The Great Leaders for Great Schools Academy (GLGSA) is separate and distinct from the existing Tier I traditional administrator credential in CEIS. The goal of the GLGSA is to assist the Pomona Unified School District with moving out of Program Improvement status by preparing 30 practice-ready administrators who can promote powerful teaching and learning. To achieve this goal, there are four objectives (sets of related activities).
Program Goal and Objectives
- Objective 1: All candidates participate in a collaborative, experiential, inquiry-focused, and standards-based curriculum that is anchored in actual problems of practice. In addition, candidates complete a full-time, site-based administrative apprenticeship.
- Objective 2: Candidates also experience a cohort-based learning community, which is both a structure for the delivery of the GLGSA curriculum and a candidate support mechanism. The cohort model is designed to enhance the engagement of candidates in their own learning, to stimulate collective learning, to provide a frame of reference for both their coursework and full-time apprenticeship, and serve as a source of support for addressing the problems of practice that they encounter throughout their GLGSA experience.
- Objective 3: Candidates receive support aimed at enhancing their professional satisfaction and retention in the field through a comprehensive induction mentoring and coaching experience that provides support both during and after the completion of coursework.
- Objective 4: Ffocuses on the development of a urban school leadership development model that will guide enhancements to CPP’s traditional Tier I program and which is intended to serve as a model for other administrator preparation programs in California, and perhaps, in other parts of the country.
- Candidates who successfully complete the program will exhibit a deep and holistic knowledge in the domains of social and cultural influences on teaching and learning processes, organizational processes, and leadership and management processes designed to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students. Graduates of the GLGSA will possess the political, legal, ethical, economic, technological, and financial skills to:
- Foster school improvement activities
- Promote purposeful community engagement with the school
- Leverage fiscal, material, and human resources in pursuit of academic success for all students.
- The GLGSA leadership model is essentially one of transformational leadership. To this end, the program develops the cognitive, meta-cognitive, and behavioral skills of the candidates. Candidates develop mental models in the field of school administration that are based upon empirical research, best practice in the field, and experiential learning. The GLGSA is designed to promote growth in a candidate’s level of self-awareness and in the “intangible” skills needed to create productive relationships between the community and school environment in which change can occur. Candidates will also develop high levels of “emotional intelligence” in five skill domains:
- Being self-aware, knowing yourself, and recognizing your feelings
- Managing emotions and regulating feelings; motivating oneself in the face of persistent frustration and challenges
- Empathizing with others
- Handling relationships by managing emotions in others.
- In addition, candidates will demonstrate enhanced problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, and critical thinking skills (which includes growth in the candidates’ use of reflective inquiry and critical analysis, entrepreneurial thinking, and use of technology). The program prepares them to use multiple types of evidence to inform all aspects of their administrative practice. These are the foundational competencies in the profession of educational leadership upon which more task-specific skills are based (e.g., budget management, personnel management, operations management). In the GLGSA, a candidate’s decisions and leadership behaviors are informed by theory and practice, honed against concrete field experiences.
- Finally, upon program completion, candidates will exhibit growth in the interpersonal skills that are the most important to the effective practice of school leadership (e.g., building trust, active listening, empathy, sensitivity, responsiveness, emotional control, social intelligence) and the managerial skills deemed most important to the operation of schools within the PUSD (e.g., managing data, fiscal and human resource management, operations management). To this end, the GLGSA departs from the traditional “one-size-fits” all approach to leadership development. Instead, it facilitates the acquisition of critical leadership skills through a highly interactive, problem-based, and thematically organized curriculum. The program’s theory of action is that school leadership skills are best developed in context, as a consequence of the direct engagement of candidates in workplace problems and settings, through the development of meta-cognitive ability, through a cohort-based learning community, and through discourse around thematically integrated topics in the field.
- As a result of their GLGSA experiences, graduates develop a strong sense of efficacy as a leader, political acuity, a deep commitment to a theory of leadership grounded in social justice and equity, habits of mind that are inquiry-based and self-reflective, a clear set of values relating to the purposes and functions of public schooling, ethical principles, and the ability to effectively interact within diverse socio-cultural environments.