This article was originally published by the University of New Mexico Newsroom.
A large part of the next wave of Indigenous school principals will come from The University of New Mexico.
There’s a growing group of dedicated learners aiming for that goal, in the Promoting Our Leadership, Learning, and Empowering Nations (POLLEN) program housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences (COEHS).
This immersive, licensure program began in 2016 to put teachers on a direct pathway to higher leadership in Indigenous or Native-serving schools. It has since received roughly $750,000 in grant funding to secure the future of principals and learners.
As state leaders continue to weigh the best use of federal funding to improve education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major new research report by the Learning Policy Institute and The Wallace Foundation underscores the importance of federal, state, and district policies that foster the availability and quality of principal preparation and professional development programs. The research finds that the preparation and professional development a school principal receives not only shapes their efficacy as a leader, but are also associated with positive outcomes for teachers and students.
Educators looking to become school leaders in 37 states and Washington, DC, can now enroll in the National Aspiring Principal Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind program created by national nonprofit New Leaders in partnership with distinguished historically Black institutions Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College to dramatically boost the number of principals of color leading K-12 schools across the country.
Understanding principal preparation programs and their benchmarks for quality is a critical aspect of AACTE’s current work. Principals’ leadership plays an essential role in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. AACTE partners with the Wallace Foundation to disseminate and contextualize Wallace knowledge for our Educator Preparation stakeholders. As part of Washington Week’s (June 6-8) Educator Shortage Strand, AACTE is proud to have Rebecca (Becki) Herman, senior policy researcher and education policy chair at the RAND, present research on the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative.
Redesigning University Principal Preparation Programs is one of two comprehensive studies on principal learning – both preparation and professional development – commissioned by The Wallace Foundation this year. This report, authored by Herman, Susan M. Gates, Ashley Woo, Elaine Lin Wang, Tiffany Berglund, Jonathan Schweig, Megan Andrew, and Ivy Todd of the RAND Corporation reports on findings from a Wallace-funded five-year initiative in which seven universities worked with school districts, state education agencies, mentor programs, and others to redesign their principal preparation programs to reflect the best available evidence-based practices.
“Past research shows that successful principal preparation programs should include partnerships with districts,” said Herman, lead author on the report. “Our report illustrates such engagement is feasible, valuable and critical to creating these programs.”
School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE has launched a new podcast series, “Revolutionizing School Leadership Through Research”. This new podcast series highlights three cutting-edge research reports from the Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center on School Leadership. The three-episode series defines the evolving role and expectations of the principalship, the corresponding preparation required to meet those expectations, and the state policy levers that can be pulled to increase the number of qualified, equitable leaders in that position.
The first episode takes a macro look into the connection between school leadership and school outcomes. AACTE speaks with the lead author, Jason Grissom, of the Wallace commissioned report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools, A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research”, Grissom walks through the major landscape shifts in the past 20 years, with key insights into how preparation programs can be effective, equitable leaders.
Throughout AACTE Presents: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) podcast, guests have talked at length about the district’s role in working with preparation programs to produce effective school leaders, but what is the state’s role? Each of the seven programs in UPPI were given a state partner as well, and in the final episode of the podcast, AACTE talks to authors of two Wallace Foundation commissioned reports on state policy and principal prep about how UPPI programs should be leveraging their state partnerships.
As the role of the principal evolves, so too does the extent to which they play the role of instructional leader. As a vital part of student outcomes and teacher retention in schools, it’s alarming that new principal often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. Teacher retention is due largely in part to the support of their principal, which is why AACTE continues to advocate for quality education leadership preparation programming.
In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), AACTE talks to Jason Grissom, author of How Principals Affect Students and Schools, about what the research says regarding instructional leadership. The episode also dives into Albany State UPPI program’s efforts to address the gaps in preparing principal candidates to be effective instructional coaches with UPPI Project Director Janice Carthon, and Felisa McDavid, who is a graduate of Albany State’s principal prep program and principal of St. James Elementary in South Carolina.
Listen now to Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training
In the fifth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), David Lorden and Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda from San Diego State University share how to restructure principal preparation programs to meet the array of needs required by various districts. During the episode, titled “A Sustainable Approach to Customizing Clinical Practice,” Lorden and Gonzalez Ojeda share insights from their own UPPI experiences as faculty in diversifying the clinical experiences of candidates through collaborative redesign with the districts. Through these insights, they answer the following questions:
- How do you prepare a principal to lead anywhere?
- How can prep programs adapt to meet the various needs of districts?
- Why is customization critical for education leadership prep programs? Especially for equity?
- How can a university sustain customizing their learning experiences for candidates with different backgrounds and strengths?
Principal preparation programs serve two major consumers: the candidate’s that enter their programs and the districts that hire them. Therefore, it is essential to align program redesign efforts to district needs, which we have learned vary across the state. In episode four of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling the Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, Franciso Edobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), located in southern San Diego County, shares what superintendents are looking for in principals and other school leaders entering the field. Also featured is Douglas Fisher, professor and chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, who discusses why and how prep programs should work with districts like CVESD. Their collaboration led to various redesign improvements over the course of Wallace’s UPPI Initiative, but this episode dives deeper into how they were able to share, evaluate ,and act on data through an equitable lens.
Listen now to Episode 4: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity
The third episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative is now available. In the last episode, AACTE identified the gaps between “learning” and “doing.” In this episode, guests dive into a case study of the UPPI program at University of Connecticut (UConn ) and what they have learned from their program redesign. Episode 3 features Richard Gonzalez, who oversees the principalship and superintendency program at UConn and serves as the director of UConn’s UPPI initiative project. Gonzalez and current program candidate Symone James, explain the core assessments, how they were tied to clinical practice and what that structure accomplished in closing the “learning” and “doing” gap of principal preparation.
Appalachian State University has partnered with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) as part of a five-year, $102 million initiative to prepare school principals who are capable of advancing equity in education.
The Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative, sponsored by the Wallace Foundation, supports eight large, high-needs school districts in building evidence-based principal pipelines—with the goal of developing principals who can advance each district’s own vision of equity.
While the role of the principal remains essential, it has evolved over time. Throughout its evolvement, preparation programs, districts, and state policy makers have worked in silos, creating gaps between the skills learned in an educator leadership program and what a principal actually does on the job. In the second episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, listeners will learn what the research says about what the gaps between “learning” and “doing” and how to address them.
In the “Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal” podcast segment, listeners will hear how those findings are seen and implemented through the eyes of one of the UPPI’s Project Directors, Tim Drake.
As the fall semester creeps to a close, it’s easy to forget about all that is available to you via your AACTE membership. Check out these member resources:
Resource Library – Have you accessed the AACTE Resource Library lately? If so, you have probably noticed a few changes, including a single sign on system. AACTE has completed its database migration and with that you will find a seamless way to transition between your AACTE profile and the improved AACTE Resource Library. Feel free to view some of the latest resources below:
AACTE has released a new podcast series that chronicles the multi-year principal program redesign initiative undertaken by the Wallace Foundation: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). This podcast is designed to inspire learning opportunities and educational partnerships among AACTE members and stakeholders and to create highly trained and qualified principals who will influence and shape their learning communities.
In the first episode, AACTE interviews Rochelle Herring, senior program officer at the Wallace Foundation, to introduce the initiative, though which seven principal preparation programs were selected to partner with district and state leaders in their redesign efforts, as well as investigate how state policy could be leveraged to improve the quality of principal preparation statewide. Throughout the conversation, Herring cites research proving that the principal is a multiplier of good teaching and therefore, improved learning.
The University of Tampa (UT) announced a partnership last month with Pasco County Schools that will provide Pasco educators interested in taking leadership roles a path to pursue either a certification in educational leadership or a master’s degree in educational leadership.
According to the agreement, the partnership is intended to “increase the supply of effective school leaders in public schools in Florida, and to produce school leaders who are prepared to lead the state’s diverse student population in meeting high standards for academic achievement.”