Pa. Department of Education Launches First Superintendent’s Academy

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) this week convened the first meeting of Pennsylvania’s Superintendent’s Academy, a two-year professional development program for superintendents from around the state.

The first-of-its-kind program is geared toward district leaders serving in high poverty areas, urban and rural, and is a central component of the governor’s vision of equity and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera’s Poverty and Student Achievement Initiative.

“Poverty adds unprecedented challenges for students,” Rivera said. “In addition to ensuring students are provided with a quality education, Pennsylvania’s school leaders often must respond to ancillary needs like access to nutrition programs, mental health, and additional support services.

“This Superintendents Academy is an opportunity to not only offer intensive professional development focused on improving achievement of students in poverty, but also establish a community of practice to exchange ideas and best practices in serving these communities.”

Superintendents from around the state signed up to participate in the Academy. The National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) is partnering with PDE to offer the program. The content is based on twin pillars: the National Center on Education and the Economy’s (NCEE) 9 Building Blocks for a World Class Education System, and NISL’s Dimensions of Leadership.

“These superintendents, like their colleagues across the commonwealth, are committed to serving not just their own students, but improving the future of education in Pennsylvania,” Rivera added. “This Academy and the Poverty and Student Achievement Initiative itself are in direct alignment to Governor Wolf’s vision of ensuring every student is provided the tools to succeed regardless of zip code.”

The Academy’s preliminary three-day residential forum concludes today, and was designed to introduce the big ideas that will be explored throughout the program. Over the next two years, superintendents will continue to meet in regional cohort sessions and through online learning communities. The program will have two three-day colloquiums in Harrisburg for all participants.

After completion of the program, participating superintendents will be awarded Act 45 Pennsylvania Inspired Leaders (PIL) Program hours. PIL is the statewide, standards-based continuing professional education program for school and system leaders.

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