Concept Paper For Training Program



535 16TH Street, Suite 320
Denver, Colorado 80202





Developed by Herb Rubenstein, Founder and Executive Director of THE LEEEGH, INC., and
Diane Anderson, Director of Education

JUNE 30, 2010


THE LEEEGH, a Colorado nonprofit organization founded in 2009, presents this concept paper to provide leadership training for teachers in a classroom setting with eight weekly 1.5 hour sessions or two six hour sessions on consecutive days or spread out over a short period of time.

We have not included a budget for this work in this preliminary concept paper. THE LEEEGH could help subsidize certain aspects of this work including the pre-test, post-test, evaluation and individual follow-up with each participant several months after the conclusion of the program, in exchange for the teachers' willingness to take the pre-test, post-test (which will not be "graded" but will be analyzed) and participate in monthly surveys for a period after the course. All data collected by THE LEEEGH, will protect the privacy of individual teachers and students, and will be shared with the school district or school that employs THE LEEEGH.

Payment by the school or school district will be a fixed price and would cover the course delivery, which includes the eight sessions, plus the anticipated communication the trainers will have between the weekly sessions with the participants. Regular contact by participants will be encouraged via telephone and email with a rapid response from the trainers guaranteed. The fees paid by the school or school district will also cover the expense of regular meetings with school management before, during and after this eight session training program. We will be able to discuss budget figures soon after we learn more about how many teachers would be in the program the school or school district is invited to inform us of its budgetary capabilities and normal expenditure levels for teacher training of this scope and magnitude. THE LEEEGH will do everything in its power to make this program affordable to schools and school districts that hire us to train their teachers.

Below, we provide a description of the curriculum, including a week-by-week listing of topics we would cover in this course. We are amenable to suggestions on how to add or modify topics so that the course will be as relevant as possible to the school/school district culture, and ultimately help improve teacher retention, student outcomes, teacher satisfaction, parent satisfaction, and the overall school environment and performance of the schools where we would train the teachers.

Format and Approach For the Course

This course will be highly interactive. We will include material from our book, Leadership Development for Educators, as well as many other books and leadership insights and approaches from the 20+ years of teaching and educational administrative experience Ms. Anderson, our co-teacher of the course, has learned throughout her career as a PreK-12 teacher and principal. We want to be sure to address through our course the concerns that teachers at the schools or school district have on a daily and ongoing basis.

The curriculum will include the following topics, which we expect to deliver and discuss in the order presented in the week-by-week listing below. However, we may change the order of the presentation based on the teachers' current (during each particular week) leadership concerns as they relate to their daily and ongoing challenges that may surface as a result of the activities we assign between the sessions or the feedback discussions we will have each week. We certainly expect to cover each topic listed below, as well as others that will surface as a result of our "pre-test." Our "pre-test" will include survey questions regarding the teachers' leadership concerns, leadership areas where they have a particular interest, leadership challenges, and the goals each participant has for themselves and the program. The school or school district management can participate in responding to these survey questions as well, plus suggest particular survey questions which we would include in the pre- and post testing that would be of particular interest to schools involved and the school district.

We will use our pre- and post-testing for transparent evaluation, although we will not divulge the data we receive in a manner that would reveal the individual responses of any of the teachers we train. In addition, before we publish any results of the evaluation, or lessons learned from the course, the school and school district management will be able to review and comment on our proposed publication(s).

In every session there will be two trainers for the entire 1.5 hours, Herb Rubenstein and Diane Anderson, We expect the course to run for eighth consecutive weeks, but we are flexible and given holidays, travel, etc. we may, the school or school district"s approval, deliver the eight sessions over a ten or twelve week period. Once a schedule is set, we will follow this schedule, barring some truly unforeseen and unavoidable situation.

Proposed Leadership Development Curriculum

Overall Learning Objectives:

  1. To demonstrate and engage the teachers in discovering the important roles of teachers as leaders in classrooms
  2. Train teachers in leadership theory, best practices, leadership skills, traits, and styles
  3. Assist teachers in more readily identifying themselves as leaders and acting as leaders

Learning Theories Embedded in Our Work:

  1. Adult learning theory
  2. Behaviorism
  3. Social constructivism
  4. Facilitative learning
  5. Experiential learning

Specific Lessons:

  1. Defining Leadership. Assisting teachers in developing their own working definitions of leadership and discussing with them our own working definition of leadership.
  2. Identifying and discussing key leadership skills, traits, and styles appropriate for teachers
  3. Leadership Self-Assessment (Level 1 Leadership in our book)
  4. Assessing others leadership skills and styles Perception " (Level 2 Leadership in our book)
  5. Key attributes of inspiring, motivating, and enrolling others (Level 3 Leadership in our book)
  6. Leadership as goal setting at the organizational level, and taking responsibility for process development and results " Develop " (Level 4 Leadership in our book)
  7. Key aspects of mentoring and being mentored by others, including teachers
  8. Leading students and student activities" challenges, pitfalls, assessing and getting feedback
  9. Leading parents and collaborating with parents and other stakeholders and supporters of the school
  10. How to form leadership groups that meet regularly and other forms of leadership support/activities among teachers
  11. How to apply these leadership strategies, skills, and principles outside of the school environment
  12. Resource development and "resource capture" as a leadership skill (enrolling others to assist, delegation, motivation)
  13. Visioning for the individual teacher, with the student, and with the school as a whole

Week-by-Week Course Topics

Week 1:

Leadership Overview/Background

  • Context and history for this "movement" of Teacher As Leader dating back to 1956
  • Librarians and leadership development since 1998
  • Views on the question, "Are teachers leaders?"
  • Discussion of "How teachers are leaders"
  • Course expectations
  • Discuss "pre-test results"
  • Learning/skill development Goals
  • Expected course takeaways
  • Discussion of definitions of leadership
  • Identifying what this course will not cover
  • Assign a Leadership Exercise/Activity

Week 2

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion
  • Four Levels of Leadership explained
  • Discussion of leadership styles
  • Improving time management by improving leadership skills and aptitude
  • Discussion of the challenges the participants face as they seek to become better leaders, both personally and institutionally
  • New leadership/exercise activity to be assigned

Week 3

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion
  • Mentoring and being mentored
  • Key aspects of coach-ability
  • Understanding how others perceive you as a leader or not
  • Communication styles of leaders
  • Inclusion and collaboration approaches Heifetz distinction between technical and adaptive challenges
  • Decision-making styles of leaders
  • New leadership/exercise activity to be assigned

Week 4

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion including any outside reading by participants on leadership
  • Special focus on leading students and student activities
  • Project management and identifying early evidence of a plan or activity going astray and how to deal with it
  • New leadership/exercise activity to be assigned including some outside reading

Week 5

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion about the course and outside reading/learning/skill development by participants
  • Goal setting for teachers and assisting others in setting goals
  • Holding others accountable and being responsible for others' success
  • Avoiding burnout
  • Discussion of challenges, inevitable setbacks of leadership
  • Delegation and enrollment, creating strategic alliances
  • New leadership/exercise activity to be assigned

Week 6

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion
  • Special focus on leading parents
  • Planning as a leader
  • Diplomatic skills of leaders
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • The sensitive but potentially beneficial role of writing/public speaking/blogging/publishing for teachers
  • Exercise/activity assigned around forming a support group to help each teacher become a better leader

Week 7

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Feedback and discussion
  • Leading outside of the school environment
  • Key theories of motivation
  • Advanced discussion on leadership identity issues
  • New leadership/exercise activity to be assigned regarding something outside of the school environment (may be group or individual teacher oriented or a combination)

Week 8

  • Review of exercise/activity results and challenges
  • Reflections on the course
  • Identification of gaps in the course and areas of future development/interest among the teachers in leadership development
  • Hand out and email of resources to assist teachers to become better leaders (websites, publications, activities) note this will done throughout the course, but the trainers will present a compilation of the resources they and the teachers have identified
  • In class exercise-each participant writing down, and discussing if they want, what each will now do as a leader that the participant may not have done without the course (on yellow "stickies" that can become a "course poster")
  • Discussion of agreement to participate (voluntary) in post-course surveys, write up of case studies of self, or with permission, other participants and their expanded desire and ability to be a leader including positive results.
  • Evaluation of the course

General Background White Paper In Support of This Proposal/Concept Paper

Two new books, Leadership Development for Educators (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009 U.S. Edition; Overleaf Publishing, 2010, India Edition) by Rubenstein, Miles and Bassi of Colorado, and Teaching As Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2010) by Steven Farr of Teach For America (TFA), open up a new avenue for improving the PreK-12 schools of the United States and throughout the world. These books, in their own unique ways, call on our educational establishment to train teachers in leadership skills. Teach For America now operates as Teach for India in India and leadership training based on the book Leadership Development for Educators will be offered in India in the fall of 2010.

Teach For America has been teaching leadership development to its corps members for twenty years. The Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, DC, part of the new alternative teacher certification movement, provides leadership development training for its teachers. The Auerback Central Jewish Agency for Education / the Jewish Outreach Project in Philadelphia has created an entire collection of books on leadership training for educators to support its work.

In some charter schools, religious and private secular schools, teachers are being trained in leadership. Since 1998, students and mid-career professionals in their pursuit of a Master of Library Science degree have been required to take leadership development courses. These courses have help transform the identity and behavior of librarians. Today, librarians, by and large, embraced the new information technology challenges and opportunities they face in their jobs day in and day out in both public and private schools.

With the exception of the TFA training available to TFA corps members and in schools where TFA alumni have instituted leadership development programs for teachers, leadership training is not systematically provided to public school or charter school teachers in the U.S. It is generally not provided in undergraduate teacher preparation programs, in graduate level teacher certification programs, or in the teacher re-certification or professional development programs. This is starting to change and this background white paper seeks to help promote this needed change in our educational system.

One of the co-authors of Leadership Development for Educators, Mike Miles, Superintendent of the Harrison II School District in Colorado Springs, is providing leadership development courses to some of the teachers in his school district. (He does not have the budget to provide this training to all of the teachers). Since beginning these leadership development courses for teachers several years ago, the Harrison II School District has shown some of the highest gains in student outcomes (test scores) in the State of Colorado.

When there is talk of teacher leadership in our educational system (and there is a book by that exact name by Charlotte Danielson (ASCD, 2008), this phrase usually means instructional leadership or curriculum development leadership. ETS (Educational Testing Service, NEA, and AFT are currently collaborating on the creation of a separate job classification called "teacher leader" for a relatively small percentage of teachers to move up one step in the educational hierarchy.

Our approach is different. We believe the position "teacher" is a leadership position, in and of itself, and therefore, teachers should be properly trained in leadership for all grade levels of PreK-12.

THE LEEEGH is developing courses for CU-Denver and the University of Northern Colorado in leadership development for teachers as part of their professional development programs for teachers. These courses are fifteen hours in length over two days of classroom training that will delivered over a period several weeks with assignments given to teachers to undertake during the time between the two full days of instruction.

We believe it is long past due to give teachers the training they need in leadership skills, leadership theory, and leadership practice, since teachers are leaders and are called upon to lead every day in their classrooms. A 1956 article in Educational Leadership even has the title, Teaching Is Leadership. We could not agree more.

Conclusion and Statement of The Basic Philosophy Behind the Leadership Training for Teachers Concept

We believe rigorous leadership development training for teachers will produce improvements in student outcomes, and in teacher satisfaction/retention. This training may also produce stronger bonds between the schools and the general community as teachers increase their leadership skills. This could lead to communities throughout the nation being willing to provide more resources to schools where teachers are trained in leadership, including enhanced funding, volunteerism, parent involvement, and enhance the reputation of the school.

In addition, leadership development programs could raise the stature of PreK-12 teaching as a profession, which could have a positive impact on drawing an even more qualified and diverse set of applicants into the teaching pool in the future for those schools who train substantial numbers of their teachers in leadership development.

We expect leadership development training will improve the communication skills of teachers, a key ingredient in teacher effectiveness. It could also improve a teacher's ability to create a community in the classroom and improve a teacher's ability to manage the greater and greater time demands we place on them.

Leadership development training for teachers, which should include training in diplomacy, might help younger teachers and more senior teachers reduce the divisions and tensions that can occur between these two groups of teachers with different levels of experience. It could also assist those who are switching careers to get into teaching in their 30's and 40's meld more easily into the challenging school environment which has a culture quite unlike the business, military or other work environments where they have worked earlier in their career.

We expect that as teachers become better leaders, there will be a greater emphasis on principals to become better leaders as well. Only recently have principals started to receive significant leadership training. The Wallace Foundation and the DPS Foundation, when it was led by Bruce Benson, have been major financial backers of leadership development training for principals. McRel's research has shown that improving the leadership capabilities of principals has a positive impact on student performance. McBassi & Company's research has shown that improving the management and development of teachers significantly improves student performance, as measured by student test scores.

Leadership development for teachers is a new tool to help our teachers cope, succeed, and excel. Many teachers, early in their careers, feel they are not able to cope or succeed, so they quit. We will have hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the public/charter PreK-12 teaching profession over the next four years. We will have "turnover" rates in teaching that are far greater than in almost any profession or occupation other than "call centers." These facts are not acceptable; they hurt our public education system every day and hurt our students in countless ways.

Retooling or reforming America's schools is not simply about building new schools, though we need them, or expanding the prevalence of charter schools, though this is certainly a promising development in our school system(s). Retooling or reforming American's schools is also not only about setting test score standards for schools and calling out schools or even closing them where students do not perform as well students in other schools. Retooling and reforming America's schools must be about equipping teachers with the skills they need to succeed as teachers and remain teachers for the long haul.

Teachers are leaders, yet we currently give them very limited training in leadership. Teachers are leaders, yet some parts of our educational system do not treat them as leaders. Teachers are leaders and yet some teachers themselves often do not consider themselves to be leaders.

This is the basis of our writing the book, Leadership Development for Educators. Yet, our mission is not complete simply with the writing and publication of a book. We intend to be a catalyst for the development and delivery of leadership training programs for PreK-12 teachers and those who are studying to become PreK-12 teachers.

THE LEEEGH, INC. welcomes the opportunity to work and collaborate with other nonprofits and other educational institutions to help design and deliver out the leadership development training we propose for teachers. Improving the leadership skills of teachers will take the work and devotion of many, many organizations. The potential benefits are enormous and the time to create new leadership development courses for teachers is now.

For more information about our book and our training, click here.