Frequently Asked Questions
- Who should sign up for the programs? Individual principals? District leaders? State officials?
NISL's programs are designed to be delivered to cohorts of leaders across a district or a state. As such, district and state leaders contract with NISL and then assign groups of principals to receive training. Therefore, individual principals interested in participating in NISL should contact their district leaders to see if NISL training is available in their district.
- Is NISL based on leadership standards?
NISL draws on the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards; standards described by the major associations of principals and administrators; and the performance standards for major themes within the Institutes and Executive Development Program.
- What materials and methods do you use to train leaders?
NISL programs incorporate both online and face-to-face instruction and are job-embedded and cohort-based. NISL uses best practices in adult learning, including case studies, computer-assisted simulations, video presentations, and facilitated group discussion with other school leaders. The materials and methods were carefully selected based on research of the best leadership training practices from educators in other countries and from the fields of medicine, law, business and the military.
Sample some of the materials used in the Executive Development Program.
- Who are the trainers? How are they selected and trained?
NISL employs two methods to train participants – either direct training or a train-the-trainer model. Under the direct-training model, NISL faculty members train the participants directly. Under the train-the trainer model, NISL faculty members train local leaders (selected by the district or state) who become certified to provide training to their peers utilizing NISL's world-class curriculum.
NISL faculty members are carefully selected to match the needs of the district or state. All faculty members are successful, highly experienced educators who have been principals or superintendents. Also, some NISL units are co-facilitated by successful leaders from the military, business, or government.
- Is there any research that demonstrates the effectiveness of the program(s)?
Read about the two studies of NISL's Executive Development Program – including The Broad Foundation's evaluation of our work in Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, FL – here.
- Have you worked in districts like mine?
NISL has worked in districts – large and small, urban and rural – across the country and has provided statewide training for principals across Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. NISL has also worked extensively in Minnesota and Mississippi, as well as in districts in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, and New York. Read what people are saying about NISL's training.
Executive Development Program
- How comprehensive is the Executive Development Program?
NISL's Executive Development Program is the most comprehensive professional development training currently available for principals. See a complete list of the topics covered and sample course materials.
- What is the purpose of this program?
NISL believes that effective and creative leadership will result in greatly improved practice by principals and higher achievement for all students. The Executive Development Program addresses a comprehensive set of leadership skills, issues, and challenges intended to dramatically improve instruction in the classroom and the practice of school leadership. The objective is to help make good schools great and to turnaround low-performing schools.
- What is the time commitment leaders need to make to participate?
The total commitment is about 30 days and takes place over 12 to 18 months.
- What is the purpose of the Institutes? What issues do you cover?
The Institutes are designed to give principals the tools they need to address key leadership issues faced by most principals. Currently, NISL offers the following Institutes: Leadership for Excellence in Science, Leadership for English Language Learners, Leadership for Students With Disabilities, Instructional Coaching, and Instructional Leadership.
- What is the time commitment?
NISL's Institutes consist of 2 to 4.5 days of class time, usually on consecutive days. Prior to the Institute, participants must complete several assignments – such as a school assessment, student interviews, readings, and interactive computer-based activities – lasting a total of 2 to 4 hours.
Costs and Benefits
- What are the benefits of NISL's professional development programs?
Studies show that effective school leadership is the second most important factor contributing to student achievement after strong teaching. Since investing in the leadership skills of a principal could affect an entire school, an investment in principal training is the most cost effective way to improve student achievement. This investment is made even more important by the studies showing that many principal preparation programs are mediocre or weak.
- How much do NISL's programs cost?
NISL's programs start as low as $15,000 for an Institute. Both the Institutes and the Executive Development Program are designed to be a cost-effective means of training large groups of school leaders across a district or a state. Follow these links for detailed information about the cost of NISL's Institutes or Executive Development Program.
- What are the benefits of large-scale training?
Large-scale training builds district and state capacity to leverage and sustain instructional improvement. It also helps leaders across a system develop a common language and approach and support each other during the learning process. Because of NISL's train-the-trainer model and quantity discounts, large-scale training reduces the per-participant cost. Finally, it allows NISL to more fully tailor the program to fit local circumstances.
- Can NISL programs be used as credits for graduate school degrees?
NISL is working with several colleges and universities so that participants can receive graduate school credit. For example, Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, gives participants who complete the Executive Development Program 24 credits towards a doctorate.
To request additional information, please call NISL's office at 202.783.3668 or send an email to email@example.com.