With support from the NYC Leadership Academy, the Greece Central School District (GCSD) launched a comprehensive, district-wide professional development program focusing on school leadership in early 2013. This work began when GCSD, the ninth largest school district in New York State, serving close to 12,000 students near Rochester, received a Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant from the state.

Using Envision Greece 2017 – the district’s research-based strategic plan – NYCLA and GCSD staff worked side-by-side to design a two-week summer Leadership Academy for district and school administrators and teacher leaders. In addition, we supported GCSD in the design of a year-long professional development blueprint to help the district focus and integrate professional learning efforts around its goal of developing human capital in order to accelerate student achievement.

“We talk about doing culture-changing work. The (Greece) Leadership Academy was, and continues to be, culture changing for our district. It’s about building trust, it’s about collaboration, and a lot of important relationship building happened during those two weeks. I’ve interviewed all 17 principals and they are using the work from the Leadership Academy. It’s not just that they’re using this or that protocol, but they’re using the big ideas of relationship building and distributive leadership. I keep saying this program has fingers – it’s reaching into every classroom in Greece,” says Sheila Robinson Kohn, STLE Grant Coordinator and part of the district’s professional development and program evaluation team.

Ms. Robinson Kohn credits us for helping the district develop a more effective, organic, and responsive approach to professional development. “The NYCLA team coached our design and facilitation team to create a rich, comprehensive curriculum and coached and modeled for us how to facilitate it. NYCLA didn’t just hand us an activity – they helped us learn how to contextualize and implement curricula in the way that works best for Greece, for our particular context and culture. They really pushed our thinking around high-quality professional development and high-quality facilitation.”

We are delighted that this GCSD initiative was recently highlighted by the New York State Education Department in an announcement of new STLE grants. Visit http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/STLE3.htm to read the announcement.

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