National Institute for School Leadership
2019 Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Executive
NISL Course 1 & 2 are required to fulfill Act 45 Principal Induction requirements
Course 1: World-Class
Schooling: Vision and GoalsRequired
for Induction/Recommended for all Act 45 administrators
60 Act 45 hours (includes time for pre- and post-session
The Educational Challenge 2 days
This unit explains 1) why fundamental changes in the
international economy have resulted in significantly higher educational
requirements for all citizens in the advanced economies, and 2) why social
development and ethical behavior are just as important as high academic
achievement. Participants realistically assess the challenges school must meet
to achieve high standards. They also examine the corrosive effect of pervasive
low expectations for many poor and minority students. This unit also helps
participants accept and embrace the goal of every student graduating from high
school college-, career- and community-ready.
Principal as Strategic Thinker 2 days
This unit encourages participants to think strategically
about the challenges they face and to develop a clear, powerful strategy for
addressing those challenges. They learn to distinguish among tactical,
operational and strategic thinking. School leaders apply decision-making
processes they need to analyze complex situations, overcome barriers and
accomplish objectives. Case studies in the military and business (enterprises
that perform well with strategic thinking and operational planning) allow
participants to adapt and apply their knowledge to new situations relative to
the world of school.
Elements of Standards Aligned Instructional Systems 2 days
This unit challenges participants to develop a sophisticated
understanding of the components of a high-quality, standards-aligned
instructional system and how those components can be combined to boost student
performance. School leaders will learn how to identify assessments genuinely
aligned to standards, build curriculum frameworks that array topics logically
to enable students to reach standards over time, and select instructional
materials that are aligned with standards and the frameworks that support all
students in achieving the qualifications associated with future success in
college, career and community life.
Promoting the Learning Organization 2
This unit examines the enhancement and support of teaching
capacity through a focus on the school as a learning organization. Participants
apply principles of deeper learning to professional development while looking
at: 1) growth models for teachers and professionals, and 2) models of teacher
accountability. A scenario-based, team-oriented simulation based around four
quarters of the school year create opportunities for school leaders to engage
with and learn from one another while working together to achieve a
well-developed, shared team goal.
Action Learning: During this Course, participants
identify the focus of their Action Learning and begin to develop their Context,
Vision and Theory of Action.
Transformation through Capacity and Commitment
Required for Induction/Recommended for
all Act 45 administrators
60 Act 45
hours (includes time for pre- and post-session assignments)
Coaching for High-Quality Teaching 2
This unit focuses on the principal’s role in advancing
greater instructional effectiveness in implementing the high quality,
standards-based aligned instructional system discussed in Unit 3. Participants
apply facilitative and direct coaching behaviors to common scenarios school
leaders experience as managers of human capital and talent development. NISL
promotes coaching as the principle lever for linking the research associated
with professional learning with the day-to-day role of principal as
Teams for Instructional Leadership 2
This unit introduces the concept of the leadership team (not
simply the principal) as the nexus of instructional leadership within the
school. It combines this concept with the idea that distributing leadership and
allocating responsibility to other teams of teachers and other stakeholders in
the school leverages the power of teams to get the work of the school done and
to develop the knowledge and skills needed to build high-performing teams.
Participants learn how to define the goals for teams, recruit and select their
members, and motivate and coach them to success.
Ethical Leadership for Equity 2 days
Participants in this unit examine their roles as ethical
leaders in their schools with a focus on equity, defined as providing equal
access to the curriculum with appropriate supports to achieve college-, career-
and community-ready qualifications. Day-to-day pressures of being a principal,
standards-based reforms and new accountability requirements are fundamental
conditions of the principal’s job. In many situations, principals are so
pressured by operational demands that they lack the time to think deeply about
the ethical assumptions and implications underlying their decisions.
Participants consider the moral principles of a just, fair and caring and how these
principles guide participants’ discussions and decisions about this unit’s case
studies and scenarios.
Driving and Sustaining Change 2 days
In this unit, participants further develop their capacity to
design and lead an adaptive change process calculated to produce steady
improvement in student achievement. School leaders learn to analyze the change
process from the perspective of sustaining transformational change in an
environment that is continually volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Participants also learn how to identify root problems and causes, gather
intelligence, formulate a plan on the basis of appropriate data, select
strategies, and develop sound implementation plans.
Action Learning: In this course, participants refine
their Context, Vision and Theory of Action, develop their Strategies and Action
Steps, and engage in a Consultancy Protocol to elicit feedback from their EDP
colleagues prior to implementing their system change designed to improve
student achievement and close the achievement gap.
Course 3: Focusing on Teaching
for all Act 45 administrators/Available to non-Act 45 leaders*
60 Act 45 hours (includes time for pre- and post-session
Foundations of Effective Learning 2 days
Course Three focuses closely on the system of the classroom.
This unit anchors Course Three with a detailed examination of the science of
learning and is based on the premise that all school leaders should be students
of learning. After exploring and articulating the ideas in How People Learn, we
examine the proposition that a coherent theory of learning is essential to
instructional system alignment. The unit includes several opportunities for
leaders to explore ideas and questions in their own school contexts.
Participants will engage in a consultancy-style protocol to incubate an idea
for taking steps toward achieving instructional system coherence around a
consistent theory of learning.
Leadership in the Instructional Core-English Language Arts and History 2 days
This unit is the first of two units that examine ways in
which the research around how people learn, explored in the previous unit, is
applied within the core disciplines. In particular, this unit examines the
relationship of language to learning in reading and writing from early
childhood through high school and their vital importance to knowledge building.
This unit also focuses on history/social studies, exploring and applying the
ideas that were studied in the previous unit to the discipline of history.
Leadership in the Instructional Core-Science and Mathematics 2 days
This is the second of two units that examine ways in which
learning research is applied. Participants will examine how formative
assessment and language interact in science and mathematics to help students
learn. They will explore the importance of preconceptions and prior knowledge
in learning. Instructional leaders will learn how to evaluate practices in
science and mathematics classrooms to recognize high-quality teaching and the
attributes of an environment in science and math classrooms that promote
proficient science and math learners.
Final Case Simulation and Presentations
this unit, school leaders are asked to explore how their participation in NISL
has impacted their thinking around what it means to have students who are truly
College, Career and Life Ready and the mechanisms and tools for helping
students get there: applying strategic thinking to their school context,
crafting and applying a clear vision for making decisions and setting
priorities, improving the quality and alignment of their schools’ instructional
systems, high-quality teachers and teaching, and the organization and
management of high-performing schools. Special emphasis is achieving equity
through the design of school system structures and processes. NOTE: This
session is for EDP completers of Courses 1, 2, and 3. Invited guests for Units
9, 10 and 11 are not required or expected to attend.
* Registered Act 45 participants may bring up to two
(2) additional non-Act 45 leaders (e.g. curriculum director, language arts
supervisor, math department head, etc.) at no additional expense to the LEA, on
a space-available basis. The LEA may choose to assign Act 48 credit
accordingly. Check with your Regional Program Lead (RPL) for additional