The principal and the LT members need to have a clear image of what error-analysis and re-teaching meetings look like and sound like. Thus principals working together in a training session should be the kick-off for this work. Principals might, indeed, benefit from a formal PD course on the scenarios described above. They themselves, however, should be the “course leader” and facilitator in the ensuing stages for their own building. This is principal as “teacher” among colleagues, or principal teacher, which is the origin of the title “principal” to begin with.
Each member of the Leadership Team should see, participate in, and practice leading error analysis and re-teaching meetings of teachers. At the outset the principal could have each member of the leadership team bring a packet of recent student work from a classroom (one can invite the teacher too, as an observer or a participant.) The principal leads the error analysis and re-teaching meeting just as if it were a grade level or common-subject group. Note: the principal is modeling risk-taking, not being expert at doing this, and commitment to find a way for the student(s) to learn the item. Other early-stage actions are for the principal to lead an actual grade or subject meeting into error analysis and re-teaching and have leadership team members observe and debrief with the principal, always modeling and being explicit that “we’re trying to learn how to do this important thing.” Then other LT members get into the cycle with other members of the Leadership Team observing.
Leadership team members then move into a role of being present at all team meetings of teachers who share content. They decide differentially how strong a role to play at these meetings, depending on the level of development of that teacher team. Presence as well as intervention, guidance, and modeling productive team meetings for error analysis and re-teaching is not the only lever, but it is a most important one for influencing teaching and learning in any school.
It would accelerate school improvement and good work all over the country at closing the achievement gap if the focus described here were incorporated in programs for the training and certification of school leaders.