International School System Leadership Certificate Program Overview

System-Level Leadership

60 Hours of Exemplary Learning for all Leaders of Educational Systems – Directors, Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Program Leaders, Elected Officials and Ministry Personnel

The content of the system-level leadership program is founded on research that points to a clear and powerful connection between effective school-level and system-level leadership practices. Our programming consequently aligns in focus and structure, and while elements overlap in selected content, they bring a particular and unique perspective to the learning process.

Understanding what effective schools and school-level leadership looks like is the crucial foundation for delivering effective system-level support and thinking in a truly “system” mindset

“Think ‘system’ and not ‘individual school’ if the goal is to fundamentally change the culture of schools.” Dr. Michael Fullan, O.C

International School System Leadership Certificate Program Overview PDF

Module 1: Leadership for System Improvement

  • understand effective school-level leadership
  • examine practices of an effective school leader in 21st century teaching and learning, using current international school leadership frameworks and research
  • understand the system-level leadership required to support your schools
  • explore the roles in terms of processes, providing and aligning resources, developing leadership capacity and ensuring productive relationships
  • collectively apply new knowledge to develop a draft system-level leadership framework by reflecting on the discussed literature and shared frameworks

Module 2: Effective School Systems

  • understand key characteristics of effective schools and the current supporting research
  • review frameworks for the analysis and support of schools
  • understand characteristics of effective systems and practices that support 21st century teaching and learning in schools
  • consider the potential impact of PISA results and probe levers for change
  • collectively apply new knowledge to develop a draft system effectiveness framework

Module 3: Capacity Building Practices

  • understand effective practices at the school and system level
  • explore in-depth the concepts of emotional and cultural intelligence
  • understand the importance of building relational trust, a collaborative culture and collective efficacy
  • probe how to improve challenging conversations
  • explore collaborative inquiry, mentoring programs, system development plans, school and principal supervision, school visits and strategies to increase system-level collaboration
  • collectively apply this new knowledge to an analysis of current system-level practices

Module 4: Data Use and Planning Practices

  • understand what makes effective school-level practices
  • discuss characteristics of collaborative school cultures
  • understand the importance of collecting and analyzing a wide variety of student achievement data
  • explore how to effectively plan, monitor and evaluate school improvement
  • understand valuable system-level practices — explore how to work with principals using a variety of data to inform decision-making, examine data collection systems, components of and processes for creating system plans, implementation rubrics and the role of collaborative inquiry
  • collectively apply this additional new knowledge to analysis of the current system-level practices.

Module 5: Instructional Practices

  • understand conditions for learning, universal design for learning, tiered interventions, differentiated instruction, assessment and high-yield strategies
  • identify the role of professional learning, collaborative inquiry and the value of learning walks
  • discuss system-level practices to ensure a strong instructional program
  • explore how to monitor the quality of teaching through classroom and school walkthroughs, including challenging conversations and probing the strong connection between school improvement plans, system plans and budget
  • distinguish between professional development and learning
  • collectively apply their new knowledge to analysis of the current system-level practices.

Module 6: Collaborative Inquiry Plan for System Leaders

  • develop a collaborative inquiry plan for system leaders in your jurisdiction by addressing a series of unique questions
  • actively apply the new knowledge acquired during the program to your plan


Program Delivery and Pricing

We offer you the flexibility to choose between onsite or online delivery!

Aside from our customized learning, our greatest strength is the quality of our instructors. Beyond having demonstrated the highest levels of leadership, these individuals stand out as exemplary teachers. Another critical element in our unique program delivery is the contextualizing of content. Our programming is tailored to understand the nature of and priorities for your specific jurisdiction.

Onsite Program Delivery

All modules are highly interactive and use a broad range of strategies, therefore, registration is limited to a maximum of 35 per group. Each module also requires the online submission of a personal reflection following each learning experience.

Onsite delivery is supported by an online learning forum

  • learning resources
  • stop/start/continue quiz for day one
  • reflection submission
  • program evaluation

Onsite delivery timing

  • 3-day session for Modules 1 and 2
  • 3-day session for Modules 4 and 5
  • 2-day session for Modules 3 and

Online Program Deliver

Modules are delivered over a 5-week period and require 2-3 hours per week of active online participation. The required technical skills are minimal, given the state-of-the-art learning management system.

Online delivery allows participants to progress through the module as a cohort

  • interacting with fellow participants and the instructor online
  • committing to regular online contributions
  • participating in two web-conferences arranged by the instructor

Online delivery timing allows participants the flexibility to determine the time and days of active participation.


International School Leadership issues individual Certificates of Completion for each module and the International School System Leadership Certificate after meeting program requirements.

Program Pricing

  • Online modules 1-5 are $452 CAD per module; $113 CAD for Module 6
  • Onsite modules 1-5 are $400 CAD per module plus site costs. A minimum of 15 registrants is required

Contracted delivery prices are available and determined by participant enrollment and specific site costs.

Are you interested in partnering?

Contracted Delivery involves jurisdictions, organizations and schools entering into a specific contract for program delivery.

Co-sponsoring Delivery is a joint effort between ISL and a jurisdiction, organization or school. Each assumes certain responsibilities, with the local co-sponsor assisting in local promotions and facilitation of the program, without assuming financial risk.

Licensing Fee is a contractual arrangement whereby ISL provides the rights of usage regarding specific program materials for unaccompanied program delivery.

Partnership is a contractual arrangement for program delivery that involves the co-appointment and training of identified instructors, the provision of an online platform, the review and modification of the program and the issuance of jointly-branded certificates.

 Testimonials  – recently rated at 4.8 out of 5

“I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this training, on a personal level, but more importantly for the organization. It will help us improve education for all of the students we serve.”

“This is a very interesting process for professional growth!”

“I have rated the modules as excellent because the quality was very good and connected very well to the work ongoing in [our system].”

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