Principal's Development Course


Our Principal's Development Course (PDC) will engage candidates in critical inquiry. Through the co-construction of knowledge and learning, candidates will further explore

  • complex issues related to creating and sustaining vibrant school and system cultures 
  • enhancing student learning and well–being and
  • the ethical dimensions of leadership through the experiences of other candidates.

It employs a critical, pedagogical lens to explore various module topics and strengthen professional efficacy by

  • gaining in-depth knowledge
  • generating new knowledge for practice and
  • refining professional judgement.

This program consists of a selection of 25-hour modules on a variety of topics. All modules are offered in online delivery unless otherwise noted.

To receive the Additional Quallification (AQ) certification, candidates will need to complete a total of five modules of their choice, inclusive of one compulsory module. The intent is to ensure a flexible offering with new modules being added on a regular basis. The modules do not need to be completed in any specific order.

Module Information

Module 1 - Principal Legal Duties and Responsibilities

(compulsory module)

  • What are the principal's duties and liabilities in relation to the Child and Family Services Act?
  • What are the principal's legal duties and responsibilities?
  • What does it mean to be an “agent of the board?”
  • What does a principal need to know when investigating the misuse of social media?
  • What does a principal need to know when using social media?

Module 2 - Instructional Leadership for School Improvement

  • Co-leading the instructional program
  • Instructional leadership and school management
  • School culture and its impact on learning and teaching
  • Student-centred learning

Module 3 - Leading an Equitable and Inclusive School

  • Equity, inclusivity, social justice and schools
  • Mindsets and equitable schools
  • Positive school culture and leadership
  • Privilege, bias and culturally responsive and relevant leadership

Module 4 - Mentoring  and School Leadership

  • How can leaders create a culture of Mentoring?
  • To what extent can Mentoring skills enable leaders to successfully navigate hard conversations?
  • To what extent can Mentoring skills improve relationships and organizational culture?
  • What Mentoring attributes and/or skills do great leaders exhibit?

Module 5 - Building a Digital Leadership Portfolio

  • Creating a digital leadership portfolio
  • Creating a school and personal blog
  • Creating a school and personal website
  • Leading a collaborative inquiry

Module 7 - Courageous Conversations

  • Lead schools as diverse workplaces
  • Plan for and participate in courageous conversations

  • Use strategies such as an Outcome Map to engage in courageous conversations that build trusting relationships and include impressive empathy, listening for meaning and asking powerful questions

  • Continue to engage in courageous conversations which challenge traditional leadership practices and foster a school climate of inclusion, equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and anti-colonialism to support all staff and students

Module 8 - Leading the Kindergarten Program

  • Dealing with uncertainties in pedagogical documentation
  • Four frames of the kindergarten program
  • Play-based learning in a culture of inquiry
  • Principal as co-learner in creating the conditions for learning

Module 9 - Leading the Innovative School ** (updated with an emphasis on supporting distance learning) 

  • A shared vision of learning in a digital age
  • Creating a culture of learning
  • Innovative learning spaces
  • Monitoring virtual spaces
  • Rethinking digital citizenship
  • Supporting virtual instruction and assessment
  • Supporting virtual students and their families

Module 10 - Supporting Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex or Asexual (2SLGBTQQIA+) in Your School

  • Exploring bias and student agency
  • Fostering allies
  • Fostering personal leadership resources
  • Intersectionality

Module 11 - Leading the Special Education Program

  • Building collaborative partnerships with parents
  • Building the staff capacity to meet the needs of all students
  • The complexities of Special Education student aggression
  • The law, Special Education and the Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Module 12 - Supporting Leadership in Mathematics

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Effective instructional approaches in effective math classrooms
  • Foundational knowledge in mathematics
  • Implications for professional learning and school improvement planning

Module 13 - The Principal's Role in Mental Health Awareness and Trauma-Informed Schools

  • A tiered support model for school mental health and well-being
  • Creating mentally healthy schools
  • Establishing a common language and understanding
  • Everyday mental health practices

Module 14 - Leading the French Immersion School

  • Effective practices in French Immersion classrooms
  • French Immersion teacher retention and developing the French Immersion program
  • Inclusion in the French Immersion program
  • The evolution of French Immersion in Ontario

Module 15 - I Stand in Treaty

  • Pre-contact to the Indian Act
  • The Indian Act to Indian Residential Schools
  • The White Paper to the Apology
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission to Decolonization

Module 16 - Maximizing Your Personal Leadership Resources (PLRs)

  • Emotional Intelligence (EI) Traits Indicator Survey
  • Role specific knowledge of Effective School and Classroom Practices that have a direct impact of student learning
  • The research behind the importance of our PLR’s
  • Toolkit to strengthen your Social, Psychological and Cognitive resources

Module 17 - Optimizing Wellness and Life Balance for School Leaders

  • Dealing with Challenges while Maintaining Your Wellbeing
  • Recognizing Compassion Fatigue
  • Reducing the Impact of Difficult Communication
  • Wellbeing Supports Through Technology

Module 18 – Anti-Oppressive School Improvement

  • Critical Pedagogy, Anti-Oppression and Indigenous Education
  • Equity, Anti-Oppression and School Improvement – Application
  • Interrogating SIP Goals & School Learning Plan from an Anti-Oppressive Space
  • Positive School Culture and Leadership - Moving Forward

Qualified candidates can apply to Charles Sturt University (CSU) for inclusion of this AQ as a prior learning credit towards the Master of International Education (School Leadership) or Master of Education degree.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements follow Ontario Regulation 176/10 - Teachers' Qualifications, 34.

  • Ontario College of Teacher's (OCT) Certificate of Qualification and Registration
  • Principal's Qualifications (Part 1 and 2 or equivalent) and
  • Two years of successful experience as a principal or vice-principal, certified by your Supervisory officer (SO).

Course Fee

$250 per module. Includes a $50 non-refundable registration fee.


Full subsidies are available for all PDC modules. Please view our Special Education for School Leaders Project for more detailed information or to apply.

Pre-module Work

There is pre-work that will need to be completed in advance of the program start date. You will receive an email with access to our Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) within one week prior to the official course start date to complete 2 hours of pre-module work. It is important that you follow the instructions and access the LMS to review the pre-module learning expectations. Module 1 includes an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) section for completion and all other modules include program-specific tasks designed to help candidates reflect and prepare for productive conversations and participation.

Upcoming Sessions

All modules are offered online. Modules are asynchronous but each module can have up to 3 hours of synchronous sessions. Additionally, some modules include synchronous web meetings, but they will be recorded if you are unable to attend live. The dates listed below are the start and end dates of each module. 

Deadlines are firm.

2023-24 Schedule




November 6 - December 8, 2023 Module 12 - Supporting Leadership in Mathematics October 23, 2023
November 6 - December 8, 2023 Module 7 - Courageous Conversations October 23, 2023
January 22 - February 23, 2024 Module 3 - Leading an Equitable and Inclusive School January 8, 2024
January 22 - February 23, 2024 Module 11 - Leading the Special Education Program January 8, 2024
February 26 - March 28, 2024 Module 15 - I Stand in Treaty  February 12, 2024
February 26 - March 28, 2024

Module 8 – Leading the Kindergarten Program

February 12, 2024
April 1 - May 3, 2024

Module 9 - Leading the Innovative School 

March 18, 2024
April 1 - May 3, 2024 Module 4 - Mentoring and School Leadership March 18, 2024
May 6 - June 7, 2024 Module 13 - The Principal's Role in Mental Health Awareness and Trauma-Informed Schools April 22, 2024
May 6 - June 7, 2024 Module 18 – Anti-Oppressive School Improvement April 22, 2024
June 10 - July 12, 2024 Module 1 - Principal Legal Duties and Responsibilities** May 27, 2024
June 10 - July 12, 2024

Module 2 - Instructional Leadership for School Improvement

May 27, 2024
July 2 - August 2, 2024 Module 14 - Leading the French Immersion School June 18, 2024
July 2 - August 2, 2024 Module 5 - Building a Digital Leadership Portfolio  June 18, 2024

** Completion of module 1 is mandatory to receive the AQ certification.


Current Board Partnerships

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) - 2023-24

It is a priority for us to develop, provide and support a variety of relevant, accessible and locally customized professional learning opportunities, based on diverse Member needs, feedback and job demands. For those looking to offer this program in your board, we can customize most of our programs and learning sessions to the unique characteristics of each district upon request. Email us to offer the PDC within your Board.

Terms and Conditions

Academic Integrity and Engagement
All candidates participating in our Additional Qualification Programs must review and comply with our academic integrity and engagement guidelines.
Refund Policy

A full refund is available if you cancel up to two weeks before the start date, less a $50.00 non-refundable registration fee.


A $100.00 refund is available if you cancel one week before the start date.


There is no refund for cancellations after the start date.


A full refund applies when a session is cancelled due to low enrollment. 

Interpretation Services
The Ontario Principals' Council® (OPC) is committed to accommodating the individual needs of our Members, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Once a candidate has registered and paid the applicable registration fees for a course, the OPC will contract with an interpretation service of its choosing and will cover the fees and expenses related to interpretation services in accordance with its contract arrangements with the interpreter. The candidate is welcome to provide a list of preferred interpreters for us to consider, but OPC retains the discretion to choose the provider of these services.

As the OPC is required to comply with the cancellation policy specific to each independent interpreter, it will communicate the cancellation policy to the course candidate in writing. A candidate seeking to cancel their participation in an OPC course must comply with the interpreter’s cancellation policy and be respectful of the associated timelines. Candidates will be held responsible for cancellation fees applied as a result of missing timelines for cancellation.

OPC’s standard refund policy will also apply to all cancellations. 

Auditing a Program
Auditing a Program
Program Resource Access
All program content and LMS access will be available to candidates one week in advance of the program and will remain active until two weeks after the end of the program. Following this period, candidates will no longer have access to assignments, conversations, resources or other content related to the program. Please save any information that you would like to retain during the timeframe that you have access to the LMS. Limited extensions to program access will only be granted under special circumstances, as approved by the Registrar or Director of Professional Learning.