What does professional development look like for school administrators? Preparing school leaders for tough conversations and challenges throughout the school year can take different forms. There is a new program I’m excited to share with you. At ISTE this year, I sat down with Ken Spero. Ken is the CEO of Ed Leadership SIMS (ELS). During our conversation in Philadelphia, he shared how simulations are used to enhance and change traditional professional development for school administrators.
The idea of computer simulations isn’t new, but I had never seen anything quite like ELS before. With this tool, school leaders are presented with a variety of situations. Then they’ll see potential options for resolving a conflict or handling an issue. Instead of acting as an assessment, this tool provides prompts small-group, partner, or whole-group conversations. It is certainly a powerful and practical way to build leadership capacity among team members in a school and/or district, too.
The ELS software provides educators with access to real-world simulations. It presents situations where there isn’t a right answer. Instead, it will unveil a series of issues a school leader should take into consideration when making a decision. Many tough decisions have negative consequences for some stakeholders in a school community. These simulations can also help school leaders build the capacity to handle these obstacles throughout the school year.
ELS tackles issues ranging from dress code and generational splits to introducing new evaluation systems and teaching capacity. To get a feel for what Ed Leadership SIMS looks like in action, I highly recommend you try out a simulation. You can check out a sample here. Once I had a chance to participate in a sample simulation, it gave me a much clearer picture of the potential of this program.
Professional Development for School Administrators
As a professional development provider myself, I know that PD can take many forms. Professional development for school administrators can vary greatly. These simulations are perfect for sparking conversations. They could also help school leaders reflect on experiences they have already faced in their career.
The simulations in this program align to the New School Principal Standards (PSEL), making them an excellent option for leaders in the early stages of their careers. They can help bring case studies to life by making the experience interactive for participants.
I was really impressed by how relevant the simulations were — especially how they connect to my own experience in school buildings across the country. When facing tough decisions, there is often more than one way to address an issue. I could absolutely see this tool in graduate school programs, certificate programs, and leadership teams on a school level to spark discussions about ways to tackle tough challenges, too.
If you’d like to learn more about EdLeadershipSIMS, head over to their website for information on how to bring this platform to your school or district.