2017 National Principal of the Year

Thomas Dodd

Lesher Middle School
Fort Collins, CO

Innovative leadership involves breaking apart old ideas so new ones can emerge, using research to knock the system out of equilibrium, and seeking resourceful solutions. To align theĀ Breaking Rankscore area components of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Lesher moved away from the historical practice of averaging a collection of points on a traditional 100-point scale to arrive at an A-F grade (predicated on the bell curve) to authentically assessing student learning progress on the Common Core State Standards/Colorado Academic Standards. This was done using the four International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program’s Criteria across eight subject areas. Lesher communicates levels of academic performance (0-8 rubrics) separate from work habit behaviors (novice, learner, practitioner, expert). Giving students continual feedback with multiple opportunities to improve their current performance level toward set criteria (concepts, content, skills) as well as emphasizing the most recent and frequent evidence encourages students to advance their performance over time