Instructional Leadership for Administrators
The Instructional Leadership Institute is designed to increase the capacity of school leaders to
improve instructional practices. The work focuses on what school leaders need to know and be able
to do in order to provide the guidance and direction of sustained instructional improvement.
The Institute pays particular attention to the vision for and the beliefs about students’ capabilities;
distributed leadership; analysis and use of data to drive improved instructional practice, effective
practices in literacy and mathematics instruction; promoting knowledge through learning communities;
and sustaining improvements through leadership and systems thinking.
The Institute includes five days of classroom activities, supplemented by several hours of independent
reading and online work in preparation for class and time for journaling personal thoughts and reflections.
The application activities, complementing the core knowledge gained in the Institute, include
diagnostic tools, a case study, a close textual reading, small and large group discussions, gap analyses
and assessments, and follow-up actions designed to improve instruction in the classrooms.
Participants will be provided with a National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) handbook on
Instructional Leadership, several texts (including Building Professional Learning Communities by
DuFour), and a CD of relevant materials to prepare for each day of the institute.
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Instructional Coaching for Administrators
The Instructional Coaching course is designed to help principals and school leaders learn to coach
faculty members to embed standards-based education deeply into the systems and practices of their
schools. As part of a state’s or a district’s reform strategy and professional development plan, coaching
on instruction is one of the most effective means of fostering improvements and realizing results.
Participants practice how to coach others in "learning how to learn" through relationships, collaboration,
and commitment, with a focus on increasing the quality and effectiveness of classroom teaching.
Beginning with a research foundation on the principles of teaching, learning, curriculum, and good
instructional practice, the first day of the Institute explores how to become an effective instructional
coach and introduces a five-step process adopted by the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL).
As a result of the course, participants will understand the effects of instructional coaching on teaching
and learning, implement the five steps of instructional coaching in a variety of coaching situations,
practice using effective coaching skills and tools, and generate ideas and action steps for incorporating a coaching
culture in their schools.
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Leadership for Excellence in CCSS Literacy
This course is designed to help principals and school leaders to be effective instructional leaders in
this crucial area of literacy. The aim is not to turn the principal into an expert, but rather to enable
the principal to recognize the key elements of best practice in the field of literacy. The course will
discuss how principals play a major leadership role in ensuring that literacy is highly valued in the entire school community.
As instructional leaders, principals must become more conversant with the essentials of teaching
literacy, learn to recognize best practices including an understanding of their own reading delivery
system, and assess the quality of instruction by engaging in conversations with students and looking at their work.
Also included in this course is instruction to enable the participant to recognize the key features of
effective safety net programs in literacy, so that he or she can exercise leadership, if necessary, in the
development of effective safety nets to ensure that all students are literate, no matter what level of
literacy they had when they entered that principal’s school.
Students will be engaged in learning about the latest research-based literacy approaches for young
children with application to struggling readers in middle and high schools. They will also be engaged
in discussions of several major reading assessments to strengthen their understanding about the range of literacy
expectations of students.
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Leadership for Excellence in CCSS Mathematics
The Excellence in Leadership for CCSS Mathematics Institute is designed to address the issue of improving math outcomes through attention to the focus and quality of math teaching and learning. The leadership team’s role is to assist others to identify characteristic of good math programs as well as effective classroom practice. The role is key in setting up processes within the school for ensuring and sustaining improvement in the quality of math teaching and learning as we transition to CCSS.
The institute is both conceptual and practical in its approaches to math learning. Participants will engage in discussions with the main tenets and elements of the so called “math wars” in which some proponents focus exclusively on the need for “basic skills” while others concentrated on “problem solving”. Basic skills and problem solving approaches are both important: they directly relate to one another; and they find their fulfillment in “conceptual understanding”.
Some key questions we will address in this institute are:
- What is the status of math performance in the U.S. compared to that or other nations? Across states?
- What are the challenges to improving math instruction in the U.S?
- What are the standards that students are expected to know?
- What does effective math instruction look like?
- What process does your staff use to select materials and lessons for math instruction?
- What can instructional leaders do to improve math instruction in their schools?
Participants will be provided with a NISL handbook on mathematics, several readings, and two texts, The Teaching Gap and Focus. There will be some pre-work assigned.
Educational Leadership for Students with Disabilities
This course is designed to prepare principals for a leadership role in mobilizing staff to address the learning needs of
students with disabilities. It will also prepare principals to design and manage continuous professional development systems
for all school staff in support of all students, including students with disabilities.
Participants will be provided with resources for further investigation on each topic. Each principal will also have the
opportunity to meet with program facilitators about specific resources or strategies for their particular situations.
Participants with formal training in NISL will recognize several broader themes, such as: instructional leadership, formative
assessment, standards-based instructional systems, and professional development.
This course will acknowledge the importance and impact of legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; however, this program is not a course on
Special Education law and regulations (resources will be provided to participants for further study).
The course is divided into 5 main topics:
- Designing Assessments for Progress Monitoring
- Developing Sound Instructional Goals
- School-Wide Behavioral Interventions
- Instructional and Assessment Accommodations
- Organizing the School to Support and Sustain High-Quality Learning Experience for Students with Disabilities
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