26 Schools Start a Pilot Program to Learn How to Teach and Lead Better

Model SchoolsTeach For Bulgaria’s new program – starts with a two-week training on August 24

26 schools from across the country are going to participate in the first class of Teach For Bulgaria’s new program Model Schools. It is a two-year program and it will support school staff to develop and implement sustainable and effective teaching and instructional leadership practices in order to make sure that every student is successful. The pilot year of the program starts on Monday, August 24, with a two-week training for the schools’ leadership teams.


Model Schools is a two-year program, comprised of two integral courses: Instructional Leadership and practical methodological courses selected by the school. Each course involves a specific school project, ongoing training, and mentorship. The program is a successor of America for Bulgaria’s Education Leadership Academy and builds upon Teach For Bulgaria’s professional support and training experience.

The participants do not pay a participation fee.

Ivelina Pashova, Head of Model Schools

“This is the pilot year of the program and we want to make sure that the activities we have planned are as useful as possible and applicable in different contexts. This is why we planned an external impact assessment to help us see the actual effect of the program. We will be collecting information about what works and what doesn’t in order to see how the impact this program has on school leadership practices. We are going to see if the elective courses have any impact on the teaching practices and whether any of this trickles down to the students because, after all, our goal is for all students to have a meaningful experience at schools which helps them grow as confident and independent learners,” shares Ivelina Pashova, Head of Model Schools at Teach For Bulgaria.


The first training will take place from August 24 until September 4. Over 100 teachers from the leadership teams of 26 schools will participate in the training. This includes principals, vice principals, head teachers, senior teachers, and others selected to join. The first two weeks will cover topics such as the principles of distributed leadership or how more people can take responsibility about the quality of teaching and learning at school. The leadership teams are going to work on the development of their understanding about professional learning communities as leadership groups of teachers who discuss practices and help each other teach better. 


Besides the trainings, the leadership teams will also receive mentorship by experienced teachers, principals, and experts. The mentors are going to visit the schools and help teachers achieve the goals they have set for the program. All mentors are Teach For Bulgaria or Education Leadership Academy alumni, experienced in teacher training.  

The trainings were developed by the team behind Model Schools. The main experts on the team are Kristina Nikolova and Simeona Marinova. Dr. Rita Sanchez Gonzalez and Dr. Alexandra Thomas from Teachers College at Columbia University were some of the external consultants and experts involved in the process.


Online sessions will be in zoom

Due to safety measures the training will be completely online with video calls and preliminary work or a total of 4 hours a day. The trainers use the flipped classroom method, so participants will have to do preliminary work before the sessions. The participants will also have the opportunity to learn by doing and experiencing. 


The schools in the first class of the program are 26. They have been selected after an open call for application after a rigorous selection process – a total of over 70 schools from all over the country have applied. The selected schools are located in 15 regions of Bulgaria. They are very different from each other in terms of context, size, number of teachers and academic results. This will allow for the accurate impact assessment of these practices and how they work for different schools. 

You can find a list of all schools in the program here.

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