Student success is the goal of education, and it starts with having exceptional teachers in every classroom. Engaging and witnessing those “lightbulb moments” with students can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be exhausting for teachers.

To create conditions for student success, educational leaders play a critical role in fostering an environment that supports and nurtures students’ growth and achievement.

As the Principal of my school, it was my responsibility to set the conditions for success for our faculty, staff, and students. In addition, I aimed to provide each student with an engaging learning experience every day. Therefore, as the instructional leader, it was crucial to provide job-embedded professional learning opportunities for my teachers to enhance their skill sets.

One of our most successful learning vehicles was lunch-and-learn sessions. My teachers enjoyed learning new strategies from each other in a casual environment. We would always follow the session with an opportunity for teachers to visit a model classroom to observe the technique in action. As a result of my teachers’ commitment to enhancing their skill set, we experienced increased student engagement and decreased student behavior.

Implementing collaborative learning activities is an effective strategy to enhance student engagement and promote success. Instead of solely relying on individual problem-solving, teachers can encourage students to work in small groups or engage in activities like think-pair-share. Group discussions allow students to explain their reasoning and problem-solving processes, fostering metacognition and a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This approach boosts engagement and cultivates essential communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.

Motivation is another critical aspect of student success. According to research by Ryan and Deci, three components facilitate motivation: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy refers to students’ sense of initiative and ownership in their actions, allowing them to take control of their learning. Competence involves fostering a feeling of mastery and instilling the belief that effort leads to growth and success. Finally, relatedness entails creating a school setting that conveys respect and fosters positive relationships between students and teachers.

Emotional connection and personal storytelling can significantly impact student engagement and classroom relationships. By incorporating storytelling and sharing personal experiences, teachers can deepen connections with their students and create a supportive and inclusive learning environment. Such an approach helps students feel comfortable, valued, and connected, enhancing their willingness to engage and participate in learning.

Teachers can also contribute to student success by promoting a sense of belonging and connection within the classroom. Recognizing and referencing shared interests or experiences among students fosters a sense of community and belonging, encouraging active participation and engagement. Additionally, staying attuned to the local zeitgeist and being aware of students’ perspectives can help create an inclusive and relevant learning environment.

“A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.”

– Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Student success is a multifaceted goal that requires the collective efforts of teachers, educational leaders, and the entire school community. By implementing strategies such as collaborative learning, promoting autonomy and competence, fostering emotional connections, and cultivating a sense of belonging, educators can create conditions that support student success and empower them to reach their full potential.

As an educational leader, your commitment to providing great teachers in every classroom is a significant step toward achieving this goal.


Are you a classroom teacher, school administrator, or central office staff member looking for principles and best practices to support student success? Then join me for the Educational Leadership Moment on YouTube.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.