Despite the importance of the principalship and the demands that are placed on principals today, relatively few principals receive ongoing professional development that enhances their ability to lead schools to high performance. The Principals Academy fills that gap by bringing to Minnesota the research-based program of the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL), an initiative of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy. The NISL executive development program was developed over six years with major support from national foundations and is being used to provide leadership development for school principals in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and many other states.
Using the NISL program, the Minnesota Principals Academy enables cohorts of practicing principals to put leadership best practices from education, business, military and other fields to work on behalf of their students and schools. Delivered in two and three-day segments over the course of one year, the curriculum combines face-to-face instruction in workshops, seminars and study groups with interactive Web-based learning. Nine cohorts completed the program under the leadership of the College Readiness Consortium.
As of 2013 the Principals Academy has a new home in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD) in the College of Education and Human Development. OLPD will enhance the Academy by adding content created and led by University of Minnesota faculty:
- One new day on Instructional Practices for Special Education and ELL
- One new day on Teacher Evaluation
- Two new days on Community Engagement, presented in partnership with the U of M’s Center for Integrative Leadership
- Guest lecturers from the College of Education and Human Development
An additional new benefit is that school leaders who successfully complete the Academy and subsequently are admitted to and enroll in an OLPD doctoral program at the University of Minnesota will have 12 elective academic credits waived.