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The residency

USA’s redesigned leadership program is unique, with the semester-long residency as its distinguishing trait. Residents work under the supervision of experienced, effective principals to observe, participate in, and lead teachers to improve student achievement. All other post-secondary institutions in Alabama opted for the ALSDE’s recommended ten consecutive days in schools to define their internship.



Residents’ leadership skills were evaluated with the Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI), a series of on-line surveys that includes a self-assessment, a principal’s evaluation, and feedback from one to as many as five observers. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner created the LPI in 2003 to “dispel two popular myths about leadership: First, that leadership is an innate quality people are born with, and second, that only a select few can lead successfully” (p. 3). Instead, the authors “concentrated on people in middle management whose daily lives were on the front lines, leading community and school projects, managing departments, running programs, starting small businesses, opening new sales territories, and expanding product lines” (p.3).

Kouzes and Posner identified Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® (Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart) to support their belief that “leadership has absolutely nothing to do with your position or your status and everything to do with your behavior . Leadership is an observable set of skills and abilities that both experienced and novice leaders can use to turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes” (p. 3-4).

The Five Practices were validated through studies with resident advisors, officers of fraternities and sororities, student leaders, and leadership program participants. The framework exemplifies statistical significance in professional student populations and on the impact these practices have on individual leadership development.


Mentors were oriented to the redesigned program during the summer and six weeks before the first cohort began its residency. They were asked to identify activities at their schools to give residents opportunities to practice leadership. They also were asked to complete a Resident Performance Evaluation (see Appendix A) for each of the 19 ability statements (see Appendix B) included in the residency and to use those evaluations in formative discussions with residents about instructional leadership.

Each resident completed the LPI (see Appendix C) twice during the residency, once near the beginning of the school term, and again two-thirds of the way through the semester. Program faculty used LPI results to guide formative discussions with residents about their performance. At the end of the program, mentor and resident feedback was collected (see Appendix D) and (see Appendix E)


Results from this study include the LPI, Mentor Principals’ Evaluations of the Redesigned Instructional Leadership Program, Leadership Practice Inventory ratings for Cohorts 1-3 of Residents’ Leadership Skills during a One-Semester Residency, Residents’ Self-Assessments, Residents’ Perceptions of their Growth in Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership during a One-Semester Practicum, and Student Cohort Evaluation of the Redesigned Instructional Leadership Program.

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Source:  OpenStax, Preparing instructional leaders. OpenStax CNX. Jun 13, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11324/1.1
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