Harvard Leadership Program

Raise Your Hand Texas is deeply committed to supporting school leaders across Texas through our Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program.

Raise Your Hand Texas is proud of its nearly 800 alumni across Texas who have attended Harvard through the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program. Once principals return from their transformative summer at Cambridge, we work to continuously support and develop them professionally as part of our statewide network of school leaders. Here, four Texas principals describe what they learned at Harvard, and how it will alter their schools and the experiences of their students — for the better.

The Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program:

  • Selects the Best: Seated principals apply through a competitive process with Raise Your Hand Texas to attend a weeklong professional development summer course taught by internationally renowned and published faculty at the top-ranking graduate school of education in the country, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, MA. While at Cambridge, Raise Your Hand Texas supports principals in networking, setting goals and developing action plans for when they return to their campuses.
  • Continues the Learning: All principal alumni are eligible to attend our annual Reunion Conference. Here, Harvard professors return to expand on the learning and deepen the impact of the experience at Cambridge. In addition, local education experts come to collaborate with leaders in education across the state. Raise Your Hand Texas covers most fees and encourages as many alumni to attend as possible.
  • Connects for Collaboration: Principal alumni join the Raise Your Hand Texas Regional Leadership Collaborative. This collaborative connects alumni in regional groups to visit each other’s campuses, conduct Instructional Rounds, share best practices, and problem-solve on current issues in education. Through these groups, principals are empowered to work together to create change at their campuses and at the district level.
  • Provides Support: Raise Your Hand Texas Program Managers attend Harvard with the schools leaders. Upon returning, Raise Your Hand Texas staff conducts campus visits throughout the year to share resources and give feedback on implementation of ideas and action plans from the institutes. Raise Your Hand Texas staff also sends out monthly newsletters and manages an online website for principals to share materials and resources.

2015 Applications

2015 applications are now openRead the FAQ below for more information.

You can also nominate a principal today!

The Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program is a selective, weeklong professional development summer course taught by world-class faculty at one of the best graduate schools of education in the country, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, MA.As we are committed to providing ongoing support for Texas school leaders, Raise Your Hand Texas also organizes an annual two-day professional development-oriented reunion conference for all alumni of the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program.
At Raise Your Hand Texas, we recognize the critical role of human capital in building student achievement. Absent a higher salary structure for educators, the most powerful incentive to retain effective teachers is supportive leadership. As of summer 2013, our effort has invested in more than 605 principals, providing powerful leadership to an estimated 27,000 teachers and 400,000 students in Texas public schools.
We do! During the summer, Raise Your Hand Texas provides travel, hotel stay, tuition, and a $50 daily stipend for all principals accepted through Raise Your Hand Texas. For the reunion conference, there is no registration or participation fee, and Raise Your Hand Texas provides a one-night hotel stay for all out-of-town alumni.
Eligible applicants must be a current Texas public or public charter school principal. (Sorry, no assistant principals.)

If selected for the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program, we ask that participants:

  1. At Harvard:
    • Attend all classes at Harvard during their selected course
    • Write at least one blog post during their Harvard experience
    • Meet with an Raise Your Hand Texas staffer in Cambridge
  2. Back at school:
    • In early Fall 2014, write and submit a brief prospectus to Raise Your Hand Texas for your plan to implement your summer learning
    • During Fall 2014, present summer learning either to principal colleagues in the district, district administration, or both, and either invite the Raise Your Hand Texas team or videotape the presentation and send to Raise Your Hand Texas
    • Allow Raise Your Hand Texas staff to visit your campus once during the 2014-2015 school year
    • Grant Raise Your Hand Texas access to your campus data for internal program evaluation
    • Attend the 2015 Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Symposium and subsequent annual symposiums
    • Host or attend 1-2 Raise Your Hand Texas Alumni site visits

All components of the application are due on January 27 and are available here. Applicants will be notified of Raise Your Hand’s decision on April 25.

Applicants MUST apply through the Raise Your Hand Texas website and NOT through Harvard directly. If you apply on the Harvard website and not the Raise Your Hand Texas one, you will not be considered for the leadership program and thus will not be funded.

You will submit the following components:

  • Contact information for a recommender
  • Basic information
  • Preference for interview
  • Main essays
  • Short answer questions

In order for you to be considered for the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program, we must receive a recommendation for you from a professional supervisor.We request that your recommender be a direct supervisor who knows you well professionally and can speak very specifically about your performance. Your recommender should NOT submit a hard copy letter, as these will not be considered.

Raise Your Hand Texas highly recommends that you submit this form as soon as possible so that your recommender has ample time to respond to recommendation questions before the deadline of January 27.

In order to be accepted to the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program, you must be personally interviewed. Interviews are mandatory for acceptance and cannot be waived.Raise Your Hand Texas will invite applicants to schedule an interview starting in January, but you may receive an interview request up to the decision date on April 25. We cannot answer questions about your interview status or admissions status until final admissions decisions are made.

Should you be invited to interview, we prefer that you either use Skype or interview in-person. On your application, you will select one:

  • I have access to a webcam/microphone and will therefore be able to schedule an online interview via Skype.
  • I live in/will be able to travel at my own expense to the Houston area for an on-site interview at the Raise Your Hand Texas office.
  • I neither have access to a webcam nor can I travel to Houston. (Please note that while we will do our best to accommodate you, if you select this option, an interview, and therefore consideration for the program, cannot be guaranteed.)

You must answer TWO essay questions, each a maximum of 500 words. The first essay is common to all applicants; the second depends on which specific institute for which you will apply.You should spend the most time on the essays section, as this is the section that has the most bearing on Raise Your Hand’s selection.

    Describe a goal and action plan you have implemented at your campus. What challenges did you meet, what was your timeline for implementation, and what were the outcomes? What would you do differently if you had to implement the plan again?
  • ESSAY #2: Answer ONLY the question associated with the specific program you wish to apply to. Please clearly indicate in your document which essay you are choosing (500 word limit).
    1. Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership (June 22-June 28, 2014)
      NOTE: Limited to applicants with 1 to 3 years of experience as a principal.
      If you could change anything about your campus, what is the most significant thing you would change to improve student outcomes?
    2. Leadership: An Evolving Vision (July 6-July 12, 2014)
      NOTE: Limited to applicants with at least 3 years of experience as a principal.ESSAY QUESTION:
      Describe a situation where you made a leadership decision to implement significant change. Why was the change needed? How could you tell whether your implementation was successful?
    3. Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness (June 22-June 27, 2014)
      NOTE: Applicant must be a current secondary principal or have secured a secondary principalship for the 2013-2014 school year.ESSAY QUESTION:
      One of the greatest challenges in leading high schools is ensuring that all students complete high school ready for college or the workforce. Please describe how you have worked to make this possible on both fronts – college readiness and career readiness. How do you know whether you have been successful?
In consultation with Harvard, Raise Your Hand Texas will select 50 Texas principals for this year’s program. We look for excellent leadership qualities that great principals are known to possess.
Yes! Click here to go to our nomination form or e-mail programs@ryht.org with the contact information of a Texas public school principal or principals you would like to recommend. We will send an e-mail inviting them to apply. You can also nominate your principal on the Raise Your Hand Texas website.

Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership

June 22-June 28, 2014
Designed for school leaders in the early stages of their careers, the institute will help you to expand your leadership skills, explore how to enhance student learning and create success for yourself and your school.

Leadership: An Evolving Vision
July 6-July 12, 2014
Designed for experienced school leaders, this institute will help you to strengthen your leadership and management skills and revitalize your personal vision of leadership.

Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness
June 22-June 27, 2014
This program provides the theories, knowledge, tools and best practices necessary to redesign secondary schools so they can become powerful learning environments for both students and adults.

There are so many reasons! Here are just a few:

  • Research studies have found:
    • The quality of training principals receive once they are hired and throughout their careers has a lot to do with whether school leaders can meet the increasingly tough expectations of these jobs.
    • School leadership is a key factor in schools that outperform others with similar students.
  • Contemporary school administrators play many roles, ranging from educational visionaries and change agents to instructional leaders, curriculum and assessment experts, budget analysts, facility managers, special program administrators, and community builders. The urgent demands of the moment too often supersede the long-term, challenging work of improving instruction.
  • Meet fellow school leaders from across the country and across the world.
  • Become a Harvard alumnus/a!
It is always worth it to apply – you never know! Many Raise Your Hand Texas alumni are willing to offer feedback on essays, increasing your chances of getting in. Consider also that Raise Your Hand Texas is looking for passion, talent, and diversity in the Harvard Leadership corps. We have accepted principals from all across Texas, serving all types of schools (big, small, urban, rural, high-income, low-income), and we are constantly looking to expand our program’s reach.

Here are just a few of the things that you will learn during your summer at HGSE:

  • Master a step-by-step process for using data as a lever for school improvement
  • Experience ten protocols to engage your faculty in the collaborative use of data
  • Better understand how to use Excel® and PowerPoint® to analyze, display and tell your data story
  • Learn how to successfully lead faculty in examining instruction
  • Explore the school leader’s role in managing change
  • Apply the latest research and best practices to your own school improvement efforts
  • Develop skills and techniques to foster effective communication, team building, and inclusion
  • Learn to shape a school culture that supports learning for all
  • Develop an understanding of how adult learning and teacher development contribute to school improvement
  • Enhance your personal leadership capacity and instructional leadership skills
  • and much, much more!
Contact Dr. André Morgan, Program Director for Raise Your Hand Texas, at amorgan@ryht.org.