When I learned that Pearson was in the process of working with the highly regarded New Leaders organization on a principal development program, I wanted to learn more. I called Lee Peters, the marketing lead for Pearson‘s School Achievement Services business, who outlined some of the professional learning available through Pearson’s growing portfolio of teacher and leader effectiveness offerings.
Peters said leadership development has started to emerge as an area of high demand based on the adoption of Common Core State Standards, Race to the Top grants to states and districts, and ESEA Waiver requirements. “More consistent and high quality skills for principals are a leadership development priority for districts,” said Peters, “and time, money, and the ubiquity of technology make quality online and or blended professional learning opportunities for principals both necessary and possible.”
Beyond a current content library of over 3000 videos aimed at providing quick and relevant teacher professional learning and in-practice exemplars, Pearson offers unique content specifically created to help school leaders. Pearson’s recent partnership with New Leaders has yielded a co-developed product branded LeaderSet™, which offers principal focused courses as part of a dynamic school leadership evaluation and development system.
This Pearson/New Leaders venture is based on the 10+ years of principal effectiveness field-based research by New Leaders. Along with principal evaluation training and certification component for superintendents and principal managers, LeaderSet will provide 5 semester-length courses each offering 18-20 hours of content plus activities and resources, all aimed at acting principals. All courses include case studies and video of principals talking about the work. There are also online modules for principals that capture the essence of what principal managers are looking for in evaluations.
LeaderSet also includes all of the multi-media (video and text) case studies of leaders from high-gaining, high-poverty schools that New Leaders created through its Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC) over the last six years.
New Leaders Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Ben Fenton said, “We are excited to be partnering with Pearson on LeaderSet. This offering allows us to build on our many years of work with states and districts across the country to improve their principal evaluation and development systems. It also enables New Leaders’ expertise to reach many more principals and school systems.”
Jeff Ikler, senior program manager on the LeaderSet project commented, “It’s an honor to work with New Leaders. They bring an authenticity to principal focused development that is unmatched in the industry. When we recommend principal strategies in our courses, we know they are backed by extensive field research that points to strong evidence of success.”
“There are other school leadership development libraries out there,” said Peters, “but they aren’t as well integrated into systems that include observation and evaluation training for superintendents and principal managers.”
Over the next few months, Pearson will identify a handful of district partners to pilot the new LeaderSet evaluation and certification program.
Pearson also offers a large set of principal focused online professional learning modules developed in partnership with ASCD and the Marzano Research Laboratory. These modules include access to online collaboration tools and the opportunity to self-assess against custom rubrics or frameworks based on domains created by the high-powered authors and thought leaders, Dr. Robert Marzano, Michael Fullan, and Lyle Kirtman.
Kirtman, CEO of Future Management Systems of Boston, interviewed and assessed more than 500 principals to define what he refers to as the 7 leadership competencies of high-performing principals (see recent feature).
Michael Fullan’s most recent work is also soon to be released in partnership with Pearson as a series of 6 sequential online modules for superintendents and school leaders, and is centered on Fullan’s Motion Leadership™ concept and practices for guiding system-wide change.
All of the online professional learning modules for leaders are available via access through the Principal Compass platform, which owes its heritage to a professional development platform originally developed by Johns Hopkins University. Peters hinted that the professional learning content for principals would also likely soon be available in the Educator Development Suite (EDS) that is a key component of Schoolnet, the Instructional Improvement System (IIS) for states and districts that Pearson acquired in 2011.
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