School Leader Programs
We are devoted to a system of growth and support for aspiring leaders. Through the Leadership Pathways & Development team, Denver Public Schools (DPS) is able to offer multiple distinct leadership preparation programs, which provide aspiring school leaders the opportunity to develop alongside an experienced and successful school leader. The programs are designed to consistently prepare new leaders for DPS leadership roles by offering course content that is aligned to our LEAD Framework while supporting development that meets the aspiring leader’s career goals.
To learn more about each program, click on each below.
Aspiring Teacher Leaders of Color Cohort (ATLOCC)
The Aspiring Teacher Leader of Color Cohort is an opportunity to uniquely develop transformative knowledge, skills, and mindsets to be a leader for equity in the Senior / Team Lead role.
Thrive Fellowship Cohort
The Thrive Fellowship Cohort is an opportunity for Senior/Team Leads, who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and are in year one or two of the role, to meet as a professional learning community to deepen their understanding of transformational leadership. In Denver Public Schools, we have made some progress in diversifying our ranks of teachers, principals, and assistant principals. Yet, our data shows that our Senior/ Team Lead roles continue to be the least diverse school leadership role. Additionally, we see a trend that our BIPOC Senior/ Team Leads often leave the teacher leader role within three years. As Denver Public Schools continue to address bias and prejudice in our district, we offer the Thrive Cohort as one way to empower BIPOC Senior/ Team Leads. This seven-month cohort experience will allow participants to meet in a professional learning community to deepen their understanding of transformational leadership and reflect on current problems of practice.
Ritchie - Traditional Licensure Programs
The Ritchie Program for School Leaders is offered in partnership with the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education - Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Grounded in equity pedagogy, systems thinking, adaptive leadership and improvement science, Ritchie engages participants in the real work of school leaderships. The program immerses students in graduate-level coursework and project-based learning that prepares them to meet the challenges within complex systems. Each student’s experience is customized to their individual needs and the school where they work. The graduate-level coursework is aligned with the DPS LEAD Framework, emphasizing culturally and linguistically responsive leadership and distributive leadership. Throughout the program, students are mentored by DU faculty and experienced DPS leaders. Graduates are eligible for a Colorado principal license, and students may choose to continue with 15 additional credit hours to complete a Master’s degree or continue for an EdD or PhD.
Denver Lead Today - Alternative Principal Licensure Coursework
Denver Public Schools (DPS) recognizes that not all qualified principals and assistant principals complete a traditional licensure program. To open this gateway, DPS offers Denver Lead Today (DLT) which is a tuition-free, alternative principal preparation curriculum that leads to licensure as outlined by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). This program is only open to school-based employees who have been hired into a position that requires a principal license in a school. The first step is to secure an assistant principal or principal position in DPS. DLT is a rigorous, standards-based leadership development course that offers participants the opportunity to be in a principal or assistant principal position while working toward an initial principal license.
Learn to Lead - Denver Principal Residency
Learn to Lead’s purpose is to grow future DPS principals who can lead for positive change in our schools and communities. Learn to Lead provides opportunities for aspiring principals to develop tools to be effective school leaders and change agents for the rest of their careers. This program is designed for experienced educators who possess leadership qualities and who want to build their leadership skills and dispositions.
Program components in Learn to Lead include a hybrid of classroom-based seminars, on-the-job practice, job-embedded projects, school visits and individualized coaching from mentor principals, program facilitator and executive coaches. The cohort model encourages connections among leaders where they can learn from and with one another. Each resident works alongside a school principal with a progressive release of principal responsibilities culminating in a two-week “Acting Principal Experience.”
New Principal and Assistant Principal Onboarding and Induction
In an effort to advance school leadership excellence and help every school leader succeed, the Leadership Pathways & Development team provides a comprehensive onboarding course to support the first-year development of new principals and assistant principals who are either new to their role and/or new to Denver Public Schools (DPS). The course is multiple courses that new leaders will complete over the course of the school year. The course offers learning and support in alignment with our mission and vision, including our commitment to racial and educational equity. This course will provide you with the tools and information needed to successfully carry out your job responsibilities. It will build the foundation of experiences that will help focus more squarely on equity and anti-racist practices in your day to day work. All new to the role and DPS principals and assistant principals are required to complete Onboarding. The completion of the course results in an induction certificate for those who need one.
Emily Griffith Campus, 9th floor
Brette Scott, Director, Internal Pathways & Development
Ellen Bernhardt, Site Manager