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International School Leadership Certificate Program

A Globally-Recognized Leadership Certificate for Under $3,000 CAD* - Just $452 CAD per online Module

Important Announcement about the online delivery of the International School Leadership Certificate Program

The online delivery of our signature ISL program is currently under review and redesign. We anticipate the new delivery model to be in place by January 2024. 

In anticipation of significant changes in the model, we are advising past participants of what might be the final opportunity to complete the online certificate program. Further, we will not be accepting new participants until the release of the new delivery model. 

ISL continues to offer the program onsite and online under contract. Please contact international@principals.ca for further information.

Program Description

The International School Leadership Certificate – Level 1 is issued after completion of Modules 1-6.

Module 1: Leadership for School Improvement

  • What is your WHY and how does it connect to student achievement and well-being?
  • How might international research about effective school leadership practices for 21st century classroom teaching and learning be applied in your school setting, post COVID?
  • Are you managing, leading or always doing both? How’s that work?
  • How can a meaningful school-level leadership framework, collectively created to reflect the literature and international frameworks, improve your leadership practices?
More Information

In this module participants will

  • examine attributes of an effective school leader for post-pandemic 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 the leadership research of Ken Leithwood, Michael Fullan, Andy Hargreaves, Lyn Sharratt, Avis Glaze, John Hattie, Simon Breakspear and Karen Edge
  • 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 Centred Leadership research
  • utilize a self-assessment tool for personal reflection on leadership strengths and areas for growth
  • explore Michael Fullan’s research on the three roles of the instructional leader that maximize impact – lead learner, system leader and change agent and
  • explore practices to build intercultural competencies within national and international schools.

Module 2: Characteristics of Effective Schools and Systems

  • How will an understanding of effective schools guide your next steps as a leader?
  • In a post-pandemic period, what are the key elements to address?
  • How is your school performing? What are the strengths? Areas for improvement?
  • What are the high yield areas for improvement?
  • How can you strengthen the ‘system’ to support your school and others?
More Information

In this module participants will

  • review and examine the effective school research from McKinsey & Company, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Washington State University, Larry Lezotte and 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
  • explore key characteristics of the world’s best school systems according to OECD
  • identify characteristics of effective schools that build intercultural competencies and global citizenship skills
  • 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
  • understand characteristics of effective learning organizations based on the research of Peter Senge
  • understand the role of school and system leaders in developing and sustaining effective schools and systems and
  • review key actions of leaders of high performing school and systems that set them apart from others.

Module 3: Building Relationships and Developing People

  • How do you best assess emotional and cultural intelligences in your school setting?
  • What are some valuable ways understanding EQ and CQ is helping high performing schools increase professional capital, collective efficacy, and school capacity?
  • What are the top personal leadership resources available to leaders?
  • Why is authentic leadership so vital to trust building and how can your learning community lean into authentic leadership to improve professional collaboration, classroom instruction, student motivation, and achievement?
  • Is collaboration where it needs to be in order to optimize instructional and intercultural capacity in your learning community? How can you tell?
More Information

In this module participants will

  • explore emotional intelligence (EQ) and cultural intelligence (CQ) and identify strategies that maximize performance when interacting with teachers, students and parents in diverse school communities
  • examine the personal leadership resources that leaders draw upon to enact effective leadership practices in national and international schools
  • understand the importance of building relational trust in building 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 and
  • understand the impact of collaborative learning communities (CLCs) and networked     learning communities (NLCs) to build lateral capacity with other schools and systems.

Module 4: Setting Goals and Expectations Using Data-Informed Decision Making

  • Are you and your team working hard and not yet seeing the improvements desired? How do you?  
  • Are you gathering the right data?  What additional data will you collect?
  • How will a structured process improve your data conversations with others? How do you move from raw data to targeted goals?
  • Are your school goals objectives based or results based? Why does that matter?
  • What is the role of PISA and other large-scale assessments?
  • What are the best strategies for engaging teachers in a review of school data to inform improvement planning and decision making? 
More Information

In this module participants will

  • 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
  • distinguish between developing a plan based only on objectives and one based on results
  • understand the importance of collecting and analyzing student achievement data, demographic data, intercultural competency data, program data, perceptual data and system data, with teachers
  • analyze the role of large scale assessments such as PISA
  • 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.

People, cooperation, teamwork and partnership. International team of coworkers using laptop computer together while working on their common project, developing business strategy and making plans

Module 5: Leading Improvement in Classroom Instruction - Meeting the needs of all learners

  • What’s happening with classroom walkthroughs and challenging conversations to boost teaching quality?
  • How does understanding diverse learning styles and instructional strategies help school professionals meet individual needs and maintain high expectations for all?
  • What is instructional strategy research suggesting for future highly effective schools and how does your school stack up today?
  • Why inquiry-based strategies are working to engage student higher order thinking and build intercultural competence and global citizenship?
  • Why will the application of the professional learning cycle support collaborative inquiry? What is the next step?
More Information

In this module participants will

  • 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
  • examine teaching strategies to build intercultural competencies and global citizenship in the classroom
  • explore Marzano’s Nine Instructional Strategies for Effective Teaching and Learning
  • utilize inquiry-based learning strategies to engage students in higher order thinking
  • identify assessment “for, as and of” learning and how each informs teacher planning and instruction providing descriptive feedback to scaffold student learning and
  • understand how to monitor the quality of teaching through classroom walkthroughs and challenging conversations.

Module 6: Instructional Leadership Project Plan - The application of theory to practice

How can you incorporate all of your new learning into an actionable plan?

“It is not that the research literature is unhelpful but rather it needs to be put into perspective so that individual change leaders can learn to become more effective in practical, meaningful ways. Our intent is to place the leader in the driver’s seat, in charge of their own learning while collaborating with others.” Fullan 2012

More Information

In this module participants will

Develop an Instructional Leadership Project Plan focused on a real instructional issue identified within their school by addressing these questions:

  1. What specifically is the instructional leadership focus of the proposed plan? How do you know this is an issue that needs to be addressed? What information has been analyzed?
  2. What are the goals for the project? How does your practicum align with the school and system improvement plans? How is building the intercultural competencies of others embedded in the plan?
  3. What is the context of your project? (school, staff, community, culture, length of tenure in current role, etc.)
  4. How does the proposed project directly reflect the role of a school head, deputy, principal (head) or vice-principal (deputy)?
  5. What concepts, theories, and ideas presented in earlier ISL modules will influence your actions? What school and system documents or guidelines will influence your actions? What additional readings have you identified to support your program?
  6. How will this project provide opportunities to work with students, teachers, other leaders, parents, and members of the community?
  7. What are your specific plans? (You may use an organizing chart with month, activity and hours.) Your project must reflect between 50 and 60 hours of work.
  8. How will you assess the impact of your project?
  9. How will you assess your leadership skills in executing the project?
  10. Who will serve as your onsite mentor during the project.

The Online Component:

  • The requirements will be reviewed by the instructor.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to post questions and share their thoughts.
  • Participants will submit their final plan according to the deadline established.
  • If English is not your primary language, you will use Google Translate for submissions and discussion posts.
  • The instructor will use Google Translate to post instructions and comments in the language of the participants.
  • The module will take place over a five (5) week period.

Please note: must have completed 3 modules to register for module 6

Master's Dimension

The Master’s Dimension (MD) program is available to those who have completed Certificate 1 (Modules 1 – 6). By completing the MD, our partnering universities will recognize your work and provide prior-learning credits that will reduce tuition costs and completion times for a master’s degree.

For further information about the requirements and registration, please contact inquiries@ischoolleadership.com.

Program Design, Delivery & Pricing


Online 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 intuitive 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 and
  • participating in one synchronous session arranged by the instructor in consultation with participants.

Online delivery is self-directed to provide ease of access to participants.

Are you seriously considering one of our online courses and would like more information about the technical demands? If yes, visit our free online tutorial that will give you an excellent overview of how the courses are structured and what you can expect in terms of technical skills and knowledge.


With onsite delivery, you will get a chance to experience our greatest strength, the quality of our instructors. Beyond having demonstrated the highest levels of leadership, these individuals stand out as exemplary teachers. Onsite delivery is supported by an online learning forum. All module resources are made available online.

Contracted Delivery

Interested in bringing our Certificate Program to your institution, school board or jurisdiction? We can tailor our programming to meet the nature and priorities of your specific jurisdiction. Contact us for more information.

Program Pricing

Onsite modules 1-5 are $450 CAD per module.

Online modules 1-5 are $452 CAD per module. Module 6 is only available online and is $113 CAD per participant.

Contracted delivery prices are available and determined by participant enrolment and specific site costs. Please contact us for pricing.

Why Select Our International School Leadership Certificate Program?

Our certificate program is designed to provide you with a comprehensive set of modules leading to the acquisition of an International School Leadership Certificate. Participants will be able to reflect on their own practice using our online tools focused on self-assessment for teachers and for school leaders.

An internationally highly regarded program for national and international school leaders.

Highly Effective Instructors

Instructors who demonstrate deep commitment to their students, resulting in many life-long relationships.

Internationally Regarded

Participants from over 50 countries who have completed nearly 6000 modules.

Flexible Learning Strategies

Online and onsite delivery formats.

Positive Testimonials

From participants, advocates and collaborators from around the world.

Instructional Strategies

Helps leaders develop high yield strategies, explore current research and work through a student-centered curriculum.

Program Alignment

Leverages partnerships with higher education institutions for advanced standing in Master’s courses and is used as part of a Master’s Degree.

Testimonials of Quality

Outstanding Impact!

The ISL program has made a huge impact on our school system and has created coherence and alignment for all our school and system leaders. We have become better using data and identifying key factors for school improvement and it has helped us laying the foundation for our framework. The learning and commitment has increased for everyone involved and by the power of collective learning we have built capacity within our teams. The program is a good mixture of theory and practise and the instructors were very professional and structured. Everyone agrees that the education was outstanding and that we couldn’t have invested our money in a better way

Who Recognizes Our Certificate Program

A number of universities have certified our program by assessing and verifying the quality of the program in accordance with institutional standards and, thereafter, extending Master degree credits for our program. These universities include:

Our program has been recognized by a number of organizations and institutions around the globe: