Governor Accepts $3.6 Million Grant From Wallace Foundation

Governor Accepts $3.6 Million Grant From Wallace Foundation – Nov 8, 2004

November 8, 2004

Money to strengthen education reforms, empower principals to lead

BATON ROUGE – Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has accepted a $3.6 million grant from the Wallace Foundation and said that the money will jump start a plan to empower school leadership to achieve academic excellence.

The grant, announced last Friday at a Blue Ribbon Commission on Educational Excellence meeting, will serve as a catalyst for every school in Louisiana to have an effective principal whose leadership will result in success for schools.

“We know that we have to create an atmosphere of success in order for our principals to lead and move our students forward. This grant will help us develop policies and practices that will strengthen their ability to do their job,” said Governor Blanco.

Louisiana is one of sixteen states that received the award called the State Action for Education Leadership Project II (SAELPII). More than 20 states applied for the competitive grant.

In her letter to the Wallace Foundation, Governor Blanco wrote, “…significant academic growth is not going to occur until we have highly effective educational leaders in all schools within the state that can improve student achievement.” The Louisiana Department of Education, University of Louisiana System, and Board of Regents are working collaboratively with the Blue Ribbon Commission to implement a plan to recruit, prepare and retain effective educational leaders within schools.

“I believe it is imperative for every school to have a true instructional leader in the role of principal,” State Superintendent of Education Cecil J. Picard said. “We are already working with our partners in education in developing a leadership initiative that will help educators reach Louisiana’s accountability goals including closing the achievement gap.”

“The Wallace Foundation grant is further validation of Louisiana’s educational leadership improvement initiative. Coupled with recent recognition by the Southern Regional Education Board for Louisiana’s region-leading progress in leadership preparation, this generous grant confirms once again that our state is making meaningful progress in educational quality,” said Commissioner of Higher Education T. Joe Savoie.

At the announcement, the Wallace Foundation representative said Louisiana was selected to receive the 3-year grant in large part because of its track record on collaborative partnerships and its education reform achieved this past legislative session. The “in crisis” legislation empowers superintendents of school districts who are academically unacceptable to make certain changes without approval of the school board.

Louisiana is credited for its nationally recognized accountability measures, redesigned teacher education programs, and raised student standards.

“I believe that the most effective way to promote change is to ensure that a highly qualified leader is in every school. Our ability to close the achievement gap and guarantee all students an opportunity to succeed relies on our capability to attract and cultivate more highly effective school leaders,” wrote Governor Blanco.

Contact: Catherine Heitman, 342-6950

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