Swank
Educational Administration, University Of South Dakota
January 31, 2023

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ISBN: 9781483353128

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