Florida Atlantic University was recently awarded a $3.5 million Race to the Top grant for Job-embedded Principal Preparation Programs through the Florida Department of Education. The grant will provide funding for an innovative leadership development partnership between FAU’s College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology and Broward County Public School’s Department of Human Resource Development.
The grant will fund the Principal Rapid Orientation and Preparation in Educational Leadership Program (PROPEL), which will be based at FAU’s Davie campus. The program will institute streamlining and reform of current educational leadership and research methodology and of human resource development programs to develop a model of professional development that will facilitate qualified, motivated teachers to move into the role of successful principals within the Broward County School District.
“FAU’s College of Education and Broward County Public Schools have been collaborating for some time on developing an innovative educational leadership program,” said Valerie J. Bristor, dean of the College of Education at FAU. “We look forward to working together to move teachers into the role of principals who will successfully improve student achievement.”
Daniel Reyes-Guerra, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology at FAU, will serve as the principal investigator for the program and will have overall programmatic and fiscal responsibilities. He also will chair a steering committee of FAU faculty and Broward administrators who will oversee the co-construction, development and delivery of the academic program.
PROPEL is designed to address the need for principals who can effectively respond to the challenges faced by urban school leaders in today’s challenging environments. Its purpose will be to build a joint educational leadership program to improve student achievement by implementing research-based strategies and concrete evaluative measures centered on job-embedded experience. It will accomplish this by starting groups of 30 highly qualified teachers each year and, through a rigorous and accelerated program, prepare them to be principals of high-need schools.
The first two groups of 30 will be grant-funded. The first cohort will act as the pilot of the newly developed program. The second cohort will run through a reformed model based on the experiences of the first cohort, thus developing continued program improvement. The program has built-in measures to become self-sustaining by the third cohort.
Broward County Public Schools is the nation’s sixth largest school district, running 232 traditional schools, 76 charters, and one virtual school with diverse socio-economic, racial, and cultural demographics including immigrants from 173 countries, speaking 53 languages.
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