Delaware One of 15 States to Receive $600,000 Grant to Pioneer New Policies and Practices
Dover, Del.–June 30, 2004 The Wallace Foundation has announced that the State of Delaware has been awarded a second round of funding of $600,000 to strengthen leadership in public schools.With this grant, Delaware continues with 14 other states as partners in an initiative whose goals are to promote national reform of educational leadership.As the centerpiece of the Wallace Foundations’ national LEADERS Count initiative, State Action for Education Leadership (SAELP) will focus on developing policies and practices that strengthenthe ability of superintendents and principals to improve student learning.
During the first round of funding in 2002, Delaware received $300,000 which was used to focus on several major areas.“The Wallace Foundation allowed the Department of Education (DOE) to design and implement a variety of initiatives,” said Jacquelyn O. Wilson, Ed.D., Director for Professional Accountability at DOE.“Those initiatives included an induction program for beginning principals, the development of task forces in the area of recruitment and retention and enhancing working conditions for school leaders.”Added Dr. Wilson, “The funding also allowed us to develop a ‘Critical Friends’ partnership with Institutions of Higher Education to evaluate their school leader preparation programs.And finally, the Wallace funds allowed us to create a professional development program for experienced school leaders.”
The second round of the $600,000 funding will allow Delaware to focus on middle and high school redesign. Four school districts will be selected to participate in athree year project to distribute leadership throughout the school community. Secretary of Education Valerie Woodruff remarked that secondary schools are very traditional and tend tooperate in the same manner as they did thirty years ago. “With the focus on student learning, it is impossible for the secondary principal to handle all of the important decisions and challenges in the school,”said Woodruff. “By sharing governance with teacher leaders, parents, students, and community members, the building principal distributes leadership and accountability to all stakeholders within the school community.”
The Wallace grant will also provide an opportunity to develop succession planning for creating a pool of aspiring school leaders in all 19 school districts and charter schools.Districts will collaborate with the Department of Education to develop models of succession planning and internship programs. Dr. Wilson stated that“the progress we have made in developing policies and procedures focused on improving the working conditions of our school leaders is vital to our focus on student achievement in Delaware.Schools and districts need strong leadership as they work to close the achievement gap for all students.”
“The importance of having highly trained administrators for Delaware’s public school system cannot be overstated,” said Secretary Woodruff.“The generosity of Wallace Foundation funds and their commitment to education will help to ensure our school administrators continue to receive theprofessional development and training they need not only to carry out their responsibilities but to also provide a quality education for all of our students.”Woodruff also noted the support of the national consortium which is comprised of representatives from the National Governor’s Association, Education Commission of the States,the National Council of State Legislators, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. “Their assistance has been invaluable,” Woodruff said.
Yesterday, educators and various stakeholders from across the state participated in the 2nd Annual Policy and Practice Institute at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center.The institute, funded by the Wallace grant, focused on both state and national policy issues around school leadership.The executive directors from both the National Association for Elementary and Secondary Education were featured as keynote speakers. Other keynote speakers included Dr. Brian McNulty,researcher from the Mid Atlantic Regional Laboratory; Dr. James Spillane, researcher and author on the topic of distributed leadership from Northwestern University,and Dr. Joseph Murphy, professor from Vanderbilt University and author of several books on school leadership. Nearly 300 participants attended the institute.
For further information regarding the Wallace Foundation, contact: Jessica Schwartz, Senior Communications Officer, at (212) 251-9711;firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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