Empowering school leaders to help all students achieve

The Center for the Future of Arizona has long recognized the critical link between a strong principal and student success and believes that there can be no great schools without great school leaders. Research studies have found that principals account for about 25% of a school’s total impact on student achievement. An investment in school leadership is a strategic investment in improved student outcomes.

Download Beat The Odds School Leadership Academy Overview (PDF)

Demography is not destiny

In recognition of the link between great school leaders and great schools, and committed to making a difference for low income low-achieving Latino students in Arizona, CFA embarked on a study in 2006 that asked one question -- What does it take to get great results in schools with mostly low income, mostly Latino students? With the active involvement of Jim Collins, researchers embarked upon a comprehensive study to answer that question. Applying Collins’ “Good to Great” business methodology, they identified six keys to success to drive change and overcome obstacles in predominantly underperforming predominantly Latino low-income schools.

  Strong and steady principal        Collaborative solutions
  Clear bottom line     Built to suit individual students
  Ongoing assessment     Stick with the program

The study led to the launch of the Beat the Odds (BTO) principal program in 2007, which has since provided training and mentoring to more than 200 school leaders.

With significant support from the Office of the Governor, the Burton Family Foundation and Helios Education Foundation, CFA is now poised to expand on the success of the BTO program through a collaboration with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL). BTO’s successful principal mentorship model is being integrated with NISL’s nationally recognized research based principal training program, that draws on the best leadership practices from business, the military, and education.

Beat The Odds School Leadership Academy
   In partnership with the National Institute for School Leadership

The BTO School Leadership Academy is a nationally-researched, locally delivered program that can serve aspiring and current school leaders across the state. The academy draws on Arizona research of high-achieving low-income, Latino-intensive schools, CFA’s extensive experience in school leadership through the BTO principal mentoring program and the work of NISL’s Executive Development Program, the most widely-used, rigorous professional development program for school leaders in the country.

  • NISL’s Executive Development Program was developed with over $11 million from leading foundations and included leading researchers and practitioners from business, the military, and education.
  • It combines leadership competencies and pedagogical approaches gleaned from some of the top leadership programs across industries in the country.
  • The content of the program spans strategic leadership, standards-based education systems, and instructional practices in the specific content areas of math, English, history, and science.
  • The curriculum consists of 12 two-day units, delivered over the course of 12 to 15 months, bridged with online coursework, readings, and job-embedded application of key concepts.
  • NISL’s Executive Development Program was designed to not only improve the practice of school leaders, but to transform instruction and student achievement.
  • Multiple third-party studies from Johns Hopkins and Old Dominion University have shown that students in NISL-led schools, at all levels, outperform their peers on state tests in both math and English language arts at statistically significant levels.

NISL Training Delivered by Outstanding Arizona Education Leaders

Identified through a competitive application process, CFA established an outstanding cadre of Arizona NISL certified facilitators. These select individuals will become nationally certified NISL facilitators, leading training and providing mentoring as leaders who understand education in Arizona and are recognized in the field. The Arizona NISL facilitators are a diverse group with significant experience and expertise. Backgrounds include Rodel Exemplary Principals, National Blue Ribbon, charter and traditional public school leaders, A for Arizona leaders, Beat the Odds Mentors, and Teach for America alumni.

CFA will begin delivering NISL training through the BTO School Leadership Academy to cohorts of aspiring and current school leaders in fall of 2017.

If you are interested in Beat the Odds Leadership Academy In Partnership with the National Institute on School Leadership, please contact:

Amanda Burke, Ed.D
Senior Director, Education

Center for the Future of Arizona
541 East Van Buren, B-5
Phoenix, Arizona 85004-2211
Phone: 602-496-1360
Contact • Map • Parking