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The Bush Institute to work with four school districts across the U.S. to improve school leadership

Work aims to help districts find, support and retain high-quality principals and improve student outcomes

December 6, 2017

DALLAS— Today, the George W. Bush Institute announces the launch of its School Leadership District Cohort, a professional learning community consisting of four selected school districts across the U.S. that will work hand-in-hand with the Bush Institute’s Education Reform team to implement their Principal Talent Management Framework. The Framework was published in 2016 as a part of the School Leadership Initiative, formerly known as The Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL).

“We have chosen four school districts that understand how critical school leadership is to improving student outcomes,” said Eva Chiang, Deputy Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute. “We are eager to use our research to help these school districts improve their policies and practices for preparing, supporting, and retaining the best principals.”

The following school districts were selected to participate in the District Cohort:

  • Austin Independent School District (Austin, TX)
  • Fort Worth Independent School District (Forth Worth, TX)
  • Chesterfield County Public Schools (Chesterfield, VA)
  • Granite School District (Salt Lake City, UT)

The Principal Talent Management Framework is an evidence-based pathway for districts to attract, develop, and retain high-quality principals. The Framework represents a distillation of the best research available on principal talent management strategies. 

Over the course of a three-year period, the Bush Institute will work with participating districts to identify their individual needs related to each Framework component and build district-level capacity accordingly. The Bush Institute will also provide expert coaching, access to tools and resources, and other support to the district professional learning community. Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg superintendent Ann Clark and Denver Public Schools’ Mikel Royal will bring their expertise and experience as District Advisors to the project.

“A unique aspect of this project is that we have also pulled the research literature from the business community on effective implementation,” said Chiang. “We all know that good ideas plus good intentions do not always equal good outcomes. We will help our districts understand both effective principal talent management practices and how to effectively implement complex initiatives in their schools.”

During the first 12 months of the District Cohort, the Bush Institute will work with districts to gather as much data as possible. This will help districts prioritize their needs and will incorporate a planning process designed to help them identify which component(s) of the Principal Talent Management Framework to focus on first. Then, over the course of the first year of the District Cohort, districts will participate in quarterly in-person meetings consisting of expert training and opportunities for peer collaboration. They will also receive on-the-ground technical assistance.

 In years two and three of the District Cohort, districts will be able to focus on implementing additional Framework components. In addition to supporting the four districts, the Bush Institute will be releasing tools, resources, and case studies on the work to contribute to the broader field of school leadership that will have the potential to help educators and students across the country.

“It is critical that we invest in school leadership as we know it has a direct impact on student success. The Bush Institute shares this commitment, and we are excited to be partnering together in Fort Worth ISD and beyond,” said Jeremy Smith, Education Reform Initiative Advisory Council Member and Co-President of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

For more information on the School Leadership Initiative and the District Cohort, please visit http://www.bushcenter.org/schoolleadership.