Leading for Learning | Chalkboard Project

Leading for Learning

A focus on instructional leadership across all schools and districts in Oregon

Leading for Learning

The Leading for Learning (LFL) initiative is school leadership program and has two components, Aspiring Leaders and Current Leaders. Each component is designed to ensure every student has access to a high-quality education by:  

  • Preparing and supporting a new generation of highly effective principals  
  • Deepening instructional leadership skills in existing school district administration

Leading for Learning: Aspiring Leaders

The Aspiring Leaders program, in partnership with Portland State University and COSA Leads, is centered on rethinking principal preparation programs with a strong focus on: 

  • Instructional leadership 
  • Rigorous and relevant coursework  
  • Full-time release internship for one semester 
  • Increasing and retaining a diverse pipeline of principal preparation candidates including people of color, women, and other individuals from historically underrepresented groups. 

The goal of both PSU and COSA Leads is to prepare at least 120 highly effective new school principals by the 2018-19 school year. 

Leading for Learning: Current Leaders

Chalkboard Project is partnering with the nationally acclaimed Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) from the College of Education, University of Washington to enhance superintendents and central office staffs' ability to support principals. The two-year program focuses on equity and instructional leadership. The CEL curriculum gives participants tools to demonstrate measurable increased in improving instructional leadership performance of principals. 

The Current Leaders program currently impacts:

  • 3 cohorts, including 159 central office staff 
  • 44 school districts 
  • 1 charter school  
  • 64% K-12 students

Why a focus on instructional leadership?

The daily responsibilities of running a school and managing school districts can be overwhelmed with administrative tasks, including: budgets, discipline, sustaining community relationships, and school maintenance emergencies. While these important undertakings help schools run smoothly, instructional leadership–observing teachers in the classroom and giving feedback and support–tends to receive less attention. Leading for Learning is designed to help alleviate this by strengthening the instructional leadership skills of aspiring principals and existing school district administrators.  

Instructional leaders prioritize improvement of teaching and learning first. They prioritize time for these endeavors over their non-instructional duties, such as managing facilities and budgets. Instructional leadership includes

  • Coaching teachers 
  • Providing meaningful professional development 
  • Skilled and rigorous performance evaluation 
  • Creating a culture of high expectations of academic success for all students, especially those from underserved groups 


In July 2015, the state legislature appropriated $2 million to support educational leadership throughout the state. Five months later, Chalkboard was successful in becoming the technical assistant provider to the Oregon Department of Education through a competitive bidding process and continues to help lead recruitment and program efforts for both prongs of the initiative.

School administrators, Jennifer Patterson and Oscar Mareno Gilson, sharing ideas at a 2015 Leading for Learning meeting