“The communication with other superintendents and presenters was highly impactful for me.” — SELF Participant
“Great connections made & discussions about extremely important/relevant topics” — SELF Participant
The SELF program at UC Davis’ Center for Applied Policy in Education (CAP-Ed) was conceived and created to support superintendents in their efforts to transform the central office to one whose primary focus is improvement of teaching and learning to eliminate inequities in schooling. SELF represents a significant shift away from “management”—a preoccupation with organizational issues—to instructional leadership. To accomplish this fundamental shift of focus, superintendents must provide the framework to build a common set of values and beliefs and a professional ethic of teaching that are at the core of all schools in order to provide learning opportunities for diverse students. It is also the recognition that schools, as organizations are central to improvement efforts. Schools are not just collections of individuals operating according to a loosely connected and rather fragile set of assumptions about education. They are communities whose success depends on agreed upon norms, practices and shared values. The philosophy driving SELF, that schools are communities requiring a common set of values and beliefs underlying a professional ethic of instructional leadership, infuses the SELF program’s curriculum and structure.
SELF brings K-12 superintendents together in a small group, collaborative-networking forum providing the opportunity to engage with preeminent thinkers in discussions about critical issues of education, to reflect on the ideas presented by various scholars, to share their own experiences, and to apply what they have learned to the improvement of teaching and learning in their own districts. Each year, with continued grant support from the Stuart Foundation, SELF enrolls a new cohort and launches a series of sessions.
Program Structure and Details
Each year a cohort comprising approximately 20 superintendents are invited. Selection criteria promote inclusion of superintendents from small and large; urban, suburban, and rural; and demographically representative districts.
Over six or seven months superintendents attend six six-hour sessions.
The purpose of SELF is to provide superintendents the opportunity to engage with preeminent thinkers in discussions about critical issues of education, to reflect on the ideas presented by various scholars, to share their own experiences, and to apply what they have learned to the improvement of teaching and learning in their own districts.