Simulations for School Leaders & Teachers

SchoolSims provides a library of simulations to help current and aspiring school leaders and teachers manufacture experiences they can tap into when they need them. Simulations are experiential learning tools that emulate real-world scenarios, allowing participants to decide on a course of action, implement it, and experience its consequences, all within the same exercise.

Simulations for School Leaders & Teachers

Simulations for Current & Aspiring Teachers
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Simulations for Current & Aspiring School Leaders
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How Can Simulations Benefit Your Organization?

Unlike a training manual or a case study, simulations allow participants to immerse themselves in an environment where they can explore learning objectives. The learning is achieved by enabling users to consider options, make mistakes, and draw conclusions from experience. Therefore, the overall goal of a simulation is not to provide participants with a recipe for effective leadership but to demonstrate to K-12 stakeholders that they need to understand the situation they are facing fully, evaluate it, identify possible responses, and choose the most appropriate solution. In other words, the simulation’s focus is to encourage judgment and conscious competence and identify and correct implicit bias.

SchoolSims Simulation Library

The library includes many engaging simulations that create a collaborative environment where current and aspiring school leaders and teachers can improve their critical thinking and judgment skills. Our simulations can be used in both a K-12 setting and higher education educational leadership programs.

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Simulation Topics

Social-Emotional Issues
Difficult Conversation-Focused
Instructional & Operations Leadership
Leading Change
Student Safety & Security

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Manufacture Experience

Simulations provide an opportunity to practice critical thinking in a safe space. Participants face high-stakes situations and cope with the consequences of their decisions without real-life implications. This experience builds confidence and improves judgment.

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Accelerate Time

Simulations enable participants to gain experience dealing with authentic challenges before actual situations occur. By playing simulations multiple times, learners can try different routes and realize the consequences of each choice so they can draw on that knowledge when faced with similar issues in real life.

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Improve Retention and Build Principal Pipelines

Learning by doing has proven to be the most effective form of training. Participants practice decision-making and are given real-time feedback to understand what went wrong and how they can improve. Having the opportunity to learn from mistakes safely improves engagement and knowledge retention.

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Promote Peer-to-Peer Learning

Simulations provide opportunities for discourse among participants – during and after each simulation. These conversations compel learners to understand not just the “how” but also the “why” and often reveal biases and uncover areas of improvement.

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Delivering Simulations Asynchronously

When simulations are used asynchronously, current and aspiring school leaders and teachers feel more freedom to repeat the simulation three or even four times to try new decisions and learn from decisions they may not ever choose in real life. They can play the simulation in different ways, even making the worst decisions so they can experience the consequences of their mistakes.

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Delivering Simulations Synchronously

When simulations are used synchronously, educators get the natural back-and-forth communication between their peers in the same room. After a decision point, educators can discuss why they chose that particular answer. Hearing from a different perspective allows others to think differently about the situation. Delivering simulations synchronously is excellent for monthly professional development meetings or during a lecture in an educational leadership program.

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What Our Users Are Saying

“I have included SchoolSims educational simulations to support graduate instruction in several different principal and superintendent preparation programs. School leaders were surveyed after participating in four or more educational simulations. We found a unanimously positive perception from participants regarding their preparedness for leadership.   Overall, the school leaders reported increased confidence to handle real-life situations after engaging in the simulations and a deeper perspective to think critically about issues they will be presented with in the field.”  

- Dr. David De Jong
Chair of Educational Leadership, University of South Dakota & ICPEL President
“Newly appointed assistant principals are exposed to simulations at our monthly cohort sessions to get ‘real-life’ experience in situations that are taking place in schools across the country. The simulations provide a safe space to practice decision-making and apply what is being taught in instructional sessions to develop the skills to be an effective leader.”
- Dr. Reginald Pierre-Jerome
Leadership Coordinator, The School District of Broward County

“Having used simulations for a few years now in my college teaching, my students consistently praise the opportunity to have done so.  They view the simulation experiences as valuable additions to the course content, providing them with actual opportunities to apply their content understanding to real-world situations.  When done synchronously, they have especially appreciated the opportunity to work with others in small groups, indicating how much their thinking on difficult decisions was positively influenced by hearing the points of view of others prior to making that decision.  As they say, ‘it is much better to have had this opportunity in our classroom environment than facing that problem on the job for the first time.’”  


- Tom Evans
Lecturer, Towson University 

“As Coordinator of the NJ Leaders to Leaders Program (NJL2L), the sole state-approved mentoring program for new school leaders in New Jersey, I have found the Educational Leadership Simulations to be a valuable resource in the professional learning of thousands of new and veteran educational leaders. The current and real-life simulations provide opportunities for rich discussion around relevant educational scenarios in which teams of leaders explore a variety of decision pathways that target essentials such as team building, legal, moral and ethical standards, and individual and group decision making. Through these collaborative conversations, the knowledge, expertise, and leadership skills of practitioners are strengthened. Alignment to the Professional Standards for Education Leaders (PSEL Standards ensures that the needs of all learning leaders are met.”

- James J. Sarto, Ed.S.
Coordinator of NJ Leaders to Leaders Program (NJL2L), NJPSA/FEA

“I find that though I can often come up with a quick decision on an issue, because of scenarios I worked within the SchoolSims program, I pause without rushing to the answer and carefully consider multiple options and the potential outcomes of each one. This has helped me become more thorough in my research, more thoughtful in my judgment, and more considerate in my communication before I make a decision and share it with others.”

- Stephanie C. Huckabee
Assistant Principal for Instruction, Chapin Middle School

“The PA Principals Association has been utilizing the SchoolSims simulations for the past three years. In an effort to provide relevant and engaging professional development opportunities for our members, we have used the library of simulations to conduct workshops for school leaders across the state. By using the simulations we can engage individuals in the thought processes behind the decisions they make while unpacking differing points of view. The rich discussions that occur during these small and large group sessions are very powerful and enlightening. Our workshop evaluations on the use of these simulations have consistently received outstanding ratings.”

- Dr. Paul M Healey
Executive Director, PA Principals Association

“SchoolSims simulations is the very tool that we have needed to bring more clarity to how various perplexities and problem-solving techniques can be utilized to handle situations in a calm and methodical manner. Educators are responsible for developing the all-important minds of our young people. Principalships of today are more complex than ever before. Like the doctor who attends a residence is guided through multiple real world simulations before they are released to practice medicine, our principals need to experience real world simulations such as these to ameliorate the teaching and learning minds of our diverse communities. The simulations captivated our participants. Notably, it appeared that students enjoyed that part of our agenda the most.”

- Ruth Wright
Des Moines Public Schools

The participants literally did not want to end the simulation. One participant even suggested the modules be used for all administrators, not just those in a program, but as another level of professional development.

- Dr. Porter
Prince George County, MD

“This experience with SchoolSims simulations has been nothing short of extraordinary. Every assistant principal in our district (and we have 140 ) has found these simulations invaluable for their growth as administrators, and especially for those who aspire to become principals. We now have directors and assistant superintendents attending our meetings as they want to see how the simulations work, and the learning that is taking place as a result. Our assistant principals are able to see the cause and effect of their decisions in a risk-free, fail forward environment. These simulations have enhanced collaboration among administrators as they are real scenarios.”

- Jacqueline Ingratta
Coordinator, Professional Learning & Development Brevard County Public Schools (FL)