The Harvard Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership Institute provides the opportunity to expand leadership skills and explore new ways to enhance student learning and create success for yourself, your leadership team, and your school. The 2018 session will be held 6/24/18 – 6/30/18.

By the end of the program you will understand how to:

  • Apply research and best practices in developing school improvement efforts focused on increasing student engagement.
  • Deepen your understanding of adult learning and become a more skilled developer of teacher talent.
  • Shape a school culture that supports learning for all.
  • Develop more sophisticated techniques for managing innovation and change.

For a detailed explanation of the program visit the Harvard website. NOTE: Applicants who apply directly to The Principals’ Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education will not be eligible for funding from Raise Your Hand Texas. Raise Your Hand Texas applicants must complete this application below and do not need to complete an additional application to The Principal’s Center on the Harvard website.

Apply to Attend

Raise Your Hand Texas is sponsoring individual principals serving Texas public schools to attend the Harvard Improving Schools: Art of Leadership. Sponsorship includes tuition, airfare, hotel accommodations and a stipend.

Application and selection is a five-step process:

  1. Online application: Applicants must submit an application form, essays, and their resume. All materials are due at 9 a.m. on December 1, 2017.
  2. Application review and selection: Applications will be reviewed and finalists selected byJanuary 5, 2018.
  3. Interview process: Finalists are required to participate in a virtual/video interview process that begins January 15, 2018.
  4. Final selection: Selected finalists will be notified by March 23, 2018.
  5. Attendee confirmation: Attendees must submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by April 9, 2018.

Online Application Details

Preview and print the application form here: Individual Application Form

  • Applicants are required to complete two 500-word essays. Essay 1 is a CAMPUS OVERVIEW essay that describes their current approach to improving academic performance on their campus. Essay 2 is a PROBLEM OF PRACTICE essay that identifies a campus-level problem of practice and explains why they think this institute will help address this problem.
  • Essays must be submitted as a Google Doc shared with Raise Your Hand Texas (see template below).

Preview and print the essay questions and submission instructions here: Art of Leadership Essay Template Preview (view only).

  • Applicants must submit their current resume as an email attachment.
  • If selected, you must agree to the terms in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU).

Preview and print the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) here: 2018 Memorandum of Agreement


To be eligible, applicants must be a current Texas public school head principal who intends to remain a principal or district leader in a Texas public school in the 2018-19 school year. A change in role after you are selected may result in forfeiture of your sponsorship.

Applicants sponsored by Raise Your Hand Texas to participate in the Harvard Leadership Program in 2017 are NOT eligible to apply for sponsorship in 2018. Those sponsored in any previous year (2008-2016) ARE eligible to apply. If you previously attended The Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education through an organization other than Raise Your Hand Texas, you may apply.

Expectations of Attendees

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

Before Harvard

  • Identify a campus-level and individual problem of practice
  • Develop goals for summer learning
  • Communicate with Raise Your Hand Texas on program deadlines, travel, and other logistics
  • Submit campus plans to Raise Your Hand Texas
  • Sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) certifying that you agree to the terms of the partnership

During Harvard

  • Attend all classes at Harvard during selected course
  • Participate in all Harvard activities and complete all assignments
  • Participate in all Raise Your Hand Texas events


  • Construct and submit a prospectus to Raise Your Hand Texas explaining your plan for applying your summer learning to the addressing your problem of practice
  • Submit related campus documents as requested
  • Make revisions to your plan and keep Raise Your Hand Texas updated on progress throughout the year
  • Attend the 2019 Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Symposium
  • Grant Raise Your Hand Texas access to your campus data for internal program evaluation
  • Attend at least one Raise Your Hand Texas alumni site visit
  • Volunteer to host a Raise Your Hand Texas site visit

Key Dates

DEC. 1

Application deadline for summer 2018 Harvard Institutes – 9:00 a.m. CST.

JAN. 5

Finalists are notified they are accepted for an interview.

JAN. 15

Final interviews begin.

MAR. 23

Final selections are complete and applicants are informed.

APR. 9

Finalists confirm participation.

JUN. 24-30

Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership Institute