2. PSEL Standards

The Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015 are organized around the domains, qualities, and values of leadership work that research and practice indicate contribute to students’ academic success and well-being. Each Standard features a title and a statement that succinctly defines the work of effective educational leaders in that particular realm. A series of elements follow, which elaborate the work that is necessary to meet the Standard. The number of elements for each Standard varies in order to describe salient dimensions of the work involved. It does not imply relative importance of a particular Standard.

STANDARD 1. MISSION, VISION, and CORE VALUES: Effective educational leaders develop, advocate, and enact a shared mission, vision, and core values of high-quality education and academic success and well-being of each student.

  1. Develop an educational mission for the school to promote the academic success and well-being of each student.
  2. In collaboration with members of the school and the community and using relevant data, develop and promote a vision for the school on the successful learning and development of each child and on instructional and organizational practices that promote such success.
  3. Articulate, advocate, and cultivate core values that define the school’s culture and stress the imperative of child-centered education; high expectations and student support; equity, inclusiveness, and social justice; openness, caring, and trust; and continuous improvement.
  4. Strategically develop, implement, and evaluate actions to achieve the vision for the school.
  5. Review the school’s mission and vision and adjust them to changing expectations and opportunities for the school, and changing needs and situations of students.
  6. Develop shared understanding of and commitment to mission, vision, and core values within the school and the community.
  7. Model and pursue the school’s mission, vision, and core values in all aspects of leadership.

STANDARD 2. ETHICS and PROFESSIONAL NORMS: Effective educational leaders act ethically and according to professional norms to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Act ethically and professionally in personal conduct, relationships with others, decision-making, stewardship of the school’s resources, and all aspects of school leadership.
  2. Act according to and promote the professional norms of integrity, fairness, transparency, trust, collaboration, perseverance, learning, and continuous improvement.
  3. Place children at the center of education and accept responsibility for each student’s academic success and well-being.
  4. Safeguard and promote the values of democracy, individual freedom and responsibility, equity, social justice, community, and diversity.
  5. Lead with interpersonal and communication skill, social-emotional insight, and understanding of all students’ and staff members’ backgrounds and cultures.
  6. Provide moral direction for the school and promote ethical and professional behavior among faculty and staff.

STANDARD 3. EQUITY and CULTURAL RESPONSIVENESS: Effective educational leaders strive for equity of educational opportunity and culturally responsive practices to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Ensure that each student is treated fairly, respectfully, and with an understanding of each student’s culture and context.
  2. Recognize, respect, and employ each student’s strengths, diversity, and culture as assets for teaching and learning.
  3. Ensure that each student has equitable access to effective teachers, learning opportunities, academic and social support, and other resources necessary for success.
  4. Develop student policies and address student misconduct in a positive, fair, and unbiased manner.
  5. Confront and alter institutional biases of student marginalization, deficit-based schooling, and low expectations associated with race, class, culture and language, gender and sexual orientation, and disability or special status.
  6. Promote the preparation of students to live productively in and contribute to the diverse cultural contexts of a global society.
  7. Act with cultural competence and responsiveness in their interactions, decision making, and practice.
  8. Address matters of equity and cultural responsiveness in all aspects of leadership.

STANDARD 4. CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, and ASSESSMENT: Effective educational leaders develop and support intellectually rigorous and coherent systems of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Implement coherent systems of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that promote the mission, vision, and core values of the school, embody high expectations for student learning, align with academic standards, and are culturally responsive.
  2. Align and focus systems of curriculum, instruction, and assessment within and across grade levels to promote student academic success, love of learning, the identities and habits of learners, and healthy sense of self.
  3. Promote instructional practice that is consistent with knowledge of child learning and development, effective pedagogy, and the needs of each student.
  4. Ensure instructional practice that is intellectually challenging, authentic to student experiences, recognizes student strengths, and is differentiated and personalized.
  5. Promote the effective use of technology in the service of teaching and learning.
  6. Employ valid assessments that are consistent with knowledge of child learning and development and technical standards of measurement.
  7. Use assessment data appropriately and within technical limitations to monitor student progress and improve instruction.

STANDARD 5. COMMUNITY of CARE and SUPPORT for STUDENTS: Effective educational leaders cultivate an inclusive, caring, and supportive school community that promotes the academic success and well-being of each student.

  1. Build and maintain a safe, caring, and healthy school environment that meets that the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of each student.
  2. Create and sustain a school environment in which each student is known, accepted and valued, trusted and respected, cared for, and encouraged to be an active and responsible member of the school community.
  3. Provide coherent systems of academic and social supports, services, extracurricular activities, and accommodations to meet the range of learning needs of each student.
  4. Promote adult-student, student-peer, and school-community relationships that value and support academic learning and positive social and emotional development.
  5. Cultivate and reinforce student engagement in school and positive student conduct.
  6. Infuse the school’s learning environment with the cultures and languages of the school’s community.

STANDARD 6. PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY of SCHOOL PERSONNEL: Effective educational leaders develop the professional capacity and practice of school personnel to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Recruit, hire, support, develop, and retain effective and caring teachers and other professional staff and form them into an educationally effective faculty.
  2. Plan for and manage staff turnover and succession, providing opportunities for effective induction and mentoring of new personnel.
  3. Develop teachers’ and staff members’ professional knowledge, skills, and practice through differentiated opportunities for learning and growth, guided by understanding of professional and adult learning and development.
  4. Foster continuous improvement of individual and collective instructional capacity to achieve outcomes envisioned for each student.
  5. Deliver actionable feedback about instruction and other professional practice through valid, research-anchored systems of supervision and evaluation to support the development of teachers’ and staff members’ knowledge, skills, and practice.
  6. Empower and motivate teachers and staff to the highest levels of professional practice and to continuous learning and improvement.
  7. Develop the capacity, opportunities, and support for teacher leadership and leadership from other members of the school community.
  8. Promote the personal and professional health, well-being, and work-life balance of faculty and staff.
  9. Tend to their own learning and effectiveness through reflection, study, and improvement, maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

STANDARD 7. PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY for TEACHERS and STAFF: Effective educational leaders foster a professional community of teachers and other professional staff to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Develop workplace conditions for teachers and other professional staff that promote effective professional development, practice, and student learning.
  2. Empower and entrust teachers and staff with collective responsibility for meeting the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of each student, pursuant to the mission, vision, and core values of the school.
  3. Establish and sustain a professional culture of engagement and commitment to shared vision, goals, and objectives pertaining to the education of the whole child; high expectations for professional work; ethical and equitable practice; trust and open communication; collaboration, collective efficacy, and continuous individual and organizational learning and improvement.
  4. Promote mutual accountability among teachers and other professional staff for each student’s success and the effectiveness of the school as a whole.
  5. Develop and support open, productive, caring and trusting working relationships among leaders faculty and staff to promote professional capacity and the improvement of practice.
  6. Design and implement job-embedded and other opportunities for professional learning collaboratively with faculty and staff.
  7. Provide opportunities for collaborative examination of practice, collegial feedback, and collective learning.
  8. Encourage faculty-initiated improvement of programs and practices.

STANDARD 8. MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT of FAMILIES and COMMUNITY: Effective educational leaders engage families and the community in meaningful, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial ways to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Are approachable, accessible, and welcoming to families and members of the community.
  2. Create and sustain positive, collaborative, and productive relationships with families and the community for the benefit of students.
  3. Engage in regular and open two-way communication with families and the community about the school, students, needs, problems, and accomplishments.
  4. Maintain a presence in the community to understand its strengths and needs, develop productive relationships, and engage its resources for the school.
  5. Create means for the school community to partner with families to support student learning in and out of school.
  6. Understand, value, and employ the community’s cultural, social, intellectual, and political resources to promote student learning and school improvement.
  7. Develop and provide the school as a resource for families and the community.
  8. Advocate for the school and district, and for the importance of education and student needs and priorities to families and the community.
  9. Advocate publicly for the needs and priorities of students, families, and the community.
  10. Build and sustain productive partnerships with public and private sectors to promote school improvement and student learning.

STANDARD 9. OPERATIONS and MANAGEMENT: Effective educational leaders manage school operations and resources to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.

  1. Institute, manage, and monitor operations and administrative systems that promote the mission and vision of the school.
  2. Strategically manage staff resources, assigning and scheduling teachers and staff to roles and responsibilities that optimize their professional capacity to address each student’s learning needs.
  3. Seek, acquire, and manage fiscal, physical, and other resources to support curriculum, instruction, and assessment; student learning community; professional capacity and community; and family and community engagement.
  4. Are responsible, ethical, and accountable stewards of the school’s monetary and nonmonetary resources, engaging in effective budgeting and accounting practices.
  5. Protect teachers’ and other staff members’ work and learning from disruption.
  6. Employ technology to improve the quality and efficiency of operations and management.
  7. Develop and maintain data and communication systems to deliver actionable information for classroom and school improvement.
  8. Know, comply with, and help the school community understand local, state, and federal laws, rights, policies, and regulations so as to promote student success.
  9. Develop and manage relationships with feeder and connecting schools for enrollment management and curricular and instructional articulation.
  10. Develop and manage productive relationships with the central office and school board.
  11. Develop and administer systems for fair and equitable management of conflict among students, faculty and staff, leaders, families, and community.
  12. Manage governance processes and internal and external politics toward achieving the school’s mission and vision.


  1. Seek to make school more effective for each student, teachers and staff, families, and the community.
  2. Use methods of continuous improvement to achieve the vision, fulfill the mission, and promote the core values of the school.
  3. Prepare the school and the community for improvement, promoting readiness, an imperative for improvement, instilling mutual commitment and accountability, and developing the knowledge, skills, and motivation to succeed in improvement.
  4. Engage others in an ongoing process of evidence-based inquiry, learning, strategic goal setting, planning, implementation, and evaluation for continuous school and classroom improvement.
  5. Employ situationally-appropriate strategies for improvement, including transformational and incremental, adaptive approaches and attention to different phases of implementation.
  6. Assess and develop the capacity of staff to assess the value and applicability of emerging educational trends and the findings of research for the school and its improvement.
  7. Develop technically appropriate systems of data collection, management, analysis, and use, connecting as needed to the district office and external partners for support in planning, implementation, monitoring, feedback, and evaluation.
  8. Adopt a systems perspective and promote coherence among improvement efforts and all aspects of school organization, programs, and services.
  9. Manage uncertainty, risk, competing initiatives, and politics of change with courage and perseverance, providing support and encouragement, and openly communicating the need for, process for, and outcomes of improvement efforts.
  10. Develop and promote leadership among teachers and staff for inquiry, experimentation and innovation, and initiating and implementing improvement.