Spotlight on New Leaders: Developing Leaders Effectively with Job-Embedded Development and Assessment

December 16, 2016

Last week, New Leaders hosted a virtual conversation with partners about their Emerging Leaders work and how they’ve integrated job-embedded development and assessment into the program. Partners had the opportunity to dig into the details of the Emerging Leaders program and learn about how it supports teachers to continue to develop as leaders in their schools.

What is Emerging Leaders?

The Emerging Leaders Program develops promising leaders by providing high-impact professional development in adult and instructional leadership skills. Below you’ll find an overview of the program’s reach and the breakdown of their participants:


Participants in Emerging Leaders make gains in leading data-driven instruction, and on average, students across the multiple classrooms they support perform better on state math and reading tests:


Core Elements of Emerging Leaders
Emerging Leaders takes talented educators and prepares them with key skills needed to be effective by focusing on the four key components below:


  • Aligned Content: Participants build skills in core leadership domains proven to advance learning gains.
  • Job-embedded Practice: Participants engage in real-world learning and practice.
  • Expert Coaching: Program Directors (experienced and successful former school leaders) provide ongoing feedback throughout the year.
  • Learning Cycles: Participants engage in cycles of regular feedback from their Program Director and colleagues, often watching videos of their work in action. This enables continuous reflection and focused growth.

Job-Embedded Leadership Assessments
Emerging Leaders utilizes two key methods for assessing participant performance against leadership standards: assignments and learning meetings.

  • Assignments: Two job-embedded assignments build on the cycles of continuous learning, practice, and feedback to provide participants with timely, relevant, authentic feedback on the work they do leading teams at their schools. Assignments are particularly effective ways to gauge adult and instructional leadership skills as well as their ability to create a safe, supportive team culture.
  • Learning Meetings: 1:1 interactions between participants and Program Directors provide opportunities for them, together, to review and reflect on a wide range of evidence against performance expectations to develop a more comprehensive assessment of participants’ progress. The learning meetings are especially important for evaluating participants’ operational leadership and change management skills, which can be more challenging to accurately assess via assignments.

Lessons Learned for Developing Leaders
New Leaders is committed to constantly learning and sharing those learnings with the field. Three major learnings that have arisen out of the Emerging Leaders program are:

  • Invest Principals in Supporting Training: As Emerging Leaders is designed to be integrated into other activities, this buy-in needs to be deep and New Leaders has adjusted their application and selection process to better assess the level of support participants have from their school principal.
  • Focus on Instructional Leadership: After learning that half of their admitted participants weren’t meeting their highly rigorous proficiency standards in instructional leadership, New Leaders has put greater weight on content expertise and coaching aptitude. They have also launched a new program strand specifically aimed at developing instructional leadership skills.
  • Building Strong Leadership Teams: Transforming schools requires several strong leaders working towards a shared vision of student success. Another new program builds on content and lessons from New Leaders’ evidence-based leadership programs to help principals further develop these school-based teams to manage instructional shifts.

Curious to hear more? Be sure to check out the recording, Untapped report, and reach out to the New Leaders team.