What is a SAM™?
A SAM is a person or team of school staff members who meet with the principal each day to schedule instructional leadership time, reflect on impact and develop a First Responder™ structure in the school. Most schools use existing staff, a secretary, vice-principal or teacher leader, to serve as the SAM team. Over 700 schools in eighteen states contract for SAM services.
How do you know how principals spend their time?
The SAM process uses a unique data collection process called Time/Task Analysis™ to determine how much instructional, management and personal time a principal uses. The principal is “shadowed” for five days with data collected every five minutes. This creates a time use baseline. The principal then uses TimeTrack™ to begin increasing instructional time each day. The shadowing is repeated annually as an external check on progress.
What is TimeTrack™ ?
TimeTrack is a cloud based calendar that the principal uses like a lesson plan. The calendar tracks the time the principal spends with individual and groups of teachers and provides specific detail of the interactions. TimeTrack records and charts are used in a daily meeting with the principal and SAM team to determine next steps and track time use.
How was the SAM process created?
The Wallace Foundation funded the initial work. Mark Shellinger, a former teacher, principal and superintendent, created the process and tools. The initial pilot showed promising results and a positive correlation with student achievement. The Foundation supported replication, development and research for nine years. Mark now directs the National SAM Innovation Project (NSIP), a non-profit corporation providing SAM implementation and support services for more than 600 schools in seventeen states on a fee for service basis.
The life of most school leaders is interrupt driven. The SAM process identifies staff members who should be the first to try to deal with management issues instead of immediately pulling the principal from instructional work. The SAM team works to create management systems within the school to manage the management so the principal can stay engaged in activities designed to improve teaching and learning. NSIP surveys of parents, students and staff at SAM schools reveal that the management is better accomplished when the First Responders™ system is in place and the principal increases instructional engagement.
Is the SAM process expensive?
No. NISP contracts with districts and schools at an annual rate, or fee, that declines each year as capacity is developed locally. SAM is not a program. It is a professional development process a principal uses to do the good work the school and district has determined will best help students. The first year fee for a school is $12,900 and includes services for the principal, assistant principals and SAM team members. This fee decreases by 30% each year as capacity is developed at the school and district level.
What services are included?
NSIP starts with a readiness training workshop for the principal and SAM team. Once the school community and principal have completed the readiness steps, Time/Task Analysis™, or shadowing, is conducted for one week. NSIP then provides two weeks of on-site training and support to implement TimeTrack, the daily meeting and First Responders. NSIP continues this support with monthly visits by a Time Change Coach and professional development support. The annual service fee also covers all expenses for the SAM team, except airfare, to attend the NSIP annual national conference.
How can my school or district begin the SAM process?
Start with a visit to the NSIP website, www.SamsConnect.com Then, view video interviews with SAM principals and teams and take a look at the research reports. Click on the Contact Us link to schedule an implementation planning session.