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How Instructional Leaders 
Change Teacher Practice

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program

How do instructional leaders impact student learning?


The formal teacher evaluation process is critical—but it's not enough.


And classroom walkthroughs can make a difference, but they're often conducted in a way that triggers resistance—instead of inspiring teachers to take their practice to the next level.


Ultimately, we must connect what we see in classrooms on a daily basis to the big-picture decisions we make as instructional leaders.


In the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program, you'll discover how to:

  • Confidently get into classrooms every day
  • Have feedback conversations that change teacher practice, and
  • Identify your best opportunities for school improvement


At the core of the High-Performance Instructional Leadership model is the practice of evidence-based feedback conversations, using the shared language of your instructional framework.


Over the course of this 8-module program, you'll:

  • Eliminate the barriers to getting into classrooms every day, and make brief informal visits a core element of your leadership practice
  • Develop your instructional framework, drawing on four key sources of shared expectations for teacher practice
  • Discover how using Learning Dynamics™ and the Practice Awareness Continuum™ can allow you to differentiate your instructional leadership for each teacher you work with


To demonstrate your learning and its impact on teacher practice and student learning in your school, the program culminates in the Certification Portfolio—complete it successfully, and you'll join the ranks of world-class instructional leaders who have earned this advanced professional recognition.

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program has two major components: 


  1. The course, which is divided into 8 modules (see below)
  2. The certification—a rigorous, evidence-based portfolio assessment process, validating your mastery of the essential components of the High-Performance Instructional Leadership model. You can complete the certification at any time after completing the course.

Course Modules

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    ​Module 1: The Power of Professional Conversation
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    Module 2: High-Performance Habits for Getting Into Classrooms
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    Module 3: The Classroom Connection: Understanding Instructional Improvement
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    Module 4: Seeing Deeper with Learning Dynamics™
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    Module 5: The Power of A Shared Instructional Framework
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    Module 6: Gathering, Discussing, and Using Evidence from Classroom Observations
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    Module 7: High-Performance Formal Evaluations
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    Module 8: Go and See: Fueling Organizational Learning

What You'll Learn in Each Module

Module 1

The Power of Professional Conversation

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    Why talking with teachers is the best professional development for leaders
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    How to help teachers make better instructional decisions—when you're not present
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    Why the  classic "compliment / suggestion / compliment" approach is counterproductive—and a better alternative is faster, easier, and more fun
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    How to have quick, impactful conversations after informal walkthroughs 

Module 2

High-Performance Habits for Getting Into Classrooms

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    Develop a schedule that gets you into classrooms daily, AND gives you more time for full-focus office work
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    End the frustration of constant "Got a minute?" interruptions, without a harsh "closed door" policy
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    How to overcome the natural resistance—your own and teachers'—to regular classroom visits (one mindset shift can make all the difference)
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    Why focusing on visibility and frequency, not rigor, is the best way to start

Module 3

The Classroom Connection: Understanding Instructional Improvement

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    Help teachers take charge of their professional growth, while INCREASING accountability and trust
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    What teachers hate about typical feedback, and why it doesn't help them improve (it's no wonder they just smile and nod and wait for the boss to leave)
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    Why walkthrough forms steal our attention away from what really matters (and what we should be talking about with teachers)
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    How to differentiate your feedback for teachers with the Practice Awareness Continuum™ (veteran teachers may need more basic feedback in some areas, and you can help even new teachers advance quickly)

Module 4

Seeing Deeper with Learning Dynamics


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    How to use Learning Dynamics™ to help teachers understand their instruction’s impact on students—even before looking at assessment results
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    A 6-step process for using Learning Dynamics™ to quickly gain expertise and help teachers grow—especially useful for subjects you aren't certified in and have never taught
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    See for yourself how district initiatives are really playing out in classrooms—and what changes need to be made
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    EXCLUSIVE: In-depth model conversations with real teachers, based on video of their classroom practice (you'll see our post-conference on video)

Module 5

The Power of A Shared Instructional Framework


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    The four sources of your instructional framework (teacher evaluation criteria are essential, but not enough)
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    Why teachers aren't implementing your vision—and what they need to truly internalize it and take responsibility for their professional growth
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    How to bring your instructional framework to life, so it serves as a common vocabulary for teaching and learning
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    Why your framework is better at being the "bad guy" than you could ever be (and why teachers actually prefer it)

Module 6

Gathering, Discussing, and Using Evidence from Classroom Observations

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    How to gather robust evidence of practice, without scaring teachers into calling their union rep or complaining to the higher-ups
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    How to end the awkwardness of feedback conversations by ignoring your own opinions (and what to focus on instead)
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    Why teachers actually prefer when you have more evidence about their practice—and why you should NEVER say that walkthroughs are "non-evaluative"
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    EXCLUSIVE: On-camera modeling of evidence-based post-conferences with real teachers

Module 7

High-Performance Formal Evaluations

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    Provide support and accountability to deal with persistently underperforming teachers—without creating more work for yourself
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    How to compile all the evidence you need for high-quality teacher evaluations, in just a few minutes a day (even if your teachers' union is very strict about what "counts")
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    How to use the CEIJ (Claim, Evidence, Interpretation, Judgment) format to write rock-solid evaluations that won't be overturned
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    How to spend 80% less time on "low-risk" evaluations, so you can focus on your highest-priority teachers

Module 8

Go and See: Fueling Organizational Learning

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    How being in classrooms makes you a more effective organizational leader AND manager—even as you're spending less time on management work
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    How to choose a school-wide instructional focus that won't make teachers feel like they're jumping through hoops (and what to avoid because it always wastes your time)
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    How to help teachers let go of the status quo and do what's best for kids
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    Special considerations for superintendents and other central office leaders—for making your entire district a learning organization

[The program] is going to make you a better person, or a better administrator. It's going to make you think of things that you wouldn't, that you hadn't thought of, or if you're doing them, how to tweak it to make it better.


Pamela S. // Elementary School Principal

Certification Program

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program allows you to demonstrate your ability to provide effective instructional leadership—particularly through evidence-based, framework-linked feedback conversations with teachers. 


Register for the certification and you'll receive:


  1. Individualized support and feedback on your work
  2. Portfolio review and assessment
  3. Certification Plaque upon successful completion of certification requirements


You can register for the certification when joining the course, or add it later.

To receive your certification plaque, you'll complete the following portfolio tasks and submit them for scoring. 

​Certification Portfolio Tasks

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    3 documented cycles of informal classroom visits
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    Evidence-based, framework-linked feedback analysis
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    Video of debrief conversation with a teacher
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    CEIJ-format formal teacher evaluations
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    Compiled instructional framework
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    Curriculum-specific question repertoire

Who Is This Program For?

Current Administrators

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    Give feedback that actually helps teachers improve—even if you're not an expert in their subject area
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    Gain the context you need to make sound evaluation decisions about each teacher
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    Gather evidence throughout the year—not just in "dog-and-pony show" formal observations
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    Turn classroom visits from a "should do" into a rewarding habit

Instructional Coaches

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    Understand the thinking behind teachers' instructional decisions
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    Quickly assess teachers' present level of performance via evidence-based conversations
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    Break through resistance and deflection to help teachers change their practice
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    Get teachers to take ownership of their growth

Aspiring Administrators

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    Prepare for your next instructional leadership role
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    Distinguish yourself from other candidates
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    Learn how to give effective feedback to peers and teachers in your internship school
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    Get a 100% tuition credit toward our comprehensive Ascend career coaching program

Central Office Leaders

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    Deploy an instructional leadership game plan for school leaders
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    Set clear expectations for informal classroom visits and formal observations
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    Help administrators craft airtight evaluations that won't get overturned
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    Coach leaders in providing non-directive feedback to master teachers

[The program] is definitely something that will change, not just your practice, but your philosophy, and it will help you understand...the biggest thing for me was the amount of impact that I am able to make now, because I understand my purpose and my role. 


Esther-Raquel F. // Assistant Principal

About Your Instructor

Justin Baeder, PhD

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program is led by Dr. Justin Baeder, Director of The Principal Center. 


Dr. Baeder is author of Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership (Solution Tree), and creator of the Instructional Leadership Challenge, which has helped more than 10,000 leaders in 50 countries make a daily habit of classroom visits.



Bonuses

When you enroll in the program, we'll include even more to help you succeed:

1-Year Instructional Leadership Association Membership

Gain access to our library of on-demand trainings to help you build capacity for instructional leadership—plus two new live webinar trainings each month ($228 value)

Concierge Setup of Repertoire App

  • Staff import
  • Instructional framework import
  • Personal 1:1 training

Free Copy of Now We're Talking!

You'll receive a signed copy of Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership, by Principal Center Director Justin Baeder.


Plus, you'll receive the audiobook version in MP3 format for on-the-go listening.

100% Tuition Credit for Ascend

If you've been considering our Ascend program, we wanted to make it an easy choice.


Register for the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification program, and you'll be able to add Ascend at any time in the future, with 100% of your HPILC course registration fee applied to your Ascend tuition.

Money-Back Guarantee

The High-Performance Instructional Leadership Certification Program will dramatically strengthen your instructional leadership skills, and allow you to provide highly effective feedback to teachers at all skill levels.


We're fully confident that it's the most powerful professional development for instructional leaders anywhere—but don't take our word for it.

Try the program for yourself, and experience the transformation that it brings to your leadership.


If you're not 100% satisfied with the our program for any reason, contact us within 30 days for a full refund.

Full Certification Program

$1495

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    Full Course 
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    Signed Copy of "Now We're Talking!"
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    12-month Pro Membership
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    Concierge setup of Repertoire App
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    Portfolio Review
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    Certification Plaque (upon completion)

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I do in this program?

Do you offer a payment plan?

What if I'm not currently an administrator?

What's the certification? Is it a form of licensure? What if I'm not currently an administrator?

What evaluation systems is this model compatible with?

What if I have questions before registering?

2022  © The Principal Center