California State University, Dominguez Hills has been awarded a multimillion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement’s School Leadership Program (SLP). More than $13 million of first-year funding was awarded for fiscal year 2013 to 20 educational institutions nationwide to support projects designed to recruit, train, and mentor principals and assistant principals for high-need schools and districts. CSU Dominguez Hills was the only California institution awarded and received the largest award amount.
The grant to CSU Dominguez Hills—$1.16 million for the first year; $9.63 million total over five years—will establish the Innovative School Leadership Initiative (ISLI). Through ISLI, 30 principals and up to 180 teacher-leaders from 30 of the lowest-performing charter and pilot schools in Los Angeles Unified School District will receive professional development, mentorship, and earn advanced administration certification or degrees. The key to the program is the comprehensive approach to turning around the region’s most challenged schools by providing a strong and sustained support system for the entire school’s leadership team.
The U.S. Department of Education evaluation team gave the proposal among the highest marks possible, noting that ISLI is “an innovative method of addressing school leadership” and will provide new data on “how training the principal and leadership teams changes school culture, classroom practices, and impacts student achievement.”
“The ISLI grant gives us an opportunity to confirm CSUDH as a national center for innovative school leadership training in urban schools, specifically charter and autonomous schools,” said Ann Chlebicki, acting dean of the College of Education. “We are excited to integrate our teacher leadership development with our principal and assistant principal training to form a school leadership team model that transforms high-need schools.”
This is the fourth U.S. Department of Education School Leadership grant the College of Education at CSU Dominguez Hills has received for a total of more than $26 million. In 2008, the college was awarded $6.4 million for an Urban School Leaders program for aspiring and current principals and assistant principals, which to-date has granted 259 administrative services credentials and provided professional development to 135 principals and assistant principals. In 2010, the college received $8.8 million for its Charter and Autonomous School Leadership Academy, with more than half of its candidates having been placed into leadership or administrative positions.