CSDC’s Leadership Program Turns 20 this Summer

Published June 24, 2019 10:45

By Leslie Loy

Sacramento, CA—CSDC’s leadership program will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with its 2019 cohort. To commemorate this special occasion, CSDC alumni and supporters will gather to acknowledge the monumental growth of both CSDC and the charter movement, and the significance of this program towards that progress.

Established in 1999, the Leadership Institute (LI) was a competitive and highly selective program offered to the top levels of charter leadership. From its early inception, the program was known for its rigor and “boot camp-like” intensity, where participants were in session for long hours, worked intensely on collaborative projects, and were trained on important charter, California, and federal education compliance regulations, while developing administrative and staff tools meant to support their charter schools to be successful. CSDC’s core mission is to support charter schools to be well-rounded public educational centers that run efficiently and effectively while ensuring that students receive quality, free, accessible, and innovative education.

When the program was renamed in 2017 to the Leadership Intensive, that founding principle remained as a core programmatic focus. Changes in the program’s application process allowed more applicants to apply, especially those who were being trained by their schools to take on future administrative and leadership roles. The program, which now runs for four very full days, covers topics that range from the history of charter schools, to better understanding and preparing for important data and accountability responsibilities—such as the LCAP, as well as charter law issues, legal compliance issues, staff retention and development priorities, governing board responsibilities, finance oversight and management responsibilities, strategic development, facilities planning, and so much more.

In its 20 years, LI has served and trained over 900 individual charter leaders, significantly impacting California’s charter schools by providing their leaders with access to some of the most reputable experts in the movement. The program, which was founded and is led by Eric Premack, CSDC’s Executive Director and Founder, and other key CSDC staff, has grown over the years to include more presenters from the field, including executive directors, principals, board members, CBOs, and others, who can speak to the increasing complexity that informs charter school management and which falls to charter school leaders to navigate. Similarly, these presenters and guest instructors can attest to the need for cross-pollinating professional development and training to ensure that schools are well-informed to their legal responsibilities while also tending to the day-to-day needs of the diverse educational needs of California’s students. Like all CSDC programs, LI has a historically eclectic representation within its participant constellation: participants represent and share different pedagogical philosophies, educational, classroom, and school structures, as well as ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity reflecting the vast needs and realities of California’s students.

This year’s Intensive will welcome 67 new participants representing 46 California charter schools into its 20th cohort. The program will take place in Folsom on the American River at the end of June.

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