Activity Guide

The Diversity Responsive Principal Tool

Dozens of different evaluation instruments are being used to assess the performance of school principals. It appears that most of these performance assessments largely overlook the principal’s responsibility to develop and implement policies and practices that enhance the academic success of students of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.

The Diversity Responsive Principal Tool (DRPT) neither addresses dispositions of principals nor does it provide summative judgments of a principal’s performance; instead, it focuses on whether principals have taken actions to create and sustain opportunities for all students to learn at high levels. While these policies and practices are especially important for the academic success of diverse students, they benefit all students.

There is no necessary trade-off between equity and excellence in schools with highly effective leaders. Principals who promote equity and excellence effectively promote the nuanced monitoring of both outcomes and influences on learning, relevant professional development, access to and support for rigorous academic content, fair and sensible disciplinary practices, culturally and linguistically responsive family engagement, a multicultural curriculum, open and productive discussions of issues related to race and ethnicity, an inclusive school climate, and efforts to recruit and retain a diverse staff.

The DRPT is formative—not summative—in purpose, and the ultimate goal is for principals to be able to respond with “ALWAYS” for each essential characteristic of diversity responsive schools. Given this forma-tive purpose, the identified leadership behaviors are accompanied by: (1) an overview of research on the efficacy of these policies and practices for which principals are to be held accountable, and (2) resources related to implementing these policies and practices that can be used to guide professional development or support discussions of the behaviors highlighted in the DRPT.

Reading: “The Diversity Responsive Principal Tool” Used with permission of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and shared in collaboration with the University Council for Educational Administration.