Project Lead Strong

PROGRAM GOAL

The goal of Project Lead Strong is to “build a bench” of highly-effective secondary principals and assistant principals who are prepared to turn around the most challenging, chronically low-performing senior high schools and to attract, empower, and lead high-performing teachers in order to improve student outcomes.

 Certainly a leader needs a clear vision of the organization and where it is going, but a vision is of little value unless it is shared in a way so as to generate enthusiasm and commitment. Leadership and communication are inseparable.
Claude Taylor

 INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE

Public demand for effective schools has focused attention on the essential role of school leaders. Evidence suggests that, second only to the influence of classroom instruction, school leadership powerfully impacts student achievement. A growing consensus on the characteristics of effective school leaders indicates that successful school leaders influence student achievement through both their support and development of effective teachers and the implementation of masterful organizational processes. The increasing demand for school principals to demonstrate strong instructional leadership and to build a school culture that is data-driven, with high expectations for all learners, requires preparation in a range of competencies and skills that bridge the theoretical and the practical.

 Project Lead Strong builds on the District’s history in preparing principal and assistant principal candidates for high-need secondary schools. In reviewing prior District interventions and current research, it is clear that a different, more intensively supportive, model is needed to prepare administrators to succeed in these high-need urban senior high schools that have a history of chronic low achievement. Even experienced principals with a history of success in other school venues can encounter difficulty. This points to a need to provide a hands-on, on-site residency experience and a structured support system, including mentoring and coaching, in order to build a bench of principals and assistant principals who are ready, willing, and, most importantly, able to  succeed in turning around these chronically failing schools. Recent research on principal leadership and student learning commissioned by the Wallace Foundation highlights the need to provide principals with authentic, site-based (or “real-world”) experiences and opportunities to develop practical problem-solving skills. The authors assert that an important part of the learning required for such leaders to further develop their practical problem-solving expertise is usefully conceptualized as “situated.” Essentially, the learning takes place most effectively within the same context in which it is applied. Project Lead Strong will provide a high-quality, researched-based leadership development program that prepares and supports high performing principals and assistant principals to meet the challenges of school improvement in high-need secondary schools. 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.

 Leaders instill in people a hope for success and a belief in

    Themselves; Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.

-Author Unknown