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Tulsa Public Schools awarded federal funds

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Updated: 9/30/2013 11:31 am Published: 9/30/2013 11:30 am

Tulsa Public Schools is among 20 organizations to receive $13.3 million in first-year grants under the School Leadership Program.

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Education. This program supports the development, enhancement and expansion of innovative programs to recruit, train and mentor principals and assistant principals for high-need schools and districts.

Grantees include school districts, institutes of higher education and non-profit organizations.

“There are no great schools without great principals and teachers,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“High-quality examples of leadership can help shape a school’s culture and create an environment where students are excited to learn. These grants aim to support the development of these leaders, ultimately improving the effectiveness of educators and the academic achievement of students,” he said.

Tulsa Public Schools will receive $990,874 for the 2013-14 school year, with $861,026 for each subsequent year of the five-year grant provided the district meets annual eligibility requirements, for a total of $4,434,982.

“This is terrific news for Tulsa Public Schools, as it is significant confirmation that our Teacher and Leader Effectiveness efforts are on the right track,” said Dr. Keith Ballard, Superintendent.

“This federal grant will enable us to strengthen the instructional knowledge and leadership skills of the district’s 53 assistant principals so they are equipped to become successful principals within two years. Ultimately, it will help to improve the guidance our principals provide to teachers in the classroom, which we believe will translate into improved student achievement. Our thanks to the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and our many other supportive donors and partners who helped make this journey possible, including the Foundation for Tulsa Schools and the civic donor community funding our Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness initiatives,” he said.

According to the USDE, these five-year grants will build the instructional and school management skills of the nation’s principals and assistant principals.

At TPS, the grant will provide training and development to all school leaders, but it will also help redefine the position of assistant principal as a training ground for future principals focused on instructional leadership.

With this grant, the district will:
  • Provide customized coaching to the district’s 53 assistant principals so they are fully equipped to step into the role of principal as vacancies occur.
  • Deliver proven induction and professional development training to first and second year assistant principals so they are prepared to become principals within two years.
  • Deploy innovative supports to improve all school leaders’ skills in providing accurate, actionable and effective feedback to teachers based on the teaching framework of the Tulsa Model.
  • Support school leaders’ ability to analyze and effectively use school and student data.
  • Ease burdens placed on school leaders by expanding the capacity of school office staff to manage schools’ operational and business tasks so that principals and assistant principals can focus on instructional leadership matters.
  • Expand and improve the district’s pool of assistant principals by offering incentives to attract and recruit highly effective leaders from schools outside of TPS with a track-record of successful school turnarounds.
  • Strengthen the abilities of principal supervisors (instructional leadership directors) to support the growth and success of school principals.
The SLP program is funded through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

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