The NISL program empowers leaders to succeed through a thoughtfully designed, cohesive curriculum consisting of 12 two-day units delivered over 12 to 15 months:
A Curriculum That Addresses the Many Roles of Today’s School Leaders
Across the country, teacher evaluations are gaining prominence. Principals often play the lead role in conducting portions of these evaluations. To play this role effectively, principals must understand what good instruction looks like. For instruction to improve, they need to be able to coach and mentor teachers to elevate their practice. NISL provides the content-area focus necessary to identify good instruction, and an instructional coaching model and experience using it, for principals to effectively leverage their insights to improve instruction and strengthen their relationship with teachers.
A school that mechanically focuses on meeting mandated targets is unlikely to meet them. School leaders must understand the stakes involved in students’ learning, believe that all students can succeed, and understand the importance of treating staff and students fairly and with respect. And they must be able to spread these beliefs among staff, students, parents and the community to achieve sustained success. NISL participants discover why high expectations and the courage to take action are the foundation of a just, fair and caring culture in which all students believe they can succeed. They learn how to widen the circle of support for students by cultivating community involvement and integrating community resources effectively into their school.
There is an unprecedented amount of data available in schools today and unprecedented pressure to ensure that this data points to ever-increasing student achievement. Principals need to have a deep understanding not only of summative assessments, but also classroom observations and formative assessments. They must know how to use data to group students, to set and measure goals, and to inform changes in instruction. They also must be able to organize teams and set the parameters for how data will be leveraged in their school. The NISL program provides the guidance and practice to help a school leader become a “Data Master.”
Driving change in a school first requires a deep understanding of why change is necessary—and what kinds of changes will make a real impact. Beginning in the very first unit, and throughout the curriculum, participants develop this understanding and come away with an unwavering commitment to drive change. They also learn what they need to know and be able to do as a change agent to provide the guidance and direction to their school community, moving steadily from small wins to substantial gains. They learn how to identify and enlist the aid of friends, identify root problems and causes, gather intelligence, and formulate sound action plans for sustained instructional improvement.
Like never before, school leaders are responsible for student learning in their schools. Districts know they need principals who are strong instructional leaders, but rarely do all of school leaders have knowledge and skills necessary to improve instruction in a systemic way. NISL provides this foundation with research, discussions, applied learning and tools that provide a comprehensive understanding in everything from standards-based instruction to leveraging data and assessment, from best practices in the content areas to coaching towards improved instruction.
In military and business education, it’s well known that leaders must be able to think and act strategically, setting goals, managing resources, charting a course and overcoming obstacles. NISL provides frameworks for strategic thinking and decision making along with research and interactive exercises to strengthen participants’ ability to lead their schools strategically.
Participants in the NISL program come to understand the power of teams to accomplish school goals. They develop the capacity to promote professional learning, build collaborative teams and distribute leadership within their building, and they lead the entire school faculty in setting high expectations for students.
Whether it’s posted on a website or hanging in a hall, almost all school leaders can point to their school “vision.” But is the vision achievable, worthwhile and measureable, and one that will inspire staff to new heights? NISL helps leaders understand their role in creating an ongoing vision, what makes a vision strong and how to lead their staff, students and community towards that vision.