Research shows that strong school leadership is a key component to high levels of learning for students. Staff Development provides opportunities for our leaders to continue to develop their skills. We continue to expand training opportunities for school leaders. This includes sessions, seminars, and special events running throughout the school year and over the summer. The County’s Leadership Advisory Council, consisting of representative leaders from across the county, provides a continuous vehicle for feedback so that changes and additions to the leadership development program might be provided. Based on their recommendation, sessions for support leaders are differentiated from that of their instructional leader peers for a portion of Leadership Academy.
Sample leadership offerings include:
Administrative Intern Support: A support program for administrative interns began during the 2006-2007 year. Interns were able to create a plan around the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards and met throughout the year as a group with HCPS directors. This support is currently being modified.
Next Generation Leadership Academy: Another leadership opportunity is the Next Generation Leadership Academy (NGLA). Generally, second-year assistant principals and interns participate in this yearlong partnership with the University of Richmond, Hanover, Chesterfield, and Richmond City leaders. Topics around leadership are explored, and an opportunity to interact with HCPS leaders is included as well.
Quarterly Meetings: New in 2008-2009 were HCPS quarterly meetings. Intended to increase communication across K-12, instructional directors, specialists, and principals gathered for a half day each quarter to participate in training around what was then the pilot Professional Growth and Evaluation Process. Based on strong feedback, these will continue during the 2009-2010 school year, with the focus areas being leadership, Response to Intervention (RTI) and a continuation of best practice around the PGE process. It is expected that the target audience takes the information learned in the face-to-face setting and shares it with other instructional leaders so that a shared vision and focus are maintained in HCPS.
Survival School for New Principals: New principals are brought together as a group three times during the summer months, and key topics for a successful school opening are shared in a face-to-face setting with district leaders. Once schools are in session, the county makes an effort to avoid pulling new principals out of their building, and in doing so creates embedded Podcasts with associated social capabilities so that principals have ongoing professional development around the needs of new administrators. Also provided for new principals are in-house mentors (sitting principals at the same level) and coaches (recently retired principals). Coaches receive training to practice Blended Coaching Strategies as they address the needs of principals who are taking on tough school improvement challenges.
Santa Cruz: Principals play a critical role in teacher development. For that reason, HCPS has contracted with The New Teacher Center at Santa Cruz to provide training on the topic of "Improving Student Achievement through Teacher Observation and Feedback." This model teaches participants (principals, assistant principals, and other district leaders) to observe teaching and learning through the backdrop of standards and student achievement.
Teacher Leader Opportunities: Not only are teacher leaders eligible to participate in on-going institutes, but funding and support are provided for those included in the Master’s and Doctoral cohorts, as well as those pursuing their Technology Certificate. Teacher leaders are also eligible for funding and support throughout the National Board Certification process. Many HCPS teacher leaders, with the county’s support, have participated in Clinical Faculty training provided by local universities. New in 08-09 is training for all department chairs and two modules for teacher leaders: communication and team building.