For more than a decade, Philadelphia has been experiencing a city-wide renaissance. To sustain and accelerate this progress, city schools must offer and deliver compelling educational opportunities to all students. School leaders are best poised to make this happen.
Research shows that effective school leadership is critical to improving student outcomes. The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders invests in Philadelphia’s education leadership with a conviction that this investment will return dividends for the more than 225,000 school children that live here.
“To date we have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership.”
Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning
Seashore Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, and Anderson
To pursue this goal, the Neubauer Family Foundation partnered with the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute (UEI) in fall 2014, to design a results-driven development program for school leaders. Key educators from Philadelphia’s charter, parochial, and traditional public schools contributed significantly to the design work through focus groups and a think tank. They identified school leaders’ desire to integrate theory and practice, to gain formal and informal networking opportunities with peers who lead schools of all types, and to receive coaching and support from local experts as essential elements of the program.
At the conclusion of the design phase, a Steering Committee was convened, comprised of senior leadership from the School District of Philadelphia, several charter organizations, and Archdiocesan schools to support the launch of School Leaders. This committee helped shape the vision for School Leaders, recommend the content of our inaugural program, and identify our executive director, Tim Matheney.
The first initiative of the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders – the Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership – was launched in summer 2015. School Leaders seeks to serve as a leadership development hub for leaders throughout their careers. With insight and data garnered from our initial principal leadership development programs, School Leaders intends to offer future development opportunities to educators in a variety of career stages, from teacher-leaders to assistant principals and principals to district and system leaders.