The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced today that Marian University will be awarded $500,000 to establish a Turnaround Leadership Academy to identify, recruit, train, and develop transformational leaders who will focus on the challenge of turning around Indiana’s chronically lowest-achieving schools. Marian University will build the leadership pipeline
and develop an ongoing source of outstanding principals for struggling schools. The university was selected through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process.
“I am tremendously excited to announce this partnership with Marian University that will help ensure equal educational opportunities for all Indiana’s students by building a pipeline of skilled, transformational leaders who are willing and able to meet the challenges inside the state’s lowest-performing schools,” said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett. “These leaders must be agents of change: well prepared and committed to an unyielding belief and sense of urgency to ensure children in even the most depressed communities can achieve at the highest levels. Marian University’s leadership academy plays a vital role in the state’s overall reform plan and is an important step toward providing all Indiana students the high-quality education they deserve.”
Intervening in the state’s lowest-achieving schools may be the most important task IDOE will assume over the next several years because turning around these largely high-poverty schools will directly and dramatically reduce the achievement gap. The success of these turnaround efforts will hinge upon key principles, such as teacher and principal effectiveness, which are the most important factors in improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap.
“Great leadership is the lifeblood of any organization, and the well-being of children from across our state depends upon having a great leader in every school building,” said Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener. Marian University has been interested in developing a leadership academy for school principals and superintendents for some time. For nearly a decade, Marian University has offered a leadership program to Catholic school principals, and the leadership academy will build on that experience and extend it into other school districts statewide. Furthermore, Marian University’s School of Education has a long tradition of preparing top quality teachers for Indiana’s schools. Since 2007, the partnerships with Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, and the transition to teaching master’s degree program have resulted in 500 new high-performance teachers for schools in central Indiana.
One important requirement of the state’s RFP is sustainability, and Marian University’s program includes $500,000 from the Kern Family Foundation in Wisconsin to fund programming costs in the first year. This additional investment sends a clear message about the great urgency and need for reform in Indiana’s lowest-achieving schools.
An important feature of Marian University’s leadership academy is the number of nationally recognized experts on school reform who will teach the courses. “We are very pleased to offer the expertise of Daniel Goldhaber (University of Washington, inferential statistics, teacher productivity, student achievement data analysis), E.D. Hirsch (University of Virginia, cultural literacy and essential literacy), and Ian Mitroff (University of Southern California, systems analysis, leadership, crisis management) as faculty in the program,” said Dr. Lindan Hill, the dean of the School of Education at Marian University. Experts from Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, and Uncommon Schools are also members of the faculty and will teach alongside Marian University’s professors.
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