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Summer Principals Academy NOLA
Teachers College, Columbia University
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in New Orleans

Program > Pro-Seminar in Leadership Development

Pro-Seminar in Leadership Development

Pro-Seminar in Leadership Development is an integral part of the Summer Principals Academy curriculum.  There is growing consensus that effective leadership requires not only traditional forms of intelligence, but also self-awareness, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and intercultural intelligence.  So far as we know, SPA is unique in offering comprehensive leadership development in the entire span of these skills.

The intention of the pro-seminar in leadership development is to offer student opportunities to cultivate their leadership acuity through exploration of multiple dimensions of the self and culture.  The 14-month course includes Self-Awareness Training in partnership with Emotional Literacy for Aspiring School Leaders in Summer I, and Self-Awareness Training in partnership with Cultural Diversity in Summer II.

Self-Awareness Training (SAT)

Self-awareness training invites participants to learn how to use our senses to discern the right action to take in any given moment. One important leadership skill is to develop your capacity to make good decisions on behalf of others. Though that may seem like a matter of being intelligent, knowledgeable and well trained, we believe that in addition to these competencies, a leader in the 21st Century must also have the capacity to make sense of the demands they are facing through more than their intellect. Learning to listen to the body, heart and feelings are resources that support making good decisions moment to moment and require learning just as rational thinking does. To cultivate this capacity as part of the curriculum in SPA, we offer self-awareness training.

What is this? 

Self-awareness training is the exploration of your senses through the experience of developing your capacity for noticing via your senses, your sensations, feelings, emotions and using your mind to reflect on these experiences as you pay attention to your inner territory. The purpose of this training is to bring you very closely in touch with whatever you are experiencing in a moment, how you feel about what you are experiencing, and develop within yourself the capacity to notice without judgment so that you can make purposeful choices as a leader. 

In the context of the SPA curriculum you will be participating in a daily morning practice that introduces different strategies for learning how to be in relationship to your own sense, feelings, and experience – cultivating your awareness through practice and reflection. You will engage with this practice for the 5 weeks that you will be at SPA for both summers maintaining a journal of observations on your daily practice and weekly reflections on content of your journal.

Emotional Literacy for Aspiring School Leaders

Emotional Literacy for Aspiring School Leaders is highly interactive course, which provides instruction and hands-on activities to aspiring school leaders on the scientific model of emotional intelligence. The primary focus is on how emotions impact attention, learning, academic and work performance, decision-making, and one’s ability to manage and lead classrooms and schools. Educators reflect on and hone their emotional skills (i.e., RULER skills of recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion) and learn how the skills show up in key leadership competencies through assignments, feedback on assessment tools, and small group coaching. Additional goals include how educators can use RULER skills to interact effectively with all stakeholders, engage students in the learning process, cope effectively with stress, and cultivate a vibrant, open school atmosphere. Educators also learn how to develop a long-term plan for sustaining emotional intelligence in their school.

Cultural Diversity as a Leadership Imperative

Pro-Seminar in Leadership offered during Summer II will build on the Emotional Intelligence work completed in Summer I to include a specific focus on effectively leveraging diversity as a leadership imperative. The organizing framework for the course frames leadership to leverage diversity as a form of human performance requiring three strategic learning capabilities: (1) Clarifying the Strategic Context (i.e., Context—the cultural and social environment in which your school is situated); (2) Identifying the “Vital Few” Success Factors (i.e., Content—those things that must go exceptionally well for high and sustainable academic achievement); and (3) Taking Informed Action (i.e., Conduct—focused and aligned behaviors that generate desired results). Collectively, these three strategic learning capabilities contribute to a level of “leadership agility,” (Joiner & Joseph, 2007), which is increasingly considered a master competency for sustained leadership effectiveness in increasingly diverse and rapidly changing organizational contexts, including high-performing, urban schools.

This seminar explores how culture influences the enactment of emotional competence and social competence in cross-cultural, intercultural interactions. Considerable emphasis will be placed on understanding the connections between culture, identity and diversity combined with exploring implications for school leadership. We begin by framing “thinking styles” as a form of diversity and examine the various ways diverse thinking styles influence a variety of leadership practices including communication, problem solving, decision making, measurement and ultimately performance. Lastly, participant will receive “Intercultural Sensitivity Assessment” results at the individual, group and cohort level as data to consider how their individual and collective level of intercultural competence impacts the work of their integrative school project.