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Practices of elementary school principals in disadvantaged areas

“My role is to be an educational leader. To try and find all the small moments when I can educate. And is education just reading and writing? It’s also social interaction. It’s what’s going on in the gym. It’s also … It’s everything. School is education. And the day we start to ask ourselves the question is the day we’ve forgotten what it is to be a principal—the principal teacher. And that’s exactly it: I’m still a teacher, just a notch above.” (from an interview)

There is a link between students’ persistence and success in school and their socioeconomic level.

There is a link between students’ persistence and success in school and their socioeconomic level. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds generally do less well in school. However, the exercise of learner-centred leadership by the principal fosters student retention and success.

Principals whose management practices are learner-centred convey a vision and provide guidelines that mobilize the school team. While much of their time is dedicated to stewardship and management duties, as well as to supporting at-risk students, they promote learning in everyone and ensure that all students are taught in ways that meet their needs. They encourage the school team to work collectively and support the professional development of team members, particularly with respect to literacy development and mathematics education.

These principals support teachers in their communications with parents and create partnerships with the community. They consider that the support of their school organization in the exercise of learner-centred leadership as a formal practice facilitates their work.


Main researcher: Roseline Garon, Université de Montréal

Original title: Portrait des pratiques de directions d’école primaire en milieu défavorisé et de leur arrimage aux pratiques pédagogiques des enseignants, en rapport avec la priorisation de l’apprentissage dans la gestion de leur établissement

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