Get the resources you need to take your school to the next level

Applications are closed

Check back in the fall to apply for the 2023 Growth Accelerator

The Growth Accelerator: with the right leader and the right systems in place, it is possible to give all students a high-quality education. 

The Growth Accelerator supports current K-12 school principals and their leadership teams in creating more equitable schools by developing systems and leadership skills that advance equity work in their buildings and lead to student academic success. The intersection of leadership and systems is the core of equity work, and the focus of all program content is on helping leaders develop their abilities in these areas.

As the places where children spend most of their time learning, we want our schools to reflect the world we would like to see; to reduce inequity rather than increase it. In order to do that, we must rethink the way we approach schooling, shifting from a focus on changing student behavior and mindsets to changing systems and adult mindsets. The Growth Accelerator supports each individual school and school leader in our program to identify and eliminate school dysfunction and inequities.

The Growth Accelerator focuses on three core principles of what schools need:

  1. Systems, structures, and adult mindsets that align with the expectation that all students will achieve.
  2. A positive, relationships-based culture that fosters student belonging and is conducive to high levels of achievement.
  3. Instruction that centers on what (and which) students learned, with support to make high achievement possible.

Putting it all together

This is more than just coaching: over the course of this three-year program, Growth Accelerator leaders will grapple with content in small groups, assess and reflect on the current state of their own school and their own personal leadership skills, and create a strategic plan to implement at their school.

Through monthly Forums, participants are empowered to deepen their understanding and skills with ongoing professional learning, cohort problem-solving, and continued progress monitoring and course correction of their strategic plan.

Individual leadership support through one-on-one Advisory brings the intersection of leadership development together with system development. In these coaching sessions, leaders are focused on further developing their individualized leadership growth plan.

Growth Accelerator Leaders are uniquely trained in the following ways: 

  • Strategic Planning: start with a strategic plan based on opportunities and challenges of the school and proven practices
  • Visibility and Accountability: centers on proactive measurement and iteration, constantly asking the question, “Is it working?”
  • Shortened Data Cycles: weekly feedback on whether students are learning which allows principals to enable remediation and continuous teaching improvement
  • Course Correction: monthly one-on-one Advisory sessions help principals determine what is/is not working and develop proactive course correction for students and teachers while there is still time to make adjustments before high-stakes assessments
  • Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement: develop a schoolwide culture for students, teachers, and staff steeped in the value of continuous learning and growth


Madison Metropolitan School District

The best. Bar none… This training was tailored specifically to me and my school’s needs. It set the entire year up for success!

Growth Accelerator FAQs

How does the Growth Accelerator work?



Experts conduct 3 school assessments a year over a 3-year period to establish and measure school goals and priorities.


Academic Foundation

Enrollment in Accelerate Summer Institute

Strategic planning skill development

Weekly cohort meetings

Develop and refine management capabilities to drive organizational change


3-Year Support Model

Strategic development of data systems that analyze cultural and academic
indicators of school success

Customized support in developing school action plans grounded in the data

One-on-one Advisory support to build transformational leadership skills

Access to a national network
of Accelerate Institute leaders

What is the cost?

Accelerate Institute identifies champion investors to fund the full cost of the program. Because of this, there is no financial cost to schools that are accepted into the Growth Accelerator.

Who benefits from the Growth Accelerator?

  • School Principals: Develops a school leader’s knowledge and skills in change management, systems development, and the Transformational Leadership Building Blocks in order to accelerate academic growth
  • Principal Managers/Supervisors: Levels up the ability to manage and support school leaders by creating alignment with the team and their plans
  • Leadership Team: Elevates their ability to accelerate academic growth

How can my school apply for the Growth Accelerator?

The principal of the school should complete the school’s application. The selection process for the Growth Accelerator includes the following steps:

  • Application
  • Principal Phone Screen
  • Staff Survey (75% of all instructional staff must complete)
  • School Assessment (includes interviews with the principal, principal manager, and leadership team if needed.
  • Dashboard Review (Accelerate Institute staff will review the results of the School Assessment with the school principal and the principal’s manager/supervisor)
  • Sign MOU to confirm participation

Please contact Erin Brooks at for more information.

What are the selection criteria for the Growth Accelerator?
As schools move through the selection process our team will be looking for the following criteria:

  • School is a public school (traditional district or charter) located in an Accelerator region (2022 Accelerator: Chicago)
  • Principal Manager/Supervisor is invested in school participation in the Growth Accelerator
  • Principal exhibits growth mindset, recognizing the opportunity for growth and change at their schools and with their own leadership
  • Healthy adult culture; teaching staff and leadership team are supportive of principal’s vision for the school even if that vision includes change
  • Principal is a strategic thinker who is committed to improving their school so students are successful academically and feel safe, respected, and motivated
  • Principal commits to attend Accelerate Summer Institute (10 days); Leadership Team Members commit to attend select Accelerate Summer Institute sessions

Questions? Please contact Erin Brooks at

Should your school apply for the 2022 Growth Accelerator?

Take this quick eligibility questionnaire

What are the Objectives of the Accelerate Framework?

Accelerate Institute developed the Accelerate Framework to guide school change; it is the basis for assessing a school’s strengths, areas of growth, and opportunities and is grounded in patterns found in successful gap-closing schools.

1. Change Management: Strategic planning is used to guide change management with an 80/20 focus

2. High-Performing Team: The team is committed to the vision, strategies, and tactics to accomplish school/team goals.

3. Constructive Environment: A highly constructive learning environment exists that supports academic productivity.

4. Aspirational Environment: A highly aspirational learning environment exists that honors student experience while inspiring future accomplishments

5. Data-Driven Culture: Assessment data is used to drive differentiation

6. Black Belt Teaching: Teachers effectively plan and implement the curriculum

What are the Transformational Leadership Building Blocks?

These 9 competencies are integral to a leader’s ability to implement meaningful change. Just as schools are continuous works in progress, so are leaders themselves. Truly transformational leaders continue to develop and refine their abilities in the Building Blocks.

  • Get It: Understand all the challenges and complexities of leading in a historically underperforming, under-resourced school and neighborhood
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning: Goal-oriented with the ability to prioritize while creating strong systems, structures, and processes within the school that are efficient and effective
  • Communication: Effectively communicate to a wide variety of audiences (parents, students, staff, etc.) in both verbal and written format
  • Instruction: Possess a clear understanding of the learning standards and effective teaching practice
  • Professionalism: Display professionalism and maturity by meeting all deadlines and exhibiting behavior, communication, and body language that is consistently respectful and positive
  • Relationship Building: Build trust and loyalty amongst entire staff; operate with candor and transparency; leverage their strengths and emotional intelligence
  • Coachability: Exhibit self-awareness and openness to discuss their own strengths and weaknesses and implement action steps that lead to growth
  • Resilience: Demonstrate persevering through challenges with a focus on the original goal
  • Confidence: Stand up for beliefs and have the ability to make important decisions, even when unpopular; the leader’s presence exudes a perfect balance of confidence and humility

What should I know about Accelerate Summer Institute?

The Accelerator program starts with Accelerate Summer Institute (Year 1 only). This time acts as the academic foundation for principals and their leadership teams. Every year, Accelerator principals share that Summer Institute is one of the most important and helpful experiences, allowing them the space to reflect, learn, connect, grow, and prepare their strategic plans for the upcoming school year.

In 2022, Accelerate Summer Institute will be held over the course of 10 days with the cohort gathering in person for sessions on Tuesday, August 2; all other Accelerate Summer Institute dates will take place via a virtual classroom.


  • July 11-15, 2022: Days 1-5 of Accelerate Summer Institute for Principals; a complete schedule will be shared later in the spring, but for now we ask you to block off 9:00 am-5:00 pm on your calendar
  • July 19, 21, 26, 28, and August 2, 2022: Days 6-10 of Accelerate Summer Institute for Principals; please block off 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on your calendar

Non-Principal Leadership Team Members

July 11-15, 2022: Accelerator Leadership Team Members attend select sessions at Accelerate Summer Institute (exact schedule TBD; expect to participate/complete about 3-4 sessions during the week)

Accelerate Institute Principals Across the United States 

Accelerate Institute has supported more than 30 principals through targeted region-based programming with the Growth Accelerator. The program supports these principals for three years to ensure their success as transformational school leaders.



Los Angeles




Chicago Growth Accelerator Fund Investors

John and Rita Canning Family Foundation

Beth and Larry Gies

Illinois Tool Works Foundation

Annie and Gregory K. Jones Family

Mike and Lindy Keiser

Carol and Larry Levy

Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation

Muneer Satter and Kristen Hertel/Satter Foundation

Bruce and Beth White

Applications are closed

Check back in the fall to apply for the 2023 Growth Accelerator