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Driving Change: A CAEL Module

5/1/17 to 7/22/17

This is an online program with significant job-embedded learning.

Applies toward the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership

Individual Tuition$2,250 per module  |  Teams of three or more$1,995 per team member

Priority Application Deadline: March 6, 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 April 17, 2017.


Why is it so hard to improve schools? Why is improving classroom practice such a difficult task?

In Driving Change, participants will examine what is known about the change process in school organizations, understand how people experience disruption and change, and learn how to manage constraints and exploit opportunities in order to implement new practices with purpose and success.  

Together with other participants, you will explore the principles of change development, beginning with an understanding how you think about the problem you are trying to solve, followed by how you might approach working with others to develop a theory of action and finally, to develop a strategy. This program will teach you how to scan your educational setting, examining components such as culture, structure, systems and stakeholders as you consider what you are trying to accomplish and what process might lead you there. You will learn how effective change management targets and develops the various constituencies affected by the proposed change, including leaders at all levels of the organization itself and those outside the organization. Additionally, you will use tools and practice concrete strategies to help you work with others to build awareness of the need for change, a shared mission, and a common agenda.

The final project will connect the knowledge and skills you have practiced in earlier weeks to a specific problem of practice in your organization, and allow you to test your hypothesis about that problem and potential solutions with others in a cycle of improvement.  Our ultimate goal is for you to become an educational leader who can lead others to make the right kind of change happen in your organization. 

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Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership FAQs

  • Improve your ability to define and solve a problem of practice that can help you bring about your aspirational change for your organization
  • Provide you develop the right strategies to support the theory of action that can bring about your desired improvement in your organization
  • Support your ability to analyze your organizational context, your operational capacity and your authorizing environment to help you bring about your desired change
  • Employ tools to help you lead and work with others to bring about sustainable change in your organization
  • Use processes to test your ideas along with others and help you build momentum in the service of enacting large-scale organizational reform
Format and Delivery

Each module takes place over 12 weeks, moving through a cycle of learning, application, performance, and demonstration. Throughout the program, you will engage in a range of activities online, plus exercises carried out in your professional context.

Online activities include:

  • Reading
  • Watching videos
  • Taking short assessments
  • Participating in small-group virtual discussion, virtual discussion sections, and/or smaller self-organized breakout groups
  • Submitting a final project which demonstrates applied learning

The experience is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. The activities are asynchronous, meaning you can choose when within a given week you do them. Each week will require five to seven hours of work, with more guided work during the “learning” weeks (2, 3, 4, and 8) and more job-embedded practice and application during the other weeks of the module. Each participant will have a designated online learning facilitator whom he or she can contact directly for support.

Who Should Attend

Driving Change is intended for current leaders in preK-12 school systems, including:

  • Superintendents and district-level administrators
  • Directors of charter management organizations
  • Administrators at state agencies
  • Experienced principals and teachers who aspire to system-level roles
  • Teams of education leaders seeking to strengthen their skills and collaborative capabilities
Faculty Chair

Andrés Alonso is professor of practice at HGSE. A graduate of the Ed School’s Urban Superintendents Program, and former deputy chancellor for teaching and learning in New York City, Alonso served as CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools for six years. While in Baltimore, he led a reform effort that yielded marked improvement in achievement and climate data across all levels, and the first increases in enrollment in 40 years. A native of Cuba, Alonso graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced law before changing course and spending 12 years as a teacher of English language learners and students with disabilities in Newark, NJ, an experience that is at the core to his approach to leadership.

About the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership

The Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership is designed to help current and aspiring preK-12 system-level leaders develop a robust understanding of the complexities within educational systems, while honing the leadership skills to create transformational change.

The CAEL certificate is comprised of four online modules. All participants must complete the Leading Learning module, and can select three of the remaining four offerings. Leading Learning can be taken at any point within the certificate timeline. 

CAEL Modules:

Each module spans approximately 12 weeks. Coursework is flexible — you can begin with any module and complete modules in any order.

Following successful completion of four modules, a final assignment will be required to receive the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership. This final assignment provides an opportunity to reflect on the CAEL journey and to look forward, considering opportunities for further application.


  • Make visible to yourself key learnings from CAEL
  • Show evidence of your learning
  • Identify questions and next steps for continued learning

The project will result in a 2-3 page reflection and is due one month after your fourth CAEL module. The primary audience for this document is YOU. A facilitator will provide brief feedback.

Enrollment for Individuals

Enrollment Instructions

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)


Enrollment for Teams

Enrollment Instructions

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 must participate in the program and all team members must enroll in the same module to be eligible for the team rate.

The 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 and Policies

Tuition includes all instructional materials. Participants receive a certificate of competency as well as a letter confirming the amount of clock hours awarded per module (60 hours). CAEL does not provide course hour equivalents. 

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. While a purchase order confirms enrollment, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. 

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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