$1.9 million awarded to UA for public schools program

Posted: June 23, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.

The Walton Family Foundation announced Monday that a $1.9 million grant will be given to the University of Arkansas Foundation and the College of Education and Health Professions to fund the Principal Fellows program.

The program aims to help enhance student outcomes by supplying highly skilled teachers and administrators to struggling public schools, UA officials said in a statement.

Over the next four years, 60 administrators will attend one-year, high-impact leadership training through the Principal Fellows program. It will focus on building math and literacy skills in students while helping administrators identify and develop new school leaders, the news release states.

John Pijanowski, professor of educational leadership, said the first year of the four-year period will be used to develop curriculum and build the program. After the first year, 20 candidates will be brought in to participate in the Principal Fellows program for the three following years.

Participants in the program will each take part in an internship with master principals and trained mentors to give them real-life understanding of the challenges faced by administrators, according to the release.

Pijanowski said schools in poverty-ridden areas of the state will be the main beneficiaries of Principal Fellows.

“We’re identifying schools in poverty areas and [gearing our program] towards schools have had trouble generating strong candidate pools for principals in their schools,” he said.