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Grant will help CMSD support new principals







CMSD has received a $595,000 grant to develop a program for supporting and retaining the central figures in District reform -- school principals.

The Cleveland-based Abington Foundation has awarded the grant as part of its mission to enhance education, health care, arts and culture and other causes, primarily in Cuyahoga County.

CMSD will use the money to provide coaching and other support to principals who have held the job for two to five years. That covers about 40 of the District’s 100-plus principals.

The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint for education reform in the city, shifts authority from the central office to individual schools and the people who best know their students’ needs. Principals and their leadership teams are tasked with leading the way.

“We are putting our bet on them,” said Heather Grant, who oversees support for new principals. “This will increase our investment in their development.”

The grant will allow the District to add a third principal coach and pay a stipend to high-performing principals who will serve as mentors for their colleagues. Support for the new principals will be most intense in their second year and decrease as they gain experience.

The NYC Leadership Academy will design a curriculum for the principals’ professional development. NYCLA also worked with CMSD to develop the Aspiring Principals Academy, a paid yearlong residency program that grooms first-time principals.

The Aspiring Principals program, which began five years ago, has produced many of the District’s school leaders. Now, with the number of openings down to a minimum, its focus will shift.

This year, the academy will take in six sitting assistant principals or curriculum and instruction specialists, administrators who are licensed to serve as principals.

Their schools' principals must will act as their mentors. A summer boot camp will continue but be shortened from five weeks to three weeks. Instead of meeting weekly, the group will meet every other week.

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