The Time Management Practices and Preferred Allocation of Time of Principals of Small Secondary Schools in Virginia

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to determine the time management practices and preferred allocation of time of principals of small secondary schools in Virginia. The instructional role of the principal and his or her time spent on instruction is important. Goldring et al. (2019) found "time principals spend on instructional leadership will improve the school's culture, teaching and, ultimately, student outcomes" (p. 20). However, the time spent on instruction is limited to the needs of various stakeholders within the school community. "Principals are responsible for organizing and managing staff, managing student and staff well-being, responding to the needs of various stakeholders, and promoting school achievement" (Collie et al., 2020, p. 417). By identifying connections between principals' experiences with time spent on tasks and how principals wished to spend their time, a better understanding of how principals could impact their stakeholders may be discovered. The study involved a survey of 25 principals of small secondary school in Virginia. Data collection also included one focus group. Survey and interview questions explored the perceived tasks and activities that limited a principal's ability to spend time on necessary tasks, changes that would need to occur in the school, and the impacts these changes. This study finds principals of small secondary schools in Virginia indicated a preference for spending time as instructional leaders. The majority of the participants' responses (58.76%) were related specifically to tasks and activities involving Teaching and Learning when asked about their preference of how to spend their time. Previous research on time spent on instruction indicates that, "Despite minor changes over the years, time devoted by principals to purposeful, instructional activities remains below one-fifth of the typical school day" (Goldring et al., 2019, p. 21). By analyzing principal perceptions of tasks and activities that limited the amount of time spent on instruction, school leadership might consider a restructure or increase of staffing. Further, universities might consider revisions to principal preparation coursework to include time management skill development. By considering ways to address time challenges of principals, their positions may be altered for improving the quality of instructional leadership in schools.



Principals, Time Management, Small Secondary Schools