The Harvard School Turnaround Leaders Institute provides your campus leadership team the opportunity to develop or refine your campus’ targeted improvement plan or turnaround plan to ensure buy-in and improve academic performance. The 2018 session will be held 6/11/18- 6/15/18.

By the end of the program your team will understand how to:

  • Develop a theory of action to achieve rapid improvement.
  • Use data to set strategy, assess progress, and drive decision-making at the classroom and school levels.
  • Learn how to transform school culture and foster high-quality instruction.
  • Acquire strategies for communicating your vision.

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.

Application Process

Raise Your Hand Texas is sponsoring campus leadership teams serving Texas public schools to attend the Harvard School Turnaround Leaders Institute. Sponsorship includes tuition, airfare, hotel accommodations and a stipend. Teams consist of up to five team members; all applicants must currently be a member of a campus leadership team assigned to an Improvement Required (IR) Year 1 or above campus.

Application and selection is a five-step process:

  1. Online application: Team Leaders must submit an application form and campus targeted improvement plan or turnaround plan. All applicants must submit essays. All materials are due at 9 a.m. on December 1, 2017.
  2. Application review and selection: Applications will be reviewed and finalists selected by January 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 teams will be notified by March 23, 2018.
  5. Team confirmation: Team leaders must submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by April 9, 2018.

Online Application Details

  • The campus principal will function as the team leader. The team leader is responsible for starting the team application and serving as the primary point of contact for the team.

Preview and print the team application form here: Team Application Form

  • Teams are required to work together to complete a CAMPUS OVERVIEW essay that describes their current approach to improving academic performance on their campus.
  • Individual team members are required to work independently on an essay that identifies a PERSISTENT PROBLEM on their campus.
  • Essays must be submitted by individual team members as a Google Doc shared with Raise Your Hand Texas (see template below).

Preview and print the essay questions and submission instructions here: School Turnaround Leaders Essay Template Preview

  • Team leaders must submit their 2017-2018 targeted improvement plan or turnaround plan by email or Google Drive.
  • If your team is selected, the team leader is responsible for getting signatures and submitting the team’s MOU.

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

Eligibility & Team Makeup

To be eligible, applicants must be part of campus leadership teams assigned to a campus identified as IR Year 1 or above. Team leaders must be the campus principal. A change in principal after your team is selected will result in forfeiture of your team’s 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.

Campus leadership teams (comprised of up to 5 individuals) must include:

  1. The principal (acts as team leader)
  2. At least one teacher leader, defined as a classroom teacher that serves in a formal or informal instructional leadership role. A full-time instructional coach does not qualify as a teacher leader.
  3. The district coordinator of school improvement (DCSI) or principal supervisor.

The remaining two spots may be filled by assistant principals, school counselors, instructional coaches, a local Education Service Center turnaround team member, the campus’ professional service provider (PSP) or other staff essential to your campus turnaround.

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 implementation of your school turnaround plan and targeted implementation plan
  • 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. 11-15

School Turnaround Leaders Institute