Learning Sciences International Partners with Des Moines Public Schools on Wallace Foundation Grant to Improve Principal Effectiveness through Support and Supervision

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The 5-year grant focuses on helping district supervisors work effectively with principals to improve teaching and learning through targeted professional development and implementation of the Marzano District Leader and School Leader Evaluation Models.

Learning Sciences International partners with Des Moines Public Schools on a Wallace Foundation grant to improve principal effectiveness.

Learning Sciences International partners with Des Moines Public Schools on a Wallace Foundation grant to improve principal effectiveness.

This partnership with consultants from Learning Sciences Marzano Center will focus on using research-based leadership strategies to improve the overall performance of district leaders and their schools.

The Wallace Foundation has awarded Des Moines Public Schools a significant grant funded over five years as part of its $30 million National Principal Supervisor Initiative. Des Moines was one of six core districts chosen to take part in the program, which launches with a $500,000 grant to expand the capacity of principal supervisors in Year 1, potentially to include an independent, $2.5-million evaluation to help answer the question of whether and how boosting the performance of principal supervisors enhances the performance of school principals. West Palm Beach-based Learning Sciences International is among multiple partners chosen to provide professional development for DMPS.

Learning Sciences will partner with DMPS to implement the Marzano District Leader Evaluation Model and the Marzano School Leader Evaluation Model simultaneously to help create an aligned growth system based on the best current research on leadership performance. The two models offer a common language, a shared set of performance standards and outcomes, and an unwavering focus on student learning. The models also emphasize the crucial role of supervisors as principal mentors and collaborators. Co-developed by Learning Sciences and education researcher Dr. Robert J. Marzano, the models are critical pieces of a fully aligned system to support district and school leaders as they work to improve their schools.

Initial training with Learning Sciences began in July 2014. The training and coaching for principal supervisors focuses on intense support to deeply immerse district leaders in the models and provide targeted support throughout the initial year. In future years, Learning Sciences will begin transitioning responsibilities through a gradual release process to plan for sustainability.

“The Wallace Foundation grant provides significant support to the work under way at Des Moines Public Schools to enhance and improve the leadership within our schools,” says DMPS Superintendent Tom Ahart. “Thanks to that support, we are able to work with experts such as Learning Sciences International to implement proven models of support for our principals, which in turn will improve student learning. This is a big reason for the funding we were awarded by the Wallace Foundation, helping us ensure that every district administrator is actively contributing to student success.”

Learning Sciences Marzano Center Vice President and Senior Fellow Dr. Beverly Carbaugh adds: “District Leaders in Des Moines Public Schools are embracing the notion that it takes expertise to develop expertise, as they lead the initiative to build instructional leadership at the district level and in turn with their school leaders. This partnership with consultants from Learning Sciences Marzano Center will focus on using research-based leadership strategies to improve the overall performance of district leaders and their schools. We salute the district for their progressive approach to building great leaders.”

For more information about the leadership models and professional development, contact Learning Sciences at 717.845.6300. To speak to Phil Roeder, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at DMPS, call 515.242.8153.

Learning Sciences International, a leading provider of web-based and on-site solutions for professional development and performance management in education, supports schools and educational initiatives in 11 countries, 3 provinces in Canada, and 40 states in the United States of America. The company currently serves 427 school districts, 5,575 school buildings, 311,000 teachers, and more than 4 million students in the United States alone. For more information about the company, visit LearningSciences.com.

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James Hartnett

Phil Roeder
@Learn_Sci
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