Dr. Reeves Fourth Element – Leverage

Dr. Reeves identifies leverage as the fourth critical leadership element. Dr. Reeves states “Some leadership and instructional strategies with the greatest leverage – the greatest results for the least investment of time, energy, and resources – are not very popular.” He challenges school leaders to utilize those activities that have the greatest leverage. Schools are often flooded with a multitude of initiatives and strategies competing for the same objective and the results are often disappointing. Too many initiatives are burdensome and not will implemented.

Dr. Reeves encourages school leaders to examine the degree of implementation needed for an initiative and to determine what works best for the students in the school. He also points to the need to know effect size of various instructional strategies. The work of John Hattie provides the effect size of numerous instructional strategies and practices.

In addition, it is critical that school leaders have a way to obtain data on the effectiveness of any initiative. School leaders make hypothesis about the likelihood of strategies that will raise student achievement. In the end, it is critical that these hypothesis are either proven or disproven through data. According to Dr. Reeves, the following three initiative have proven results in raising student achievement: non-fiction writing, highly functioning professional learning communities, and provided FAST (fair, accurate, specific, and timely) feedback to students.

Dr. Reeves challenges school leaders to first identify those actions with that have low impact or are even counterproductive impact on student achievement. He provides a number of actions that school leaders should consider eliminating that center on low implementation and low impact. Finally, Dr. Reeves points out that leaders lose their leverage when they become firefighters instead of instructional leaders. Instead, school leaders must focus on fewer initiatives and strategies that have the greatest leverage over student results.

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