Client Testimonials

SchoolSims works with numerous school districts, associations, higher education institutions, and independent schools to help them integrate simulations into their current and future curriculum and professional development meetings. Working with countless schools to create simulations based on real-life scenarios that leaders and teachers have experienced. Principal pipelines matter, and so do effective educational leadership programs—professional development for current and aspiring school leaders matters. The Kern Foundation and other researchers have proven that student achievement suffers without programs dedicated to those tenets. The SchoolSims library of leader and teacher simulations provides a single solution to those challenges.

In the sections below, you can learn more about how simulations have helped various schools around the country and why they believe simulations are the future of education.

Sara Dexter, Ed.D. - Associate Professor: Co-Director, UCEA’s Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership (CASTLE); Associate Professor, Administration & Supervision at the University of Virginia

How are simulations used in your program?

“We use SchoolSims and two other types of simulations as “virtual practicum” within six of our ten M.Ed. Courses. By virtual practicum, I mean the simulation activity wrapped in the instructional design of reflection, processing course content, and projecting how to handle future situations in an experiential learning cycle.”

What do students say about simulations?

“The simulation was engaging because it made me think about why I made certain choices and also the results of those choices.”

“This allowed me to see how my actions impacted everyone and how quickly a situation can escalate.”

“I thought this was great! A cool way to make people think at the moment.”

Ginger S. Watson, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Instructional Technology/Learning Sciences/Simulation Curriculum, Instruction, & Special Education, School of Education & Human Development at the University of Virginia

What is your broader involvement in the simulation space?

“Simulations are a cornerstone of training in many professions, including medicine, flight, business, and the military. They provide opportunities for experiential learning, skills practice, repetition, and reflection in a safe environment. Simulations often provide a critical transition between content knowledge and real-world application, allowing the learner to practice and experience critical scenarios in an instructional context prior to encountering those scenarios in a work setting.”

What do students say about simulations more broadly?

“The most frequent comment from students is that no matter how much they have read about a situation or response, they could not imagine how stressful it is to experience authentic scenarios where the stakes are higher and the decisions more complex. Students often report that they could not imagine developing their competency without first practicing extensively in a simulation.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, and a technology leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College

How are simulations used in your program?

“We use simulations throughout our traditional face-to-face and fully online asynchronous Preliminary Administrative Services Credential programs. In both settings, students engage the simulations through an equity-driven leadership lens that our programs are rooted in. Each simulation is accompanied by a reflection model we developed that prompts students to exercise an equity-drive leader’s leadership dispositions and values. These reflections are used as opportunities to develop their decision and reflective leadership skills as they prepare to complete the state performance assessment required for licensure.”

What do students say about simulations?

“We use all simulations across our courses, so students get to experience each with a different content focus and context. Students express their surprise and interest in their own decisions, learning, and aspirations as leaders.”

Sheila Moore, PhD. - Visiting Lecturer Educational Leadership Program College of Community, Innovation, and Education at the University of Central Florida, Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education

How are simulations used in your program?

“I use SchoolSims in our M.Ed and Ed.D courses. In the M.Ed principal preparation course, SchoolSims is integrated as an instructional strategy to provide aspiring administrators authentic job-embedded learning experiences that correlate with Florida Principal Leadership Standards and the Florida Examination for Educational Leaders. SchoolSims simulations are integrated asynchronous in the Ed.D. Executive Leadership program mixed-mode environment. During the face-to-face meetings, SchoolSims simulations are a tool to stimulate discussions that are shared in a safe, collaborative setting that engages the students in analyzing perspectives of their leadership knowledge and skills in decision making.”

What do students say about simulations?

“I did not think about it this way. I had a similar experience, but this is helping me to refresh my outlook.”

“Thank you for providing the current simulations, especially the simulations topics equity diversity, inclusion, community, and teacher relationships – it is highly accurate.”

Alan Sebel, Ed.D. - Touro College Associate Professor School Leadership

“Student survey results and faculty feedback indicate the value of simulations as a pedagogical strategy that enhances our courses and prepares our candidates to meet the challenges that school leaders face today. It is reasonable to expect that using simulations would have the same positive impact on students preparing for any profession. Simulation-based education gives students the opportunity to practice learned skills and apply theory in real-life situations.”

Read Dr. Sebel’s blog titled, Using Simulations in Professional Preparation Programshere.

Dr. David De Jong - Chair of Ed Leadership, University of South Dakota and ICPEL President

“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 an 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.”  

Listen to The Group Project Podcast with Dr. Jared Smith to hear Dr. De Jong speak more about the power that simulations bring to ed leadership programs. 

Erin Murray - Former Superintendent, Simsbury Public Schools and Adjunct Professor, University of Connecticut

How are simulations used in your program?

“UCAPP has been integrating SchoolSims into each course to provide aspiring administrators authentic learning experiences that correlate with UCAPP coursework, core assessments, and intern experiences. SchoolSims simulations have been led by an instructor or provided to students in a collaborative setting that engages them in real-life situations that educational leaders regularly face. They are challenged to use their leadership knowledge and skills to address an immediate situation.”

What do students say about simulations?

“An important leadership lesson is building the perspective to see your leadership actions from all angles. I am learning that balancing stakeholders and their wants or needs can be challenging.”

“This simulation allowed me to work with two other expert future leaders that broadened my perspective and challenged my own beliefs.”

“I appreciated listening to the various scenarios in the SchoolSims and having professional conversations with colleagues about it. We could justify our thinking and question each other to allow for more deep thinking and clarity.”


“I had the great opportunity of teaching in the principal preparation program at the University of Connecticut and I had my class last night and had the great opportunity to use a simulation in a group of six. I’m telling you they were standing up, they were leaning over, they were you know – the pure collaboration and the opportunity to engage in this manner and I love the proactive, as Dr. Mason put out there, they said they’ll do more. I don’t want to do it alone. I love the fact that there were six of us arguing about how we should answer and giving good rationale. For novice teachers, I can’t begin to tell you how powerful something like this would be.”

See Erin’s thoughts here or watch the Building Inclusive Classrooms Webinar.

Tom Evans - Lecturer, Towson University

“Having used simulations for a few years in my college teaching, my students consistently praise the opportunity to have done so. They view the simulations 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.'”

 

Dr. Gretchen McAllister - Associate Professor Department of Teaching and Learning, Northern Arizona University

“Simulations, as many of you probably know, can be powerful for – and I’ll use the term teacher candidates, and for those of you working with novice teachers. We wanted a space that we could provide teacher candidates with situated learning. These situated learning opportunities foster reflective practice and connect theory to practice, but most importantly, my work is centered around this, providing an intentional space to have difficult conversations. We have found that in over 20 years, especially in teacher education, there’s no time to talk about racism, other forms of oppression, and how they play out in school spaces. We talk about it in theory but often in the classroom; finding space to have those difficult conversations just often isn’t there, and teachers, the same in the classroom. So simulations provide us an opportunity for a purposeful space where we can have these difficult conversations, and most importantly, we are committed to creating an opportunity to make mistakes and do it in a way where we don’t actually hurt children.”

See Dr. McAllister’s thoughts here or watch the Building Inclusive Classrooms Webinar.

Dr. Reginald Pierre-Jerome - Leadership Coordinator, The School District of Broward County

“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.”

Read more about Broward’s journey here.

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

“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.”  

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

“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) ensures the needs of all learning leaders are met.”

Learn more about SchoolSims simulations:

Simulations for Current and Aspiring Teachers

Simulations for Current and Aspiring School Leaders