Want to improve your leadership development? Use simulations!

American schools are facing a crisis in the lack of professional learning for school leaders.

These leaders are required to be licensed, which usually entails a two-year program at a university or college. However, once they actually begin their careers, most of them will tell you that any further professional learning comes on the job. This vacuum of professional learning among principals and superintendents means many have to stub their toes by learning from mistakes, leading sometimes to grave consequences and almost certainly to less-than-optimal outcomes.

In my research, I’ve worked extensively with simulations that help our school leaders continue their professional growth well past their licensing requirements. Effective simulations present relevant scenarios that offer leaders the opportunity to listen and learn from their peers and to gain experience without risk.…Read More

What I learned about leadership development in 2018

At Colonial (DE) School District, we’ve been focused on retaining teachers through various leadership development and empowerment programs for a few years. As the programs have matured, we’ve learned plenty about empowering our best educators this year. In addition to our existing leadership development programs, we’ve also launched a non-evaluative teacher observation and mentorship program. As is to be expected with a new initiative, there’s been no end of lessons learned as we began putting the program into place. Here are four of them.

1. Attack big challenges from multiple angles.
In 2017, our district submitted a successful i3 grant application. As a result of that work, we’ve learned that we need to drill down on particular aspects of recruitment and retention.

To that end, in consultation with Insight Education Group, we’ve pulled together multiple teams to work on different elements of the grant in various areas of leadership. We have a team focused on our teacher leadership and aspiring leaders through the Supporting Teacher Effectiveness Project (STEP). We have a group that developed a strategic recruitment plan, something that we hadn’t done in the past.…Read More