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Case Studies

What Matters Most in the Design of Universal Professional Learning for School Leaders

International School Leadership Certificate Program (ISLCP)

International School Leadership Certificate Program (ISLCP)

The International School Leadership Certificate Program (ISLCP) produces profound, lasting improvements in the performance of school leaders, according to an investigation undertaken in three different regions of the globe. Results from case studies in Australia, Scandinavia, and the Caribbean show that the program’s universal principles provide tremendous value in a wide range of geographic and cultural settings.

Given their demanding jobs and limited availability, participants appreciated the flexibility of ISLCP’s blend of online, on-site, and hybrid delivery. Findings also showed the certificate structure created a comprehensive, thoughtful learning experience where many other programs had simply consisted of isolated, unrelated elements.

Tools such as frameworks, articles, and process models that require little or no modification also provided value. As one participant noted, “It was something I could come back and use straight away,” especially given the program’s focus on practical strategies leaders could replicate in their own schools. The ISLCP’s inclusion of local resources made such tools even more useful.

Participants also emphasized the importance of an experienced, excellent instructor who can provide real-life examples, focused feedback, and an infectious passion for personal and professional improvement. The program activated them to be “lead learners” and foster a learning organization, to build relationships with and confidence in their staff, to harness data for understanding and improvement, and to continue to reflect on who they are and what they do as school leaders.

The study’s authors, Dr. Matt Byrne and ISL’s Dr. Andy Scott, concluded that effective design and execution of a program such as the ISLCP has the power to enhance school leaders’ performance across a variety of contexts, and, as a result, to boost student learning and achievement.


View Book: School Leadership That Works Ideas from Around the World

View Chapter: What Matters Most in the Design of Universal Professional Learning for School Leaders: An International Perspective