Schools flourish when they become purposeful, focused, true collaborative learning communities filled with academic optimism. In fact, recent research has confirmed emphatically that school communities perform at the highest levels when they possess purpose/vision, academic press, relational trust and collective efficacy.
ACSA’s Thriving Leadership program gives educational leaders the skills they need to build leadership capacity and make such dynamic transformations toward 21st Century schools.
Having evolved from Transformational Leadership, Thriving Leadership is about refocusing on a very real belief that by concentrating on hope, aspirations and data-driven opportunities, schools can flourish.
“By capitalizing on our strengths and by focusing on growth instead of deficits, we can and will thrive in meeting the challenges posed by the new Common Core State Standards, Smarter Balanced assessments, and 21st century learning needs,” said program coordinator Michael Bossi, ACSA’s leadership coaching director.
Thriving Leadership is a two-year program, providing four sessions a year. Sessions are spaced six to eight weeks apart to give participants time to conceptualize, adapt and implement content appropriate to their school.
Thriving Leadership is about building leadership capacity through research-based content, but is also about “doing.” Time for small and large group sharing and processing is built into each session, as is time for one’s own reflection and planning. Year Two content is built upon the foundations laid in the first year, with participants focused upon a bold “Experiment in Transition” supported by a network support group.
Year One session content includes academic optimism; trust, meaningful vision and supervision; deepening that vision and supervision; and deepening supervision, fostering resilience and designing an experiment in transition.
Year Two session content focuses on academic press – consistently high-quality instructional program and smart coaching; leading change; deepening the work in academic press, building and maintaining formative and summative systems and the smart facilitator; and the drive to flourish.
Participants who complete their experiment, whether focused upon a significant transformation in school culture or instructional practice, are awarded a framed ACSA Advanced Leadership Certificate.
The program includes strong research-based and multiple resources to share with members of the school community; regular opportunities for planning, reflection and building a local network of support; individualized action plans in Year One, and personal/site imbedded “Experiment in Transition” in Year Two; binder with participant materials and resource addendum for each session; website access with Thriving Leadership resources in electronic format for downloading and use at the school site.
Thriving Leadership is helpful to both new and experienced principals at all levels. Past participants have indicated the program allows them to take a close look at their leadership style while providing practical, positive strategies to improve teaching and student learning.
“This is real, personal and professional learning. I can take it all in, process it with others, and experiment with those practices that really make sense for me and for my site,” said one participant of the program, an elementary school principal from Los Angeles USD. “The multi-media resources were outstanding. As a new principal I was in survival mode, and having the experience of a seasoned administrator provide the links and strategies to use them for professional development was outstanding!!”
“I am more aware of my role and responsibilities as an instructional leader. I have articles, tools, protocols and experiences that will help me. I have expanded my professional network and met some incredible people. I have become more aware of my leadership style and have made changes so I can be better at what I do. I am better at listening and giving feedback. I am also much more knowledgeable about current research and best practices,” said an experienced Los Angeles principal.
“This has made me a far better supervisor/coach/professional developer from my position as site leader. I have the skills to conduct non-evaluative conversations about instructional practice now,” said a middle school principal from Mojave USD.
Thriving Leadership will be held at ACSA’s Sacramento office Oct. 19-Dec. 12 and Feb. 21-April 24, 2013. It will also be held at ACSA’s Ontario office Oct. 26-Dec. 13 and Feb. 28-April 26, 2013. For more information or to register, visit www.acsa.org/thrivingleadership or contact Michael Bossi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 608-ACSA or (916) 329-3842.