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National Institute for Urban School Leaders

6/11/17 to 6/16/17

Tuition: $3,750 per person

Priority Application Deadline: April 28, 2017

We are currently accepting and reviewing applications as space is available. For consideration, please submit an application at your earliest convenience, no later than June 2, 2017

What You Will Learn

Refine your leadership skills and broaden your understanding of effective teaching and learning. You will examine successful practices from urban settings, set high expectations for achievement and explore strategies that promote student engagement.

Program Overview

In today's high-stake environment of accountability and limited resources, school leaders must be able to address urgent challenges from multiple constituencies. Research on effective schools continually points to the important role leaders play in creating the right conditions to increase student achievement.

National Institute for Urban School Leaders brings educators from urban contexts together with Harvard faculty and top experts in the field to examine best practices and research-based techniques that support student achievement. It provides an in-depth exploration of the leadership skills necessary to enhance and sustain learning outcomes.

You will examine schools in relation to the broader community contexts—exploring race, culture, equity, socioeconomic status and social justice in today's diverse urban classrooms. You will focus on strategies for improving teaching and learning and building community support for the work of schools. When you leave, you will be better prepared to transform your learning landscape to support higher student achievement and successful outcomes for all students.

Program Objectives
  • Identify leadership roles and styles required to improve teaching and learning in the instructional core
  • Examine the beliefs, cultural changes and teaching and learning strategies required to promote high student achievement
  • Consider the effects of race, class and culture on the learning community
  • Learn effective approaches for ensuring the inclusion of all students
  • Explore practice-based techniques for closing the achievement gap
Who Should Attend
  • School leaders and teams working in urban settings
  • Principals, assistant principals, department heads, directors of curriculum and instruction, and other central office administrators that support urban schools
What People Are Saying

“This was a grand slam, great!” —2012 participant

“Amazingly forward-looking program. I am leaving more informed and able to help my community and my students. It has become a valuable part of my decision-making process, especially in my new assignment as CFO.” —Stanley Dobbs, CFO, Hayward Unified School District, Hayward, CA

“I absolutely love Harvard. I always leave feeling motivated, inspired and full of new ideas. I sent two of my principals at the end of June to the Art of Leadership because I wanted them to experience a career-changing opportunity like I have. You are making a difference in our practice. Thanks so much.” —Ina Fournier, Superintendent of Education, Peel District School Board, Mississauga, Canada

“Powerful! Excellent. This program has given me a new perspective on inclusive education and the sense of ensuring that all students feel like they belong.” —Lolita Vaughan, Principal, Paterson Public Schools, Paterson, NJ
Session with Norman Kunc: Beyond Benevolence: A New Take on Inclusive Education    

Faculty Chair

Deborah Jewell-Sherman, professor of practice at HGSE. Jewell-Sherman has built a reputation over the past decade as one of the most successful urban district superintendents in the country. She served as superintendent of the Richmond Public Schools in Virginia from 2002 to 2008. In 2009, Jewell-Sherman was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year and, in 2015, received the Morningstar Family Award in recognition of teaching excellence. She has done extensive work in South Africa as the principal investigator for an initiative between HGSE and the University of Johannesburg. She has collaborated with the Qatar Education Foundation on leadership, communication, and strategic planning, and serves as a key faculty member for HGSE’s Doctor of Education Leadership program. Jewell-Sherman currently teaches a graduate course on Race, Equity, and Leadership along with Mary Grassa O'Neill and Adria D. Goodson at HGSE.


Enrollment Instructions

Admission to the National Institute for Urban School Leaders is competitive; we regret that we are unable to accommodate all applicants. To maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible. Both individuals and teams are welcome to apply. As the program fills quickly, early application is encouraged.


Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two
You will be asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)


Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator does not need to attend the program and will have the opportunity to indicate if they will be attending during the application process.

Application Process

  1. A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
  2. A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • Once started, the team application must be completed in a single session. It should take 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.
Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. 

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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