GSE News

The Path to Successful Ed Leadership

March 20, 2013 - When students in the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership travel to Finland and France in the coming weeks, they’ll be “going social.” Both groups will share their experiences through a variety of social media platforms so students, faculty, and practitioners back in the States can participate virtually and share questions, thoughts, and ideas with the team.

Led by student and Knapp Elementary School Principal Joe Mazza, Mid-Career students will travel to Finland on March 23-30 to explore how Finland’s educational system – one of the best in the world – might shed light on challenges in the US educational system. This first-ever international trip for the Mid-Career program will be hosted by the University of Helsinki’s School of Education and will allow students to team up with Finnish school leaders to study their approach to educational leadership.

Each student will focus on a particular topic during the trip. Virtual collaboration through a blog and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr will allow daily inquiries and findings to be shared with participants around the world. Mazza hopes to generate an ongoing global PLC – or “personal learning community” – on Finland’s educational system and encourages students, teachers, parents, and school leaders to submit questions to the team or join the conversation on Twitter at #pennfinn13.

During the first week in April, Associate Professor and CPRE co-director Jonathan Supovitz will lead a group of ten Mid-Career students as they travel to Lyon, France to share their expertise in distributed leadership and school improvement  strategies. The group will participate in a regional, four-day training workshop for French principals held at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon-Institut Français de l’Éducation where they will work with French school leaders in small workshop sessions.

Students will also spend two days visiting French schools to observe school leadership practices in France firsthand and share their experiences through a blog and on Twitter at #pennlyon13. Students traveling to France will focus on two questions in particular: What are the organizational structures most likely to generate common involvement in school improvement? What new practices of shared-decision making between supervisory executives, leaders, and teaching staff, should be envisaged?