Wallace Foundation extends FWCS leadership grant - August 04, 2008

Record Number: 4245
Displayed from: Aug 04, 2008 , until: Sep 04, 2008

Fort Wayne Community Schools will start the 2008-09 school year with a two-year extension of a leadership grant from the Wallace Foundation. The New York City-based Foundation has supported FWCS' efforts at improving leadership in the district for the last six years first with a five-year grant worth $1 million a year and then with a new $750,000 grant renewable for two more years. Under the new grant, FWCS initially asked to be renewed at $500,000 each year for two years. Through the grant approval process, the district demonstrated progress and results of work being done in the district and was approved for additional funding. The grant was awarded at $750,000 for each of the next two years. "We are excited to continue our partnership with Wallace," Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. "The Foundation's commitment and support had greatly improved the leadership we are providing at every level. The national research funded by the Wallace Foundation has been the basis for the work we're doing in the district. The continuation of this grant means we will be able to focus even more sharply on what we can do to be a premier school district." Over the last six years, the focus of leadership development has evolved. The initial $5 million grant focused on developing a system to create leaders, particularly principals, to lead schools in an urban area. As part of the original grant, the district created an administrative internship program to train teachers as potential administrators under successful principals. So far, 45 administrative interns participated in the program and 34 now serve as principals, assistant principals, or in some other administrative capacity. The current grant focuses on developing a system to evaluate leaders, including principals and department heads, to determine where they are in their professional growth, where they need to improve and the tools they need to be a better leader. A system was developed during the last year that will be used to place leaders in one of five categories: Unacceptable, Novice, Developing, Proficient/Sustaining or Mentor. While administrators have always been evaluated, and we always had an idea of where a particular administrator was on this type of scale, having a specific evaluation tool makes improving much more strategic and focused," said Linda Roman, director of professional development and administrator for the grant money. "As we become more precise in what we do, we become better at delivering the best education possible to our students." The Wallace Foundation seeks to enable institutions to expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people by sharing effective ideas and practices. Its three current objectives are: * Strengthen education leadership to improve student achievement * Enhance after-school learning opportunities * Build appreciation and demand for the arts For more information and research on these and other related topics, visit the Wallace Knowledge Center at www.wallacefoundation.org.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.