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NYC Leadership Academy Takes National Stage

From guest blogger Alyssa Morones

The NYC Leadership Academy has been working to improve school leadership since its inception in 2003, but now the organization is hoping to further its mission of improving student achievement through school leadership with a new website and national campaign.

The NYC Leadership Academy is a nonprofit that works to develop effective student-focused school leadership, particularly for high-needs schools. Today, one in six of New York City's principals is an academy graduate.

The academy emphasizes hands-on and job-embedded learning, practical skills, and self reflection; coaches and supports current leaders; and works with school systems to design programs and strategies to improve their school leadership pipelines.

The Leadership Academy has partnerships with school districts, state education departments, universities, and nonprofit organizations nationwide in 24 different states.

"We help design programs specific to each school system's location and help them develop their own training programs," said Vivan Brady-Phillips, a spokeswoman for the academy.

But the learning and development isn't a one-way street.

"Every time we work in a new place, we learn from our partners and they learn from us," said Brady-Phillips. "We want to continue that dialogue."

The organization's new website, www.TakeChargeofChange.org, not only seeks to expand this national outreach, but also intends to highlight how school leadership can affect student academic achievement.

Brady-Phillips said, "We wanted to be able to share the story of the work we've been doing and make a statement about how focusing on school leadership practice influences a school's success and creates conditions that enables teachers to be more successful."

NYC Leadership Academy CEO, Irma Zardoya said that despite the positive feedback the organization has received from school systems it works with, "when they talked to other people about it, they didn't recognize us or know who we were. This is an effort on our part to cast a wider net."

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