Regional Leaders Academy
The Regional Leaders Academy (RLA), a prototype collaboration between the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) and the University of Pittsburgh School Library Certification Program (SLCP), is funded through a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) by Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education. RLA is an innovative, immersive professional development experience designed to strengthen and support librarians in PA schools and in PSLA, to assure that Pennsylvania students will have strong and effective school library programs led by librarians who are leaders in their schools, their regions, and their professional associations. Participants are charged with spreading an awareness among stakeholders of the essential role school libraries play in K-12 student learning and achievement.
RLA, based on the successful models of the Emerging and Sustaining Leaders Academies, will create and implement the inaugural Key Communicators Network across three PA regions (East, Central, and West) encompassing nine PA districts, 29 Intermediate Units, and 67 counties. These leaders will serve as a two- way conduit of information between the librarians in their designated area and PSLA. They’ll communicate the needs and concerns of these librarians to PSLA leadership and communicate information and professional development from PSLA to these librarians. Participants--selected competitively from a robust pool of applicants from across Pennsylvania—will learn from a team of like-minded, energetic librarians and experienced mentors to vitalize and update the leadership competencies they need to communicate, collaborate, develop, and sustain working relationships with multiple constituencies with differing priorities in changing environments.
Regional Leaders will:
Meet and plan with their fellow participants and their mentors at Orientation during the PSLA Annual Conference in Hershey, PA, on March 30, 2017.
Participate in the three-day Immersion Experience in Leadership on June 19-20-21, 2017, in Chambersburg, PA.
Launch the Key Communicators Network at the PSLA Leadership meeting on July 11-12, 2017 in Hershey, PA.
Participate in the Virtual Academy, a series of monthly competency-refining experiences and communications offered through interactive video conferencing provided by the University of Pittsburgh from April 2017 through April 2018.
Present a conference session on the Key Communicators Network and participate in the graduation ceremony at the 2018 PSLA Conference on May 5, 2018.
School librarians can lead from the middle as effective “teacher leaders” within their schools and their districts and serve as leaders in their professional associations as well. Most importantly, they can speak as part of this education community for the right of all PA students to have access to an effective school library program to help them meet PA Core Standards and succeed academically. Pennsylvania needs school library leaders who can accomplish all three challenges.
Mary K. Biagini, PhD
Project Director, Regional Leaders Academy