Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) has been awarded a grant from the Wallace Foundation worth up to $8.2 million over five years to help develop and support equity-centered school leaders, the school district announced Wednesday, and Spalding University’s College of Education will be a partner in training those leaders.
JCPS was one of only eight districts nationally awarded funds from the Wallace Foundation’s Equity Centered Pipeline Initiative. The grant will provide professional learning opportunities, mentorship and programming to strengthen the leadership pipeline for school principals with a focus on equity.
“This grant offers us the tremendous opportunity to develop and support principal candidates ‘on the bench’ as well as those new to their positions,” JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. “We know that effective principals have a strong, positive influence on students and schools, impacting student achievement across an entire school. Having a comprehensive, aligned principal pipeline will produce leaders who can help bring our district’s vision of equity to fruition.”
As it relates to Spalding, the Wallace grant will support the College of Education’s JCPS-focused Aspiring Leaders principal preparation program, which launched in 2020-21 and is now on its second cohort.
JCPS will receive $1.79 million in each of the first two years of the grant. If the grants are successfully renewed in years 3-5, the district would receive a total of $8.2 million.
Funding from the grant will create the Jefferson County Leadership Academy (JCLA), which will offer aspiring administrators workshops and programming to introduce them to the duties and expectations of an assistant principal and principal, along with mentoring and internship opportunities. In addition, JCLA will provide executive coaching sessions for current administrators.
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JCPS will partner with Spalding, the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Department of Education to provide certification programs, professional development and mentoring based on equity-centered leadership to new and aspiring principals.
“Spalding University and its College of Education are proud to be partners with JCPS in developing equity-centered leaders in our public schools, and we are grateful for the Wallace Foundation for investing in this meaningful work,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “The grant from the Wallace Foundation will support ongoing work to further embed equity-centered leadership within all aspects of Spalding’s Aspiring Leaders principal preparation program, including its curriculum, assessments and clinical field experiences. This work goes hand in hand with the Spalding mission of compassion and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
In addition, Spalding is continuing work with the JCPS Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Division to refine a leadership equity screener that requires Aspring Leaders candidates to reflect on and demonstrate equity-centered leadership. The Spalding School of Social Work will also be providing cultural humility training for the Aspiring Leaders candidates with an emphasis on restorative practices and leadership, said Dr. Glenn Baete, Director of Advanced Programs in the College of Education.
“Through our collaboration with JCPS to provide the Aspiring Leaders Program to JCPS teacher leaders seeking administrative certification, the College of Education is committed to developing equity-centered learners,” Baete said. “The Wallace Foundation grant will help us deepen and accelerate that work.”
The Wallace Foundation works nationally to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone.
“Spalding University’s College of Education is excited for the opportunity to work in partnership with so many wonderful local, state and national groups to strengthen P-12 school leadership for the ultimate benefit of children in Louisville,” said Dr. Kristen Harris, Chair of the School of Education.
Video from March 2020, announcing Spalding-JCPS Aspiring Leaders program: