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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Academies adapt to online environment
Academies will remain in virtual format for 2021-22
April 26, 2021
ACSA’s premier professional development experience for job-specific leadership roles will remain in a virtual format for the 2021-22 school year and build upon the successes of this year's online program.
ACSA’s Academy program experienced a major expansion and transition this year. For the first time, all Academy cohorts statewide convened in a virtual format throughout the 2020-21 school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 750 participants — even higher enrollment than in 2019-20 — took part in 27 cohorts in 10 leadership specializations.
ACSA members from around the state were able to participate in any virtual Academy cohort without incurring time or expense for travel or lodging.
To preserve the high-quality learning and networking experience members have come to rely upon, in-person Academy practices were adapted to a virtual environment. For example, Academy binders, which include all printed materials and resources for each cohort, were made available digitally and will be housed on an ACSA Google Drive so that participants can reference them beyond the Academy year. Electronic Academy certificates of completion will be available in addition to being formally printed.
Participants also enjoyed several personal touches. A professional book was mailed to participants in each cohort. During a couple of Academy weekends, participants were randomly surprised with e-gift cards to enjoy breakfast or lunch. In addition, a celebratory Academy presentation was developed so directors could personalize it for their participants and celebrate the conclusion of each cohort.
Over the course of the year, Academy directors, presenters and participants overcame a steep learning curve to adapt to their roles in leading or participating in successful online learning. Ongoing training focused on best practices and strategies for impactful professional online learning. The role of Academy facilitators, one identified participant per cohort, expanded this year to focus on successfully, enthusiastically and resourcefully negotiating the technical logistics of the virtual environment.
“Particularly under the complex circumstances of this school year, ACSA deeply appreciates the grace, compassion and service of everyone participating in this year’s Academy program through their investment of time and energy in this premier job-embedded professional learning and in statewide collegial networks,” said ACSA Academy Program Executive Mary Gomes. “The lessons we have learned, along with the innovations that have emerged, will help us build on our successes and inform important refinements for our online Academy experience.”
What to expect for 2021-22
After considering current information and everything that is knowable and foreseeable at this time, the Academy program will continue in an exclusively online format for 2021-22.
ACSA’s utmost concern continues to be for the safety of members (participants, Directors, presenters). ACSA also wishes to be mindful of supporting school districts and LEAs in having the time they will need in order to successfully return to in-person school operation and meeting as it becomes safe to do so.
Participants from anywhere in the state will continue to have the option to register for any online cohort statewide and participate without the additional demands associated with travel. ACSA is honored by the opportunity to provide its members with high-quality professional learning and networking, and to be an integral part of their career preparation and advancement.
ACSA is planning more than 20 cohorts to meet anticipated statewide demand in 10 leadership specializations:
• Access & Equity for English Learners • Co-Administrators • Curriculum & Instructional Leaders • Equity Administrators • Personnel Administrators • Principals • Pupil Services • School Business • Special Education • Superintendents
Complete 2021-22 Academy program information (including Academy descriptions, cohort schedules, Academies At-A-Glance, Scholarship Application, etc.) and registration will be available online in mid to late May. Watch for updates in EdCal or sign up to receive notification when registration opens at
Stay up to date on Academies
2021-22 Academies registration will open in May. Visit for updates.
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