SCOPE (Statewide Communities of Practice for Excellence)

Current SCOPE Cohorts

Why SCOPE is an opportunity for emerging leaders in education:

The University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development (EDH), in cooperation with all Virginia school district members of the UVA K-12 Advisory Council, offers a two-year leadership development program comprised of cohorts of high potential school administrators. The purpose of the program is to develop and support a cadre of exemplary leaders (current principals, assistant principals, and central office instructional specialists) through the establishment of a statewide community of practice. 

The curriculum for Statewide Communities of Practice for Excellence (SCOPE) was collaboratively developed by school superintendents and senior educational leaders working closely with faculty at the University. It focuses on leadership topics developed and taught by senior educational leaders and EDH faculty around two major themes—Leading People and Leading Learning. Sessions offer new ways of thinking about selected themes, opportunities to engage in dialogue with peers from a variety of school systems across the state, and time to reflect on the implications of the ideas for individual practice and school improvement.

Started in 2005, SCOPE strives to provide school-based leaders with experiences designed to sustain and enhance their long-term effectiveness and to promote local school district succession planning. SCOPE provides opportunities to gain professional insight within diverse settings and to equip identified practicing leaders with a knowledge base and skill set to support their success as school leaders. Sessions are hosted in various school venues across the state giving participants opportunities to appreciate a wide-range of educational settings.  The program is organized into workshops and topical group projects. The workshops are a sequenced set of eleven, one-day sessions over two academic years addressing five major domains of leadership. The topical group projects, or capstone projects, are self-selected based on problems of practice that participants would like to investigate more deeply. These capstone groups are supported with resource guides and coaches with expertise in the identified area. Program content is aligned with the State of Virginia’s Uniform Performance Standards and to the PSEL standards. 

The program has been recognized by the Wallace Foundation as meeting criteria for high quality professional development for school leaders and has been admitted to the national Wallace Foundation Programs of Promising Practice Network. Including the participants in replication projects that we have provided in Southside and Southwest Virginia, approximately over 750 school leaders have been served since 2005.


SCOPE Topical Areas of Focus

The SCOPE curriculum is organized around five major domains of leadership with guiding questions for each.


Forging Shared Purposes

What are our core beliefs and values?  What aspirations do we have for our school community?  What commitments are we willing to make? How do we align our collective commitments for actions (i.e., vision as means, not end)?  How do we consider diversity among core beliefs and values while still moving the organization forward?

Nurturing Culture

How do we define and assess a healthy culture? What tools are available to access culture? How do we cultivate a safe and caring environment that meets the needs of the school community?  What is our role in nurturing culture?  How do we establish an agreed upon vocabulary to define each of the terms related to culture?

Cultivating People

How do we further grow human capacity in our schools?  How do we foster ongoing adult learning? How do we establish and sustain a professional culture of engagement and commitment for the education of students?

Designing Organizations 

How do we structure the organization’s systems to realize our aspirations and meet the needs of people?  How do we align school structures, policies, and standard practices with our shared purposes?

Leading Learning

What are we aspiring to have students learn? How will we know if it occurs? What strategies might we use to address issues of educational equity?