Academy ScheduleThe National Principals' Leadership Academy was a one-year program. Participants conducted guided school-based activities in preparation, attended a two-week intensive program, networked with faculty and other participants during the year, and attended a five-day culminating program in March.
Learning Methods At The AcademyThe Academy's program consisted of:
Academy Program HighlightsActivities and discussion were designed to extend participant thinking about leadership and change while illustrating techniques that could be used by principals with their faculties and staffs, including exercises enabling principals to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in leading change and providing a non-threatening way to work with school staffs. Also problem solving exercises provided techniques for creative thinking that could give additional power and team-building capacity to school-based planning efforts
Academy participants and faculty spent the day at the University of Delaware's personal challenge course, experiencing unique outdoor adventure learning events. Personal risk taking created trust and new sources of support among team members, and the emotional and psychic effects of the day bonded individuals in powerful and significant ways. An experience of fun, excitement, and mutual support.
A day-long program was led by Roland Barth. Small group discussion was featured, and the format was based on the implications Barth's book, Improving Schools From Within, had on the schools represented at the Academy. Participants were expected to have read the text beforehand. An overview of needs assessment techniques, tools for collecting data, and insights on teacher appraisals was included.
Presentations were given by participants in small groups with discussions that developed insight from the above about the principals' current or recent experiences with leading change. Principals were challenged to think about a personal leadership philosophy.
Hands-on sessions at University computer labs considered technology's impact on school administration.
Frameworks were discussed of ways to view organizations and the change process that could be helpful in interpreting and planning for change in participants' schools, considering organizational structure, change actions, and the change process. Also, franeworks as the theories apply to school situations were included.
The Academy affirmed two dimensions of vision: (1) a picture of what the school should look like; and (2) a "game plan" for getting there. Each plan evolved from the participant's own sense of needs, school context and vision for the school. Individuals worked on their plans for change and prepared to present them to their peers with opportunities for discussion and suggestions for further development.
Special interest groups on assessing individual achievement and organizational performancewere discussed.
With its headquarters located only blocks from the University campus, the International Reading Association presented looks at curricular issues in reading and the resources available.
Workshop sessions on various areas of interest were determined by participants. Subjects could include themes from presentations and additional experiences with creative thinking, problem-solving, and best practices. In grade level groups, each Academy member will deliver a five-minute prepared statement on his/her leadership philosophy. Participants were to imagine they are interviewing for their own leadership position and the Search Committee had asked them to start off by stating their philosophy of leadership in five minutes or less.
Social events were also scheduled during the two weeks on campus, including a University of Delaware Orientation Tour, group trip to Longwood Gardens, weekend activities, picnics, and others.