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RISE Urban Principal Preparation

Helping school leaders put equity initiatives into practice

Applications are being accepted now for the RISE Urban Principal Preparation (RISE UPP) program, a free learning opportunity that aims to create a pipeline for principals and teacher-leaders who are committed to advancing equity in San Diego County’s urban schools. It's made possible through a partnership between San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), RISE San Diego, and Teach for America (TFA). 

RISE UPP participants are:

  • Current principals (fewer than five years of experience)
  • Future principals (those already enrolled in an administrative credential program and those who will soon enroll)
  • Teacher-leaders who are interested in school leadership

The program provides a concentrated focus on cultivating an equity mindset for transforming San Diego’s urban schools into places of excellence and innovation. RISE UPP complements administrative credential programs.

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SDCOE's Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program provides course completion credit to participants, which means fellows will receive class credit, reducing the amount of time, number of assignments, and cost of the administrator credential.

Longstanding educational research tells us that effective school transformation not only requires principals steeped in knowledge of cutting edge pedagogies and technology, relationship-building inside and outside of the school, conflict mediation, and visionary thinking about preparation for college and career; sustainable school transformation requires leaders who can simultaneously shape, direct, and move stakeholders through multiple dimensions of school change. These dimensions – technical, cultural/normative, and political – require a multifaceted skill set of technical knowledge (e.g., pedagogy, flexible grouping of students, technology), cultural or normative mindsets at the individual and school levels (e.g., asset-based approaches to student learning and teacher support, creating healthy school cultures), and political maneuvering (e.g., relationship-building and engagement, strategic partnerships). Graduates of RISE UPP will be able to leverage their multifaceted technical, cultural and political skills through an equity mindset to facilitate urban school transformation in San Diego schools.

Fellows will experience:

  • An active learning environment for exploring cutting edge pedagogies for engaging students in learning, models of conflict mediation, nurturing healthy school and community relationships, and research-based work on transforming urban school structures, processes, and cultures.
  • Intensive leadership development around their personal and professional identities as transformative leavers who advance equity in their schools. Participants will engage in deep reflection and action around issues of race/ethnicity, culture, gender/sexuality, social class, language, dismantling educational inequity, and building school structures and processes that lead to educational equity.
  • Deep engagement in authentic and relevant action research in their schools that is geared toward understanding barriers to educational equity and designing solutions to advance educational equity for underrepresented, students of color.

Application Details

RISE UPP is a free, one-year virtual program. Participants must apply and be admitted to the program to qualify. 


22-23 dates TBD. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is this only for teachers or administrators or can counselors also apply?

Answer: Yes, other credentialed positions that are interested in seeking leadership positions are welcome to apply.






Q: Action research sounds like my Masters program, how much writing and reading do we have to do?

Answer: You won’t have graduate studies homework, what we will be asking you to do is to conduct action research within your own practice and your own sphere of influence on an issue of equity that you want to lead through. You will receive coaching throughout the year and on the Saturday sessions you will have to provide an update and a final presentation. We will not be collecting research papers or assigning heavy reading. 

Q: What are the minimal costs associated with this free program?

Answer: We sometimes host sessions at universities that require payment for parking. In-person sessions may be catered by sponsors or you may be required to pay for your own lunch. Costs are minimal to Rise UPP fellows.