The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation this week awarded $8.3 million in grants for principal training and development to the Long Beach Unified School District, Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, and the University of Illinois, Chicago.
LBUSD will receive $2.7 million over three years for its Aspiring Principal Program. The grant will fund the training of 50 principals in three cohorts, expanding a current pilot project in the district to broaden the recruitment, selection and placement of principals. LBUSD also will add a year-long apprenticeship for principal candidates.
“Principals are the front-line leaders who are critical to the success of a school,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “We are investing in the necessary recruitment, training and ongoing development that will cultivate top-line talent into the principalship and ultimately lead to improved student achievement, particularly in our urban schools.”
Long Beach has established a strong track record of principal retention, with an average principal tenure of more than 10 years. As many as 48 LBUSD principals, however, are scheduled to retire within the next five years.
“We deeply appreciate the Broad Foundation’s continued support of our schools,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent of schools. “The most effective ways to improve instruction are to attract, train and retain not only high quality teachers, but also top-notch administrators. Many of our talented school principals and other administrators will retire in the coming years. The Broad Foundation’s funding will help us to create a pool of highly qualified school leaders.”
The Broad Foundation solicited grant proposals and received more than 40 applications for funding.
“Gwinnett, Long Beach and UIC have all demonstrated a real commitment to monitoring and evaluating student achievement as part of their program design, and the districts have demonstrated real gains in student achievement,” said Frances McLaughlin, senior director of The Broad Foundation, who oversaw the principal training RFP process.
“What we found in evaluating these programs is that training is only one component of a comprehensive principal development process,” McLaughlin said. “From identifying talent early on to actively recruiting and selecting the right candidates to training them and matching them to the right school, the process takes time and thoughtful implementation. The best programs then recognize the benefit of ongoing mentoring and coaching and they regularly assess the performance of principals and the schools they lead.”
The grants will fund in-depth principal preparation and training programs in the three cities for 150 principals over the next three years.
Gwinnett County Public Schools will receive $3.5 million for its Quality Plus Leader Program over the next three years. Gwinnett’s program recruits principal candidates from the district’s teaching and administrative ranks and then provides a comprehensive year-long training program that covers such topics as curriculum, assessment and instruction, budgeting and finance, operations management and community relations. The program also includes a residency with a successful principal and ongoing support once a candidate is placed in the district. The grant will fund the training of 60 new principals.
The University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) will receive $2.1 million over three years for its Urban Education Leadership Program. Conducted as part of the College of Education’s doctoral program, the Urban Education Leadership Program is designed to improve student achievement in urban schools with high-minority, high-poverty populations by cultivating effective school leaders. Now in its sixth year, the UIC program has partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which hires doctoral candidates into leadership positions in the district or as principals early in their coursework. The students then receive coaching and mentoring support until they complete their degree.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation’s education work is focused on dramatically improving urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.