The Wallace Foundation in New York City has selected seven universities to participate in a five-year, $47 million initiative to improve how school principals are trained.
Launched in March, the University Principal Preparation Initiative will work to develop models aimed at improving principal preparation programs in local districts and strengthen state policies in support of higher-quality training. Seven universities that serve districts with large numbers of disadvantaged students — Albany State University (Georgia), Florida Atlantic University, North Carolina State University, San Diego State University, the University of Connecticut, Virginia State University, and Western Kentucky University — will receive a total of $15.5 million, or an average of $2.2 million each, to partner with at least three school districts to develop and implement high-quality courses of study and hands-on experiences for future principals. Each university also will receive guidance from an existing principal preparation program that is known for high-quality training.
In addition, the states in which the participating universities are located will receive funding to review their policies and assess whether changes such as program accreditation and licensure or certification requirements would encourage the development of more effective preparation programs. The RAND Corporation will conduct an evaluation of the initiative over four years and will share insights and lessons learned from the effort through a series of reports.
"We know from research that school principals require excellent training with high-quality, practical experiences to become effective leaders — but most are simply not getting this," said Wallace Foundation president Will Miller. "Because many school districts don’t have the capacity to train as many principals as they need or to train future principals at all, the best way to reach more aspiring school leaders is through the university programs that typically provide needed certification. We are confident that the selected universities want to raise the bar for their programs, work in partnership with their local school districts, and serve as models for other universities."