Instructional Leadership in Educational Administration Development (iLEAD)
The core, “mission-critical” target of the Instructional Leadership in Educational Administration Development (iLEAD) initiative is to build a “bench” of highly effective principals and assistant principals who are prepared to turn around the most challenging, chronically-low-performing School Improvement Grant (SIG ) secondary schools and to attract, empower, motivate, and lead high-performing teachers in order to improve student outcomes.
Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there
John P. Kotter
INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE
Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s fourth largest school system, is challenged with providing high-quality, effective leadership for over 400 school sites from primary schools to adult education centers. Preparing school leaders who can effect immediate and significant change and turnaround these struggling schools requires a different, strategically-focused preparation model centered on a powerful vision that places instructional leadership at the heart of the principalship.
Historically, M-DCPS has provided post-certification in-service preparation programs for potential assistant principals and principals that meet or exceed State of Florida requirements. Throughout the iterative development and implementation of these programs, the critical review of researched best practices and feedback from the field have identified the following needs for improvement: more extensive residency experiences, more mentoring and coaching support, more training and support for mentors and coaches, greater emphasis on the role of principal as an instructional leader, and the need to implement a structured and sustained induction program for first-year principals coupled with a gradual release model of support throughout the second year. These core reforms have been integrated into the comprehensive Instructional Leadership in Educational Administration Development (iLEAD) initiative. iLEAD integrates a combination of district and grant resources to: provide highly-focused professional development for aspiring school principals based on an evaluation of each leader's individual needs, increase the mentoring support for principal training participants, and add systematic coaching and induction support for first-year (interim) principals. Recent research shows that turnaround leaders must have the courage to bend the rules (and the wisdom to know when they should) (SREB)i. The job-relevant, site-based residency experiences under the guidance of an experienced, high-performing mentor that are at the heart of the iLEAD model are designed specifically to foster this type of strategic judgment and decision-making. Also, the program is aligned with current research that affirms the link between improved student achievement and the important role school administrators play as instructional leaders. Furthermore, the program components are aligned with the Florida Principal Leadership Standards.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
John C. Maxwell