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.

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 2014, our effort has invested in 792 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 hotel accommodations 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. On-site at Harvard:
    • Attend all classes at Harvard during their selected course.
    • Meet with an Raise Your Hand Texas staffer in Cambridge.
  2. Post-Harvard
    • Construct and submit a brief prospectus to Raise Your Hand Texas for your plan to implement your summer learning.
    • Present summer learning either to principal colleagues in the district, district administration, or both, and invite the Raise Your Hand Texas team.
    • Allow Raise Your Hand Texas staff to visit your campus once during the 2015-2016 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 29, 2015 and are available on the Raise Your Hand website. Applicants will be notified of Raise Your Hand’s decision in April 2015.

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 site, you will not be considered for the leadership program and thus will not be funded.

The application has a four-step admissions process which include:

  • Step 1: Application (including two essays)
  • Step 2: Critical Thinking Exercise
  • Step 3: In-Depth Interview
  • Step 4: Group Interview

Due to the limited number of slots, not all applicants will advance to the subsequent stages of the above four-step process.

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 experience and performance. Applicants who advance to the Group Interview stage (step 4) will be asked to submit a recommendation.

For those applicants who advance to the interview stages, there will be individual and group interviews.

You must answer TWO essay questions, each a maximum of 1000 words. The first essay is common to all applicants; the second depends on which specific institute for which you will apply.

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.
School Turnaround Leaders (June 1 – 5, 2015).
This institute will allow you to analyze elements critical to your school’s turnaround plan. You will gain key leadership skills and learn strategies for successful implementation. Specific topics include understanding the importance of high instructional quality and expectations, translating data into action, developing effective teams, leading a change effort, and creating meaningful engagement with community and external partners. By the end of the program, you will understand how to: transform school culture, identify and achieve early success, measure results, understand how to best align school-level efforts with district and state goals, and implement a new theory of action.

Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership June 21-27, 2015.
This Institute helps you identify areas of school improvement, establish priorities, develop strategies, and build a base of support around a change initiative. You will explore successful models for school improvement, learn how to lead and manage change, and understand how to implement curriculum innovation. Through research-based curriculum, you will focus on effective supervision and evaluation, multiple approaches to solving leadership challenges and how to best support teaching and learning in the classroom. Upon completion of the program you will have examined your own leadership challenges in the context of instruction improvement and learned methods to lead and manage your school more effectively. The Institute is designed for all school leaders and is particularly suited for those in the early years of their careers.

National Institute for Urban School Leaders (July 6-11, 2015).
This institute will 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.

Leadership: An Evolving Vision July 12-18, 2015.
This Institute provides tools and strategies to help you become more adaptive and responsive to constantly changing school environments. You will connect theory to practice in an effort to improve individual, group and organizational performance within the context of your school. Through plenary sessions, group discussions and personal reflection, you will assess the effectiveness of your leadership style and strengthen your skills to be better positioned to meet current and future challenges. The highly interactive environment will help you to strengthen your leadership and management skills and revitalize your personal vision of leadership. This Institute is designed for all school leaders.

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!

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.