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One Week Before the Rounds

  1. Identify participants who will join you on the rounds (e.g., principal, assistant principals, directors, teachers on special assignment).
  2. Create a schedule.
  3. Determine which problem of practice you will observe as it relates to one of the principal’s instructional leadership goals for the year.
  4. Communicate your purpose with union leaders and teachers in advance of the visit. Make it clear that these rounds are being conducted as part of your administrator development and support. Nothing observed or discussed will be included as part of any teacher’s evaluation.

Day of the Rounds

  1. Review purpose, goals, outcomes, and procedures.
  2. Articulate ongoing improvement efforts surrounding the problem of practice. (What led to the inclusion of this goal in the principal’s performance goal-setting process? What work has already been done around this goal–e.g., staff commitments, professional development, acquisition of material or resources?)
  3. Clarify: What data will be collected? What template or rubric will be used to record the data?
  4. Look Fors: What should we expect to see and hear from students?
  5. Observe: Record data in terms of what students are doing and saying. Ask students to describe what they’re learning and why they’re learning it. What do students do when they’re stuck?
  6. Debrief: Discuss descriptive patterns, contrasts, and observations. (Be nonjudgmental and confidential.)

After the Rounds

  1. Post-Op: What plan of action will the principal follow to share discoveries with staff? How will the administrative team build teacher knowledge and skills? What next steps are needed at the district level to build on this work?
  2. Wellness Check: When will you return to re-examine progress? What “look fors” should be included in follow-up rounds?

Adapted from Cedar Springs Public Schools District Instructional Rounds, available at


Article taken from Galileo for Superintendents. To learn more about this publication, please visit:

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