APP is a rigorous, standards-based, experiential program that develops school leaders who are committed to promoting equity of educational opportunities for all students. The program includes a summer intensive followed by a school-based practicum within the home district, supplemented by a blended curriculum of in-person and online learning experiences.
NYCLA believes the best way to learn to be a school leader is to live it; therefore, the best learning experiences for aspiring principals are simulated and real leadership challenges. During the summer intensive, participants assume the principalship of a scenario school, making decisions and dealing with the consequences of those decisions. The year-long school-based practicum under the mentorship of a district principal then provides aspiring principals the opportunity to practice the work of the principal while back in district schools, becoming responsible for leading change during this year and receiving feedback on their work. Aspiring principals continue to learn from and network with their peers from the summer intensive through the blended coursework which involves school-based leadership work, virtual coursework and sessions, in-person sessions and school site visits. During the year, the participants continue to collaborate and build a network that will serve them after they have completed the program.
The combination of the intensive summer simulation and the practicum experience enables participants to engage in the authentic work of school leadership and reflect on their experiences prior to assuming the role of principal. To ensure that participants emerge conversant in and knowledgeable about the structures, systems, and data they will use in their day-to-day work, both the summer intensive and the practicum curriculum are designed to address the needs and priorities of participating districts.
NYCLA Facilitator Role
Participants are supported by NYCLA facilitators who guide their learning and reflection throughout the summer intensive and blended practicum coursework, and who visit participants at their school sites during the practicum. Facilitators get to know each aspiring principal well and monitor his/her growth from the beginning to the end of the program; they continuously assess and revise curriculum to support the aspiring principals in their context.
Participants are expected to assume responsibility for their own growth, identifying and addressing their personal learning needs as they strive to meet standards and become principal-ready during the APP year. They are also expected to support the growth of their cohort members as they build this professional learning network.
Mentors are the principals at practicum school sites. They provide critical support to aspiring principals and play a number of roles in their development. The mentor and facilitator communicate frequently and have the collaborative responsibility of assessing the aspiring principal’s progress, providing timely feedback, and ensuring he/she is provided with opportunities for developing the skills needed to be a successful principal.