State department of education using $8 million to develop talent

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) announced Wednesday it is using $8 million in federal money for school leadership and teacher retention in the state. The three-year initiative starts this school year and includes five specialized programs, according to a press release.

“The research is clear and compelling: Within schools, teachers have the greatest impact on students and their futures, with building leaders coming in a close second,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said in a press release. “Using a portion of our coronavirus relief funds to strengthen and stabilize our leadership and talent pipelines is critical as we continue to navigate the pandemic landscape and remain true to our commitments to do everything possible to ensure student success.”

The School Leadership and Talent Development initiative includes the following programs:

  • Moving UP – supporting assistant principals with a focus on collaborative leadership
  • Principal Induction Academy – providing training to early-career principals in instructional coaching, school climate, professional learning communities, and personnel and resource management
  • First Class – providing virtual coaching and mentoring for new teachers
  • Data Institute – utilizing data to build effective schools and improve student achievement

The final program, a grant to the Oklahoma Chapter of Teach for America to combat the teacher shortage, was announced in August.

The OSDE has conducted five Moving UP programs since 2016. The new investment will fund three additional trainings for 120 assistant principals through the 2023-24 school year.

“Moving UP is not your typical professional development for leaders,” said Amber Round, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary in Pryor, who participated in the program. “It is a think tank for improving education at all levels. The academic success of my school has been greatly impacted by my involvement with Moving UP.”

Applications for Moving UP and the Principal Induction Academy are open through Friday, Sept. 10. The first-ever Data Institute, in partnership with the University of Oklahoma College of Continuing Education, is at capacity and will take place at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center Reno Campus in Oklahoma City on Sept. 23-24.