Center on System Leadership

The NISL Program: Vision

Overview  |  Vision  |  Pedagogy  |  Curriculum  |  Delivery  |  Coaching  |  University Partners  |  Foundation Support

For over 30 years, NCEE has identified education systems that are performing at the highest levels—based on student achievement, equity and efficiency—and distilled the common elements into NCEE’s framework of a high-performing system. NCEE works with state and district leaders to design a system which:

  1. Provides strong supports for children and their families before students arrive at school;
  2. Provides more resources for at-risk students than for others;
  3. Develops world-class, highly coherent instructional systems;
  4. Creates clear gateways for students through the system, set to global standards, with no dead ends;
  5. Assures an abundant supply of highly qualified teachers;
  6. Redesigns schools to be places in which teachers will be treated as professionals, with incentives and support to continuously improve their professional practice and the performance of their students;
  7. Creates an effective system of career and technical education and training;
  8. Creates a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage such systems effectively; and
  9. Institutes a governance system that has the authority and legitimacy to develop coherent, powerful policies and is capable of implementing them at scale.

Realizing the Vision: Schools

At the heart of high-performing schools, there must be rigorous instructional systems that provide equitable opportunities to all students, support high-quality teaching, and are organized as professional work environments in which educators can grow their careers.

NCEE illustrates these and other elements of successful schools in the NISL Wheel. More than 8,000 school and district leaders in 25 states utilize the NISL Wheel as part of the NISL program.

NCEE Wheel

Realizing the Vision: Leaders

NCEE believes that every student can succeed. This success will come from effective leaders who can build and lead districts and schools designed as systems, with every element benchmarked to the highest levels.
Leaders of these systems must understand what research has indicated is essential to their design, but they also need the leadership skills necessary to lead for results, drive change and build a shared vision that addresses persistent challenges. These are the leadership skills represented by NCEE’s Dimensions of Leadership that leaders need in order to create a high-performing education system:

  1. Strategic Thinker: Great ideas will have impact only by connecting a shared vision to strategic decisions and actions. Leadership teams must have a framework within which to approach decisions in a strategic way.
  2. Advocate for Change: Leadership teams must be able to convince stakeholders that the vision is worth striving for.
  3. Builder of Teams: Districts need an effective cohort of team leaders that have a meaningful voice in the decisions that will be made.
  4. Creator of Learning Culture: Leaders need to build a culture committed to continuous improvement.
  5. Ethical Decision Maker: Moral leadership is indispensable.
  6. Communicator: Leadership teams must effectively communicate with all stakeholders.
  7. Driver of Equitable Results: Leadership teams do what it takes to get results that benefit all.

Questions? Next Steps?

Learn how NCEE can support your district.

Supports for EDP Graduates

NISL Applied Plus

NISL Applied PlusExplore the concepts from the NISL program in greater depth with an emphasis on application. Learn more…

Teaching for Effective Learning

NISL Applied PlusExtend NISL’s approach to learning to the classroom through the direct development of teachers. Learn more…

Supports for Districts

High-Performance DistrictsDrive organizational and operational change at the superintendent level or in district leadership teams. Learn more…

Supports for Partners

Partner SupportsNCEE offers a suite of complimentary supports for past and current participants of our professional learning programs. Learn more…