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For Immediate Release
October 5, 2004

Contact: Charles Pyle
Director of Communications
(804) 371-2420

Julie Grimes
Public Information Specialist
(804) 225-2775

New Grants Fund Leadership Preparation Partnerships
Funded Programs Recognize Role of Leadership
in Raising Achievement

The Virginia Department of Education is awarding $100,000 grants to five leadership-preparation partnerships between school divisions, institutions of higher education, and other organizations that recognize the importance of leadership in raising student achievement. The funded programs will provide principals, assistant principals, administrators and prospective school leaders with training and mentoring to become effective instructional leaders as well as administrators.

“Leadership is essential to raising the achievement of students,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary. “In every successful school you will find a principal who understands how children learn, insists on best practices and effective instruction, and knows how to organize, lead, and inspire teachers.”

Funds for the leadership grants were appropriated by the 2004 Virginia General Assembly in response to the recommendations of the legislature’s Commission to Review, Study, and Reform Educational Leadership. The commission recommended that school divisions, institutions of higher education, and professional associations collaborate to develop preparation and professional development programs that recognize the role of leadership in improving instruction and raising student achievement. The General Assembly approved grants totaling $500,000 each year for fiscal years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.

The partnerships receiving $100,000 leadership development grants for fiscal year 2004-2005 include:

  • Principalship Education Plan (PEP), a collaborative project involving eight southwestern Virginia school divisions, including Carroll County, Floyd County, Galax, Giles County, Grayson County, Patrick County, Pulaski County, and Wythe County. The school divisions will partner with Radford University, the Western Virginia Public Education Consortium, and the National Association of Secondary Principals to provide training to 35 administrators, with a minimum of three participants from each school division.

  • Leadership Preparation Academy, a project involving Hopewell, Prince George County, and Virginia Commonwealth University. The academy will provide training for 24 teachers with master’s degrees who are seeking endorsements in administration.

  • Leadership Academy for Aspiring School Leaders, a proposal developed and submitted by Newport News in collaboration with Old Dominion University, the Urban Learning and Leadership Center, and the Harnessing Optimism and Potential Through Education (HOPE) Foundation. The academy will prepare two groups of 50 leaders and aspiring leaders during each of the next two years.

  • Aligning Leadership Investment and Growth Now (ALIGN), a partnership involving twelve school divisions in Southside Virginia, including Amelia County, Appomattox County, Brunswick County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Greensville County, Halifax County, Lunenburg County, Mecklenburg County, Nottoway County, and Prince Edward County and Longwood University and the University of Virginia. ALIGN will provide leadership preparation for 36 administrators and aspiring leaders with successful principals and assistant principals serving a mentors.

  • Leaders Mentoring Leaders: Pre-Administrator and Administrator Mentoring, a partnership involving Virginia Beach, Old Dominion University, and the Adele Lynn Leadership Group that will provide preparation and professional development for 90 mentors, leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers.

All of the school leadership-preparation programs receiving grants were developed to meet the requirements of the Board of Education’s licensure regulations and the board’s Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators, and Superintendents.

Virginia is one of 15 states selected to participate in the Wallace Foundation’s State Action for Educational Leadership Project (SAELP). The commonwealth has received two SAELP grants totaling $650,000 from the foundation to research and create policies that promote the development and retention of educational leaders committed to raising student achievement. Activities of the General Assembly’s Commission to Review, Study, and Reform Educational Leadership were funded through Virginia’s initial SAELP grant.

Virginia’s SAELP grants and the General Assembly-funded leadership preparation grants announced today are designed to reform and strengthen educational leadership and establish principals and the instructional leaders of their schools.