Contact:Erika Hunt (309) 438-2725
The Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University was awarded a $4.64 million U.S. Department of Education School Leadership Grant. This is a 5-year grant with $263,629 allocated the first year.
“This will allow us to build on work that we have done in the Center around designing new state policies for preparing highly effective principals,” said Erika Hunt, senior policy analyst in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and project director for the grant. “Those preparing to be principals will work a full semester in a high-needs school with our district partners and this grant will fund that position. They’ll have a pipeline of support and this will prepare a pool of potential candidates for the region.”
One of the district partners is Bloomington’s District 87 and Superintendent Barry Reilly said he’s excited to be participating, saying it will provide future principals with a variety of experiences in diverse school districts.
“These experiences will be purposeful and geared toward helping prepare candidates for the many demands principals will face,” Reilly said. “Because of this, I believe we will get a higher level of candidate when compared to past preparation programs.”
Universities and high-need school districts have come together in formal partnerships aimed at improving the way principals are prepared and developed in Illinois, Hunt explained. The grant will fund internships in three Illinois school districts; the other two are in Aurora and Quincy.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that more than $13 million in grants has been awarded to 20 projects under the School Leadership Program (SLP), which supports the development, enhancement, and expansion of innovative programs to recruit, train, and mentor principals and assistant principals for high-need schools and districts. Grantees include school districts, institutes of higher education and non-profit organizations.
"There are no great schools without great principals and teachers," Secretary Duncan said. "High-quality examples of leadership can help shape a school's culture and create an environment where students are excited to learn. These grants aim to support the development of these leaders, ultimately improving the effectiveness of educators and the academic achievement of students."
The five-year grants will help prepare individuals to meet state certification requirements to become principals or assistant principals. Projects will also provide professional development to current principals and assistant principals, serving over 1,500 aspiring and current school leaders in 98 high-need school districts, including six rural areas, across 15 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.