Over a decade ago, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell sought a systemic solution to the state-wide challenge to improve student achievement. Rendell and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Frances Barnes wanted to improve both teacher effectiveness and the skills and knowledge of school leaders. The governor and education secretary directed staff to mine research on school leadership effectiveness to find solutions to the seemingly intractable challenge of raising student achievement. That research led directly to NCEE’s NISL program.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education partnered with NCEE to create the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) Initiative, which is built on the NISL program. Two rigorous, independent studies show that the NISL program, first implemented in Pennsylvania in 2005, is producing significant gains in student achievement.
Stimulated by this success, Pennsylvania changed its school leadership regulations in 2007 to require that all novice principals and assistant principals complete the NISL-backed PIL program within five years of taking the helm of a school. Principals who successfully complete the PIL program are awarded permanent administrative certification. With NISL, Pennsylvania found a systemic approach to developing standards-based leadership competencies that produce positive student results.
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“My university program was based on hypothetical situations. My participation in NISL provided me with a venue to share live accounts with other principals.”
“… [T]he results … represent highly promising evidence that the NISL Executive Development Program for school leaders may result in statistically significant, substantial, and sustained improvements in student performance in reading and mathematics, particularly in the challenging context of secondary schools. This is particularly noteworthy given that the program is highly cost-effective.”