- Planning &
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Principles for Principals: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
The importance of school leadership has never been greater. But with numerous mandates, moves toward site-based management, and a rapidly changing education landscape, the role of principal has never been harder. The skills they need today are not taught in graduate programs—they are learned in the hallways, classrooms, offices, and conference rooms of our schools.
In collaboration with Dr. Sue Szachowicz—the renowned principal of Brockton High School—the International Center has designed a continuum of practical support for principals and aspiring principals based upon what Dr. Szachowicz calls her "lessons learned the hard way."
We partner with schools to build a system of support that typically consists of:
In-Person Professional Learning
Five days of hands-on professional learning structured as an intensive institute or as a continuum spread out over the course of the school year. Themes include:
- Establishing a Vision
- Leading Change
- Developing and Implementing Rigorous and Relevant Instruction
- Integrating Literacy and Math Practice Areas
- Facilitating Data-Driven Decision Making
- Leading Professional Dialogue
- Teacher Selection, Support, and Evaluation
Onsite School Walkthrough
This half-day visit provides opportunities to meet with a variety of administrators, faculty, and students to learn about the characteristics and practices of the school.
Job-Embedded Leadership Coaching
Monthly one-on-one sessions with a senior leadership coach to build upon the skills and knowledge learned in the face-to-face professional learning, address findings of the school walkthrough, and identify priorities.
Ongoing Progress Monitoring
We will create a dashboard of success indicators for the district that will show progress in adopting the principles recommended as part of the initiative.
Book Study: Transforming Brockton High School: High Standards, High Expectations, No Excuses by Susan Szachowicz
Each participant receives a copy of this personal narrative which details Brockton High School’s remarkable turnaround. Dr. Szachowicz shares her own experience, giving educators an insider’s perspective on leading improvement initiatives. The coach will lead the group through discussion of key concepts in the book as well as how to apply them in school.
This intensive four day event brings together like-minded educators from across the country—teachers and leaders who are focused on raising the bar on instruction, revolutionizing school leadership, engaging students like never before, and looking around the corner at education innovations we cannot even imagine yet. Attendees will hear from school leaders that are ahead of the curve in implementing positive change—they will share their triumphs, their learnings, and their mistakes so every attendee walks away with concrete ways to adopt similar changes in their own school or district.
This system of support is driven by Dr. Szachowicz's "lessons learned the hard way"
- Change happens in a school, not at central office
- It takes a team to implement change
- Focus on literacy—and start with writing
- It's all about instruction
- Leave nothing to chance—implement with a plan
- What gets monitored gets done
- Deal with resisters head-on
- Celebrate and publicize success
- Leadership matters
Leaders who take part in this series will walk away with practical strategies for:
- Empowering a team
- Achieving focus
- Leaving nothing to chance—starting with a plan and implementing with fidelity
- Monitoring fiercely and adjusting course when necessary