Like many large, urban school districts, Philadelphia has developed its own effort to prepare new principals for local schools. The Academy for Leadership in Philadelphia Schools (ALPS) is designed to support aspiring principals through three major components: academics, residency, and assessment. The academics portion includes 40 days of seminars and interactive learning in a formal classroom setting; typically seminars are lead by outside experts. The residency component is a year-long, school-based residency that includes four leadership projects and authentic leadership responsibilities in the school. The residents are supported by colleagues, an experienced residency host principal, and a coach. The assessment component includes multiple opportunities for thoughtful self-assessment and learning: maintaining reflective journal logs and memos and a professional development plan which will encompass individual learning needs with specific measurable goals, action steps, and evidence to support the goals. In addition, a performance assessment portfolio is developed over the course of the year.
Funded by the School District of Philadelphia through a grant from the Broad Foundation, an evaluation of the ALPS program by UEC is now in its second year. This mixed methods study, which includes both formative and summative feedback, examines the design and implementation of the program as well as program impacts on knowledge and skills development of participating principals, and school improvement. Click here to read the 2010 UEC Brief reviewing the ALPS program entitled
Grow Your Own School Leaders: A Case Study of Principal Development in Philadelphia Schools.
The Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Initiative (PA ILI) is a state-sponsored, cohort-based leadership development and support program for school leaders. Delivered through a regional collaboration of intermediate units and other partners, PA ILI supports mentoring and a train-the-trainer component designed to create education leaders at all levels to improve student achievement across the state. It consists of two major program components. The GROW program is an adaptation of the National Institute for School Leadership curriculum created by the National Center for Education and the Economy and is designed to help principals with one to three years of experience in their new role. The SUPPORT program, designed for more experienced school leaders, is a state-adapted version of the Total Leaders curriculum developed by and delivered through the Pennsylvania Leadership Development Center. Both are delivered through regular, expert-facilitated convenings/workshops in the region.
The UEC evaluation of PA ILI is in the first of three years and is examining the relationship between the leadership development program and participant and school outcomes.
In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a team of faculty from Temple University College of Education’s education administration program and the Temple University Fox School of Business, local principals and superintendents (including Temple alumni), UEC staff, and other local partners are working together to redesign the college’s current principal preparation program to reflect the state of the art in leadership development efforts, including content and instructional approaches from the business world and alternative principal preparation programs (e.g., National Institute for School Leadership, Academy for Leadership in Philadelphia Schools, New Leaders for New Schools); increased use of the case-study method; earlier and more strategic clinical experiences; and better integration of research and practice. The redesign will focus particularly on preparing new principals for the rigors of urban school leadership and is expected to be complete by fall 2008.
Across industries, over half of existing CEOs will be eligible for retirement by 2010. Similarly, schools and school systems are facing a critical demand for leaders. For example, more than half of Philadelphia’s high school principals are over 55 years old, and the majority of the Office of Specialized Services area leaders are expected to retire in the next one to three years. The current situation suggests that while various organizations have confronted significant challenges and many have undergone considerable organizational transformations in the last several years, most have neither effectively predicted nor prepared for their changing leadership needs. Others have found considerable success by simultaneously undergoing succession planning and leadership development, by building bench strength. The UEC, in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia, is implementing the Building A Bench: Special Education Leadership Academy.
This professional development program targets individuals who are already serving in the specific positions or are high-potential employees who are likely to advance into such key positions. In both cases, program participants would already satisfy or, separate from this program, be in the process of fulfilling requisite certification and/or degree requirements for the specific district position. Thus, and at least in the initial year of implementation, the partnership represents a program of mid-career leadership development (professional development) rather than a credit-granting program.
The Academy is a collaborative effort of the various departments (curriculum and instruction, education leadership, psychological studies) and programs (e.g., education administration, adult organizational development and conflict resolution) within the College of Education and across Temple University’s various colleges (e.g., Fox School of Business) and departments, customized to the local needs of the district and the field.