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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Work on your #summergoals at ACSA’s institute for principals
April 12, 2021
You have a lot of things on your to-do list this summer. Make professional development one of them at the virtual Summer Leadership Institute, June 28–July 1.
Usually held at the UCLA campus, this annual conference will return in a virtual format this year, as it was in 2020, out of concern for attendees’ health.
School principals — or those thinking of becoming one — are encouraged to take three days this summer to grow as a leader. The half-day sessions and no travel requirements mean you’ll have more time to work on all your other #summergoals.
Learn from nationally recognized speakers and discuss in a facilitated small-group environment how you can apply this knowledge to thrive in unprecedented times. Participants are grouped into job-alike teams and led through exercises that deepen their understanding of the material.
Last year’s participants raved about the virtual experience:
  • “I loved the content and the variety of information that was shared. I felt all of the information was timely and relevant.”
  • “Everyone was so nice and approachable. I left this week feeling re-charged and ready to go into an unknown new year.”
  • “I’m not a new administrator but the strategies I learned were priceless and I will be returning!”
Research has shown the impact principals have on student achievement, emphasizing the importance of building capacity in site leaders. A recent Wallace Foundation report looked at two decades of research on principals from 219 different studies, and found that principals’ contributions to student achievement were nearly as large as the average effects of teachers identified in similar studies.
“It is difficult to put into words the magnitude of the impact the ACSA Principal’s Institute can have on one’s leadership,” said Jeanie Cash, a former Institute attendee who now serves as an ACSA Consultant and Coach for this event. “To label it ‘life changing’ would even come short of my ability to adequately describe this experience.”
Cash attended her first Principal’s Institute at the suggestion of her superintendent. She was a new principal at the time and was leading a school with the lowest academic achievement, the highest population of English Learners and the highest number of students identified as socio-economically disadvantaged in her district.
Although she was not keen on giving up precious summer days with her two young children, she packed her bags, did her pre-reading assignments and headed to UCLA.
“I eagerly returned to my school that fall with a growth mindset, a zeal to make a difference and I was equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence I needed to turn our school around,” she said.
Exactly 20 months later, Cash walked across the stage to accept the California Distinguished School Award, to the astonishment of her fellow principals, the cabinet and board members. She would go on to serve as principal of three schools that became California Distinguished Schools, an honor she attributes to the learning that took place at the ACSA Summer Leadership Institute.
“The Principal’s Institute taught me to embrace 2 + 2 Leadership,” she said. “The first two is that the leader is responsible for two things: learning and culture. The second two is that at the end of the day, school and district leaders have to respond to two questions: 1) Did I make a difference today? and, 2) Did I have fun?”
Cash said one added bonus to the team learning environment at the Institute is the opportunity to collaborate with other new and aspiring leaders.
“Through ACSA’s professional learning, the friends I made that summer still train together, coach together and work with the ACSA staff to ensure an extra-ordinary experience for all who attend the Principal’s Institute,” she said.
Summer Leadership Institute
What: Three-day virtual conference for aspiring, new and experienced principals.
When: June 28-July 1, 2021 Cost: $249 ACSA members (and those not eligible for membership) Register:
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