Office of Education


Beat the Odds School Leadership Academy

Beat the Odds School Leadership AcademyBeat the Odds School Leadership AcademyBeat the Odds School Leadership Academy

Great Schools, Great Leaders!

"There is no question that great schools are led by great leaders. This initiative recognizes the critical link between a strong principal, a strong teacher, and student achievement. It is my hope that, through our partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, Helios Education Foundation, and the Burton Family Foundation, we can unlock the potential in all public schools in Arizona, especially in those communities where students will most benefit from strong leadership."

Governor Doug Ducey, September 2016

Research has shown that that there can be no great schools without great school leaders. With the committment to making a difference for low income, low-achieving Latino students in Arizona, the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) set out to answer the question -- What does it take to get great results in schools with mostly low income, mostly Latino students? The results of their 2006 study led to the creation of the Beat the Odds (BTO) principal program in 2007 which to date has provided training and mentoring to more than 200 school leaders.

With the strong support from Governor Ducey and investments from Helios Education Foundation and the Burton Family Foundation, CFA is now expanding the success of the BTO program through a collaboration with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL). Together the two programs will create the Beat the Odds School Leadership Academy. By integrating BTO’s principal mentorship model with NISL’s nationally recognized research based principal training program, the Leadeship Academy is set to become a strong program that can serve aspiring and current school leaders across the state

Identified through a competitive application process, CFA established an outstanding cadre of Arizona NISL certified facilitators. These select individuals will become nationally certified NISL facilitators, leading training and providing mentoring as leaders who understand education in Arizona and are recognized in the field. The Arizona NISL facilitators are a diverse group with significant experience and expertise. Backgrounds include Rodel Exemplary Principals, National Blue Ribbon, charter and traditional public school leaders, A for Arizona leaders, Beat the Odds Mentors, and Teach for America alumni.

CFA will begin delivering NISL training through the BTO School Leadership Academy to cohorts of aspiring and current school leaders in fall of 2017.

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April 26, 2017

The Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today announced the launch of its Beat The Odds School Leadership Academy, a new resource available to traditional public school districts and charter school networks across the state. CFA leads the Beat The Odds School Leadership Academy and administers the program to enrolled participants. Executive training is delivered by a cadre of 20 proven school leaders from Arizona who are nationally certified to deliver training to current and aspiring principals. There is a critical link between a strong principal and student success. In fact, principals account for nearly 25% of a school’s total impact on student achievement. The BTO academy aligns with Governor Doug Ducey’s “Great Schools, Great Leaders” initiative to close the achievement gap and improve the quality of education in Arizona.


How BTO academy impacts Arizona schools

      • Equips leaders to lead for excellence and equity–for all learners, in every community.
      • Draws on the best practice of Arizona’s high-performing schools to show principals models of success that will have a positive impact in their schools.
      • Helps to close student achievement gaps and creates a culture of high expectations in schools.
      • Aids in building a pipeline for leadership talent within schools and school districts while enhancing teacher recruitment, retention and quality.

What enrolled participants can expect

The Beat The Odds School Leadership Academy is a sustainable program developed and led by the Center for the Future of Arizona.

Program Curriculum:

      • Nationally researched, evidence-based and locally delivered in a cohort model.
      • Improves the practice of leadership, transforms instruction and student achievement in schools.
      • Coursework spans strategic leadership, standards-based educational systems and instructional practices in math, English, history and science.
      • Consists of 12 two-day units, delivered in 12 to 15 months.
      • Bridged with online coursework, reading and job-embedded application of key concepts.

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