- The first nationally representative study of how principals spend their working hours, conducted by the federal Regional Education Laboratory for Northeast and Islands, found elementary and secondary principals rack up an average of 60 hours of work each week.
- Education Week reports the 6,000 participating principals tracked their time use during the 2011-12 school year, when they spent 31% of their time on administrative tasks, 23% of their time interacting with students and 12% of their time interacting with parents.
- The National Association of Elementary School Principals has found average work weeks getting longer among its members, with principal turnover rising along with the growing workload – 10 years ago, the average principal stayed in his or her position for a decade, and now the average stay is just three years.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found high school principals reported spending 3.3 to 4.7 more hours per week on the job than their colleagues at the elementary and middle school levels. They also reported spending more time on administrative tasks.
Burnout that leads to high turnover is not good for students or the long-term performance of schools. While it costs districts more money to hire assistant principals or other staff members who can lighten the load of principals, district leaders might consider investing in that to improve the working conditions of principals and increase the likelihood they will stay on the job longer. Just like high superintendent turnover leads to instability in districts, high principal turnover leads to instability in schools.