Principals' Qualification Program (PQP)

York University recognizes the critical role of school leadership in Ontario and has tailored the Principals Qualification Program (PQP) to meet the specific career goals of educators and future leaders.

The PQP course is designed using the five domains outlined in the School–Level Leadership Framework (Ontario Institute for Educational Leadership, 2013). The topics explored within each of those domains are current, research-based and directly applicable to the complex role of school leader. At York, emphasis is placed on leading with an equity lens, using critical reflection, and utilizing action research. The importance of the everyday work of the educational leader is stressed as relational and collaborative, always linked to communities of learners in their social context, both inside and outside of schools.

PQP Courses

PQP Part 1

Course Outline & Topics

1. Setting Directions
Legislative requirements, Standards of Practice and Ethical Standards, Leadership Framework, Leadership Dimensions and Styles, Strategies for effective decision-making and problem-solving, Equity and Inclusion

2. Building Relationships and Developing People
Emotional Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Conflict Resolution, Ethical Dilemmas, Coaching and Mentoring, Giving and Receiving Feedback, Dynamics of Power and Privilege

3. Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices
Role of the Principal as Change Agent, Culture and Climate, Positive Labour Relations, Collective Agreements, Staff Supervision, Performance Appraisal, School-Community Partnerships

4. Improving the Instructional Program
School Effectiveness Research, Instructional Leadership, Leading an Inclusive School, Legal and Ethical Responsibilities, School and District Improvement Planning, Using Data, Building Collaborative Inquiry

5. Securing Accountability
Safe and Caring Schools, Legislation into Policy and Procedure, Understanding Liability, Crisis Prevention and Management, Partnership with Community Support Services

PQP Part 1 (Independent School Focus)

Course Outline & Topics

Module 1: Introduction, Practicum Overview, Ethics in Leadership, Online Reflections

  • Ontario College of Teachers Standards of Practice and Ethical Standards
  • Ontario Leadership Framework: School-Based Leadership
  • What is an Independent School? Private School?
  • Legislation impacting Independent Schools in Ontario
  • Dimensions of School Leadership: research and best practices

Module 2: Leadership Communication Styles

  • Personality types and communication styles
  • Emotional intelligence in the role
  • Understanding conflict and how to resolve it
  • Effective Media Relations

Module 3: Creating and Engaging School Communities

  • Strategies to develop and implement shared vision
  • Leading co-curricular life
  • Creating and managing Affiliate School relationships
  • Parent Associations and Positive Parent Relations
  • Experiential Education – Service trips, camping/outdoor excursions, co-op programs, global education

Module 4: The Principal as Academic Leader

  • Instructional leadership research into practice
  • Equity and inclusive education leadership
  • Curriculum requirements: Ontario; Advanced Placement; International Baccalaureate
  • School improvement planning
  • Administration hierarchy– what do the options look like?

Module 5: The Role of the Principal: Legislation, Policy and Practice

  • Education Act and relevant Regulations
  • Legislation and Policy specific to independent/private schools
  • Multivariate roles and responsibilities of 21st century principals
  • Ministry Inspections: planning for successful outcomes
  • Property and Physical Plant: maintenance and safety

Module 6: Staffing the School

  • Recruitment, interviewing and hiring of superb teachers and support staff
  • Building relationships and developing staff
  • Independent schools, International schools, and publicly-funded schools
  • Faculty professional learning, retention and attrition

Module 7: Promotion, Marketing, and Advertising

  • Student Enrollment: recruitment, retention and attrition
  • Social media and online marketing
  • Parent engagement and leveraging Alumni influence
  • Fundraising and Foundations

Module 8: The Principal as Business Manager - Best Practices

  • Fiscal responsibility and ethical guidelines
  • Reporting to and Working with a Volunteer Board of Directors
  • Independent School budgeting and finance
  • Aligning resources to school improvement plan priorities
  • Governance in the independent school context

Module 9: Legal Responsibilities, Risk Management and Liability

  • Safe school leadership in the creation of positive climate and culture
  • Professional misconduct regulation requirements for the principal
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Crisis prevention and management
  • Experiential education – risk management

PQP Part 2

Course Outline & Topics

1. Setting Directions

Building and Implementing a Shared Vision, Strategic Planning, Leadership in Theory and Practice, Ministry and District Infrastructure, Organizational Change Theory, Political Context of Education

2. Building Relationships and Developing People

Communication Strategies for Different Stakeholders, Time Management and Life Balance, Distributive Leadership, Promoting Wellness, Professional Learning Communities

3. Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices

Bias-Free Interviewing, Staffing and Hiring, Staff Assignments and Effective Timetabling, Developing a Culture of Shared Responsibility, Fostering Professional Learning, Leading School Improvement through Collaborative Inquiry, Working with School Councils

4. Improving the Instructional Program

Alignment with School Effectiveness Research, Differentiation of Instruction and Assessment to Support All Learners, Ministry and District Funding Models, Effective Use of Technology at the Point of Learning and Instruction

5. Securing Accountability

Utilizing EQAO data to Improve Instruction, Critical Reflections on Assessment and Evaluation, Provincial Reporting Requirements, Strategies for Presentation of School Data, School Review Process, Promoting Student Achievement

PQP Part 2 (Independent School Focus)

Course Outline & Topics

Module 1: Ethical Leadership

  • Moral courage
  • Ontario Leadership Framework: Personal Leadership Resources
  • Ethical decision-making framework
  • Creating a sustainable work-life balance in the role

Module 2: Independent School Challenges and Rewards

  • Leading the curricular and co-curricular programs
  • Managing and supporting family expectations/ dealing with donor parents and families
  • Case studies of independent school challenges; prevention tips
  • Closing achievement gaps and success for all

Module 3: Succession Planning – Recognizing and Developing Leaders

  • Leadership training programs for staff
  • Analyzing leadership potential through strength identification
  • Effective transition planning
  • Barriers to succession planning

Module 4: Employer/Employee Relations

  • Understanding and implementing employment agreements
  • Bias-free interview techniques
  • Staff performance appraisals
  • Staff discipline: effective techniques for improvement
  •  Faculty hiring and dismissals

Module 5: K-12 School Effectiveness Framework

  • Effective schools research in practice
  • Ontario K-12 School Effectiveness Framework applied to Independent Schools
  • Instructional strategies to enhance student success
  • Growing Success: Assessment for, as, and of Learning

Module 6: Implementing, Managing and Surviving Social Media - The Principal’s Role

  • Integration of social media into a communication strategy
  • Search engine optimization and marketing techniques
  • OCT Advisory on social media responsibility for teachers
  • Social media and students: positive and proactive approaches

Module 7: Managing and Leading Change

  • Generational understanding for principals: students and staff
  • Effective use of technology at the point of learning and instruction
  • Ready, Fire, Aim!
  • Visionary school leadership

Module 8: Students - The Key Stakeholders

  • Leadership development for students
  • Engaging students in learning
  • Listening to the student voices
  • Positive Mental health strategy

Module 9 – Legislation, PPM, and OCT Advisories

Who Should Attend

Any OCT certified Ontario teacher who has completed a minimum of five school years of successful classroom teaching experience in a school providing elementary or secondary education and meets the eligibility criteria as stipulated by the Ontario College of Teachers.

Prerequisites and Eligibility

For a comprehensive list of program requirements and how to qualify for each of the courses, see the Eligibility Requirements.

PQP Practicum

The PQP Practicum is a required component of the PQP program. This collaborative inquiry, informed by the Ontario Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-principals, provides candidates a leadership opportunity working with students, staff, parents and the community.

The Practicum must apply to a school setting and be mentored by a practicing qualified principal or vice-principal. The duration of the Practicum will be a minimum of 60 hours. Candidates identify a specific area of inquiry informed by the PQP course content and the Ontario Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-Principals and a problem of practice in a school setting.

Candidates must develop a proposal before being recommended for Part 1 and successfully complete the Practicum before being recommended for Part 2.  The Practicum must be completed within 2 years of completion of the Part 1 otherwise late fees will apply.

Program Dates & Fees

Offered in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer sessions at York University and at various off-campus locations in the GTA and beyond.

Course Fee

$950.00 - PQP Part 1 and Part 2
$1050.00 - PQP Part 1 and Part 2 (Independent School Focus)
Note: York Grad Discount of $50 applies for qualified candidates.


For dates, locations and session offerings search from the list of available courses.