West Virginia Institutes
for 21st Century Leadership

The West Virginia Institute for 21st Century Leadership is a key component of West Virginia’s systemic approach to developing 21st century schools. Rarely does an organization improve without knowledgeable, capable and visionary leadership. There are no simple recipes for creating 21st century schools. However, there are significant “road markers” that guide the way. Thus, the Institute will provide in-depth professional development and support for West Virginia’s outstanding school leaders. This year long experience promises to expand the principal’s understanding of the Frameworks for High Performing 21st Century Schools and develop the leadership skills necessary to transform schools to engaging and rigorous 21st century learning environments for both students and staff.

The West Virginia Institute is a year long program for practicing principals. The inaugural class of the Institute began in July of 2006. Initial membership for this Institute was 75 principals. The five day July residential session is coupled to two follow-up residential sessions of three days each in December 2006 and March 2007. During the three residential experiences, principals have the opportunity to examine the urgency and rationale for changing the schools of today into 21st century Schools. Using the Frameworks for High Performing Schools, and High Performing Classrooms for each programmatic level, the Principals begin to see the components of what the 21st Century school and classroom look like. These understandings are further supported through keynote speakers and other activities to fully develop their knowledge base of what we must do to prepare our students for the challenging world of this century. Programmatic leaders and critical friends assigned to each programmatic group helped to fully develop and expand the knowledge base of the principals through their experience and understanding. The December residential experience focused on the leadership characteristics needed to transform organizations and to lead change. The March residential experience focused on the systemic continuous improvement process and the components of that process that can be employed in schools.

Between residential experiences, the principals will complete additional research topics of their choosing. The Area of Focus is an opportunity for the West Virginia Institute for 21st Century Leadership Class of 2006 to enhance their knowledge of 21st century leadership and learning principles. The on-line discussion forum and wiki is facilitated by West Virginia Department of Education staff members and by the staff of the Superintendent’s Center for 21st Century Schools as well as critical friends from higher education and other venues. The experience expands the personalization opportunities and learning of the Institute and connects professional development to the required principal evaluation process of Policy 5310. This process should enhance collegiality among principals and create an on-line professional learning community using 21st century tools. Principals will complete two areas of focus topics in the course of their Institute year.