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First Ring Leadership Academy
A Professional Development Program for Teacher Leaders
  • Promotes collaboration with learners.
  • Provides opportunities for learners to utilize communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Encourages self-directed learning.
  • Provides learners with the skills and processes of leadership.
Meetings are held once a month and are comprised of teachers from First Ring Districts.
One of the goals of the First Ring Schools Collaborative is to support networks of colleagues in similar roles and to encourage collaboration in professional development, skills training, and the sharing of "best practices" to improve student outcomes.  A related goals is to share "lessons learned" that address the unique challenges of First Ring Districts, including poverty, mobility, cultural diversity, and efforts to close the achievement gap.  The First Ring Leadership Academy addresses these goals and promotes a commitment to advancing the professional knowledge and expertise of the participants.  The program utilizes a cohort model that alternates annually between newly appointed administrators and teacher leaders.
For more information, contact Jennifer Dodd, at 216-901-4240 or
2018-19 First Ring Leadership Academy Summary
First Ring Leadership Academy 
On Friday, October 19, both the teachers and students from the participating First Ring school districts came together at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland for the first session of the First Ring Student Leadership Academy. This academy focuses on building community awareness and leadership through Youth Participatory Action Research, a research methodology that empowers youth by focusing on the issues important to them and by emphasizing student-adult collaboration in developing solutions. Participating students from each high school select an issue at their school and conduct research on its causes and possible solutions, guided by an adult mentor from their district who is participating in the adult Leadership Academy cohort. 

At the first session, each district’s team of student leaders selected an issue at their school to investigate and try to help solve. Working in pairs and guided by their teacher leader mentors, students analyzed the causes and effects of the issue, further narrowing their topic through root cause analysis. Before they left, each team had created a concept map to further refine and share with their district administrators.  Some potential topics include mental health, substance abuse, high school dropouts, misuse of technology, and student voice and communication.

At the second session, to be held December 14 at Cuyahoga Community College Metro campus, student leaders and their mentors will learn about different forms of data collection used in action research. Teams will develop a research plan for investigating their chosen issue and will create the tools they will need to gather their data.

Student leaders will be regularly asked to complete assignments between sessions and, before the third session and with the guidance of their teacher leader mentors, will use the tools they developed to gather data on their chosen issue. Teams will bring their data to the third session, to be held February 15 at Baldwin-Wallace University, where they will learn to analyze their results. With their mentors, student leaders will review their results to identify causes, effects and possible solutions. Teams will learn how to develop action plans for sharing their results and recommending solutions.

At their final session on May 17, student leaders and their teacher leader mentors will present their results and recommendations to the First Ring superintendents.
First Ring Leadership Academy Meeting - October 19, 2018
2017-18 First Ring Leadership Academy Graduation

Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio
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P:(216) 524-3000  |  F:(216) 524-3683  |
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State Support Team 3
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