Leadership Center Launched with 17 Principals

October 22, 2018
A new initiative from the Bahrain Teachers College, connecting BTC faculty, Ministry of Education staff, and school principals was launched this morning. The Leadership Center, a research and outreach unit within the college, began with an introduction by Assistant Undersecretary Ms. Latifa Albunoodha, who welcomed all participants and discussed the purpose of the center.
In attendance were four School Chiefs from the Ministry of Education--Ms. Alaa Al Qahtani, Mr. Sami Al Ammadi, Ms. Safiya Shamsan, and Ms. Sumaya Abdulrahman. The Chiefs will be seconded this academic year from the Ministry of Education for three days per week to the Bahrain Teachers College so that they can act as leadership coaches to the principal participants. In addition to the School Chiefs, Ms. Badriya Ali Suwaileh, one of the most widely recognized excellent principals in the country, attended the opening session and will serve this academic year as a leadership coach.
The purpose of the center is to utilize the strategy of leadership coaching to provide targeted assistance to the principals of schools rated by the Bahrain Quality Assurance Authority as inadequate for three years in a row. The 17 principals will spend two half-days per week this academic year at the BTC, working as a team, in small groups, and one-on-one with the coaches. The goal of the center is to give these leaders various tools for improving their schools and enacting school transformation.
Leadership coaching, a strategy used throughout the world for school improvement, is an approach that has increasingly shown effectiveness for transformation of low performing schools. By addressing the day-to-day challenges of leaders in their jobs, and doing so through a reflective and personal manner, coaches can identify leadership weaknesses and support leaders in their personal improvement. Coaching requires no set curriculum, as the content of discussions should focus on the individual concerns with the various principals and their schools. However, it is anticipated that a variety of topics will become repeated points of discussing throughout the academic year, based on a thorough analysis done of the quality assurance reports on the schools: leadership problem-solving, instructional leadership, parent communication, and student classroom engagement.
The principals come from the following schools: Al Duraz Intermediate Boys School, Jidhafs  Intermediate Boys School, AbdulRahman Al Dakel Intermediate Boys School, Belad Al Qadeem Intermediate Boys School, Samaheej Primary and Intermediate Boys School, AlJaberiya Secondary Technical Boys School, East Riffa Secondary Boys School, The Secondary and Intermediate Religious Institute, Karzakan Primary Boys School, Sh. Khalifa Bin Salman Institute of Technology, Arad Primary and Intermediate Boys School, Hamad Town Secondary Boys School, Al Budaiya Primary Boys School, Imam AlKazali Intermediate Boys School, Hamad Town Intermediate Boys School, and Safra Primary and Intermediate Boys School.
In the first meeting, a candid discussion between Assistant Undersecretary Ms. Latifa Albunoodha, Dean of the BTC Dr. Ted Purinton, the School Chiefs, and the principals took place regarding the challenges the principals face in instigating performance-based cultures in their schools. Dr. Purinton shared his personal experience as an educator at inner-city schools in the United States. Two faculty from the BTC were also present, welcoming and encouraging the participants in the efforts they will exert this year through the center: Dr. Osama Al Mahdi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Studies and Dr. Ismail El Mahdi, also Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Studies. Dr. El Mahdi noted to the participants that this effort would be a collaborative one between the Ministry, their schools, the BTC, and even the Bahrain Quality Assurance Authority; such a collaboration would deepen the country’s commitment to educational improvement in a way that will provide support, not blame, to the leaders in their efforts.
Throughout this academic year, we will provide updates about the activities of the center.
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