The International School System Leadership Program brings together many years of experience in providing professional development for system leaders in Ontario and the cutting edge research from our Program Advisory Panel members and many others. For our purposes, system leaders are aspiring to leadership at the system level – state, district, board, national or corporate.
“Think ‘system’ and not ‘individual school’ if the goal is to fundamentally change the culture of schools.”
Dr. Michael Fullan
The overall nature of the program is influenced by the findings of Dr. Ken Leithwood (2012) that the practices of effective school-level leadership are a major component of effective system-level leadership, although “the context often requires qualitatively different enactments of the same practices to be successful” (p.39). For example, the context
is more complex and demanding, in terms of the number and range of stakeholders, and the political accountability. Leithwood also finds a few leadership practices that are relatively unique to system-level leadership: improving core systematic processes, creating and aligning supporting system conditions, refining approaches to leadership development, and building productive relationships. These practices radiate throughout all of our modules:
MODULE 1: LEADERSHIP FOR SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT
MODULE 2: EFFECTIVE SCHOOL SYSTEMS
MODULE 3: CAPACITY BUILDING PRACTICES
MODULE 4: DATA USE AND PLANNING PRACTICES
MODULE 5: INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES
MODULE 6: COLLABORATIVE INQUIRY PLAN FOR SYSTEM LEADERS
System Modules 1 to 5 are designed in the same manner: (1) explore school-level leadership practices; (2) probe system-level practices; (3) collectively apply the new knowledge to an assignment; and (4) individually reflect on his/her learning. Each module is to be delivered in 1 1⁄2 or 2 days. The final certificate module (6) is a culminating activity: the personal application of the new knowledge to the development of a collaborative inquiry plan.
SYSTEM MODULE 1: PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT In this module participants will
Understand effective school-level leadership
- examine attributes of an effective school leader for 21st century teaching and learning using international leadership frameworks
- explore the management versus instructional leadership dichotomy within the context of national and international schools
- enrich the understanding of the common elements of effective school leadership as identified by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED), the Wallace Foundation and Council of International Schools (CIS) Characteristics of Accredited Schools
- examine components of instructional leadership including setting vision, creating a safe and orderly environment, developing other leaders, improving instruction and managing people, data and processes within a diverse school
- understand dimensions and capabilities outlined in Viviane Robinson’s Student Centered Leadership research from the perspective of capacity building at the system level and
- explore Michael Fullan’s research on the three roles of the instructional leader that maximize impact – lead learner, system leader and change agent.Understand effective system-level leadership
- examine system-level leadership frameworks and the research of Drs. Ken Leithwood, Michael Fullan, Lyn Sharratt, Andy Hargreaves, Avis Glaze, and John Hattie
- understand the four leadership attributes by Lyn Sharratt and Gale Harild (2014) that move learners into 21st century skills – knowledgeable, mobilize, sustain, innovate
- explore the role in terms of processes, providing and aligning resources, developing leadership capacity and ensuring productive relationships
- explore the cognitive, social and psychological qualities identified by Ken Leithwood (2012) as instrumental to leadership success
- examine research related to problem solving and use various theories, models and strategies for effective problem solving and decision-making
- develop “ethical fitness” by examining ethical dilemmas and proposing possible resolutions and
- discuss the importance of sharing power and developing an ethical culture that engages employees in decision- making and problem solving.Collectively apply their new knowledge to
• develop a draft system-level leadership framework by reflecting on the literature and other frameworks.
Individually reflect on his/her learning
SYSTEM MODULE 2: EFFECTIVE SCHOOL SYSTEMS In this module participants will
Understand effective schools
- review the effective school research from McKinsey & Company, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Washington State University, Larry Lezotte and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- identify characteristics of effective schools that support 21st century teaching and learning, using national school effectiveness, private, and international school accreditation frameworks
- identify characteristics of effective schools that build intercultural competencies and global citizenship skills and
- increase the understanding of components for effective schools including focus on learning, student voice, monitoring and assessment, strong home-school relationships, high expectations and clear mission and vision and the system leaders’ role in implementing effective schools.Understand effective systems
- understand the role of system leaders in developing and sustaining effective schools and systems
- increase knowledge of the nature and impact of PISA
- explore key characteristics of the world’s best school systems according to OECD
- probe Ontario’s Levers to Successful Improvement
- explore leading from the middle as a system strategy and the importance of coherence
- understand characteristics of effective learning organizations based on the research of OECD and Peter Senge and apply to the system and
- review system effectiveness frameworks.Collectively apply their new knowledge to
• develop a draft system-level effectiveness framework by reflecting on the literature and other frameworks.
Individually reflect on his/her learning
SYSTEM MODULE 3: CAPACITY BUILDING PRACTICES In this module participants will
Understand effective practices at the school and system level
- explore emotional and cultural intelligence and identify strategies that maximize performance when interacting with teachers, students and parents in diverse school communities
- examine personal leadership resources that leaders draw upon to enact effective leadership practices in national and international schools using authentic case studies approach
- understand the importance of building relational trust in creating a learning community through authentic leadership
- develop an understanding of a professional learning community as a structure that develops collaboration, improves instruction, increases student achievement and builds school and organizational capacity
- explore strategies to build professional capital and collective efficacy to increase motivation and increase student achievement
- identify how to develop instructional and intercultural school capacity with teachers, students and parents
- understand the impact of collaborative learning communities and networked learning communities to build lateral capacity with other schools and systems and
- enrich an understanding of clear communication, effective problem solving and meaningful meetings to increase focus and attainment of student achievement.Understand effective system-level practices
- develop an understanding of collaborative inquiry for system leaders
- explore the nature and benefits of a system-wide mentoring program for school leaders
- understand the parameters of an effective leadership development program for current and aspiring school leaders
- understand the importance of self-assessment, growth plans and their relationship to school improvement plans
- understand system-level approaches to increase school-level collaboration and collaboration across the system
- understand effective school and leader evaluation practices, principal supervision strategies, and the role of school visits
- understand why leaders can become vulnerable and wounded, how they can learn from such experiences, and how the system can focus on wellness and
- explore strategies to increase the engagement of families and the community.Collectively apply their new knowledge to
• analyze the current system-level practices, by reflecting on the literature and frameworks, and identify potential changes.
Individually reflect on his/her learning
SYSTEM MODULE 4: DATA USE AND PLANNING PRACTICES In this module participants will
Understand effective school and system level practices
- examine characteristics of a collaborative school culture in which teachers share responsibility for student learning and school improvement based on student needs and school/system priorities
- understand terms used in school improvement planning – data, objectives, results, indicators and results-based plans
- distinguish between developing a plan based only on objectives and one based on results
- understand the importance of collecting and analyzing multiple measures of student, school and system data: demographic, intercultural , program and process, student achievement, wellness and perceptual
- understand how to work with teachers using a variety of data to inform decision-making, influence the direction in school improvement planning and lead ongoing monitoring and evaluation of school improvement plan
- explore qualitative and quantitative indicators of success and growth with teachers in terms of student achievement and intercultural competency and
- examine structures to engage teachers in the cyclical review of school data and the school’s improvement plan.
Understand effective system-level practices
- explore how to work with principals using a variety of data to inform decision-making, influence school and system improvement plans
- examine practices of various jurisdictions for the collection of system performance data
- examine and understand key components of system improvement plans
- understand effective practice in developing system plans – consultation, data use, timeframes, budget processes
- apply knowledge of Fidelity of Implementation to the task of developing an implementation rubric
- analyze several system improvements plans using the components of effective districts and
- understand the role of collaborative inquiry in monitoring improvement and plans.Collectively apply their new knowledge to
- analyze the current system-level practices, by reflecting on the literature and frameworks and identify potential changes and
- analyze the current system-level improvement plan, by reflecting on the literature and frameworks, and identify potential changes.Individually reflect on his/her learning
SYSTEM MODULE 5: INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES In this module participants will
Understand effective instructional practices at the school level
- examine conditions to ensure high expectations for all students
- gain strategies for working with teachers to understand the relationship between self-regulation, learning skills and readiness for learning
- explore various learning styles and instructional strategies to meet the individual needs of all, including the Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways (TLCP) as a tool to organize actions for teaching and student learning
- examine teaching strategies to build intercultural competencies and global citizenship in the classroom
- examine the research of Ana Maria Villegas and Tamar Lucas about cultural responsive pedagogy (institutional, personal and instructional) including the mindsets of culturally responsive educators.
- identify the unique needs of learners such as English as a Second Language Learners, English Language Learners and students with special education needs
- understand Response to Intervention (RTI) and differentiated instruction
- explore Marzano’s and Hattie’s research on high-yield instructional strategies
- utilize inquiry-based learning strategies to engage students in higher order thinking and
- deepen understanding of the best teaching practices associated with diagnostic, formative and summative assessment within the framework of Assessment for, as and of Learning.Understand system-level practices to ensure a strong instructional program
• understand how to monitor the quality of teaching through classroom and school walkthroughs and challenging conversations
• establish strong connection between the school improvement plans, the system plans and the budget
• explore resource management principles and practices for the purpose of improving student achievement and understand Katz, Fullan and Hargreaves’ concept of Professional Learning and Development (PLD).
Collectively apply their new knowledge to
• analyze the current system-level practices, reflecting on the literature and frameworks, and identify potential changes.
Individually reflect on his/her learning
SYSTEM MODULE 6: COLLABORATIVE INQUIRY PLAN FOR SYSTEM LEADERS In this module participants will
Develop a collaborative inquiry plan for system leaders in his/her jurisdiction by addressing these questions:
1. What is the collaborative inquiry/problem of practice? 2. What are the learning goals?
3. What is the context?
4. What are your personal learning goals?
5. The application of theory to practice:
- a. How will concepts, theories, and ideas presented in the ISL program influence your actions?
- b. What legislation, policies, and guidelines will influence your actions?
- c. What additional readings have you identified to support your inquiry?
6. What are your specific plans?
7. How will you assess the success of your inquiry?
8. How will you assess your leadership skills in executing the inquiry?