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Baruch College Educational Leadership Program Gets $700,000 In Grants For Clinical Internships

New York State and the Wallace Foundation Support New Initiative to Improve NYC Public Schools

(New York, NY, December 14, 2009) For the past decade, the work of faculty in Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs has fueled innovation and reform in New York City’s public school system. Educational strategies now being employed by Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein trace back directly to groundwork pioneered by current and former faculty in the College’s MSEd Leadership Program.

Building on earlier work that led to the creation of both the Leadership Academy and the Inquiry Teams that are now a standard feature of New York’s public schools, Lizabeth Gewirtzman, Distinguished Lecturer at SPA, has been named principal investigator of New York State and Wallace Foundation grants totaling nearly $700,000. The grants will support an ambitious new three-year collaborative program to enhance clinical internships in educational leadership and bring curricula into closer alignment with “on the ground” needs and realities of teachers and students in classrooms across the city. The hope is that the leadership strategies these internships embody and promote will drive fundamental changes in the culture of New York City’s public schools.

The newly funded initiative, called the Educational Leadership Program
Enhancement (ELPE)
, will create and support team leadership, rather than focusing on individuals. Its success or failure will be evaluated by what happens in the classroom—i.e., by actual improvements in the performance of students, particularly those students who have failed to progress, been difficult to engage and hard to teach. “We are trying to overcome the disconnect between theory and practice,” Gewirtzman said. “We are bottom-line oriented.”

Beginning in 2010, participants will work closely with the Inquiry Teams that now exist as reform catalysts within 1,500 New York City schools. The newly crafted 4-semester internships will be task-oriented, “very intensive practicums” that have as their initial goal moving struggling students to higher levels of performance. A further goal, according to Lizbeth Gewirtzman, is constant expansion of “the sphere of success,” beginning with a core group of students and faculty and gradually progressing to encompass an entire school and, eventually, an entire school system.

The newly funded ELPE proposal builds on an earlier Baruch College initiative, the influential Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model(SAM), also developed by faculty in the School of Public Affairs. SAM, which led directly to the creation of Bloomberg-Klein Inquiry Teams, was conceived of as a school building leadership preparation program that integrates leadership capacity building into the work of school improvement and succession planning. In addition to New York, schools in Boston and the Bay Area are implementing aspects of the SAM model, while several other cities, including Atlanta, have expressed interest in the program.

Lizbeth Gewirtzman is the co-author, with Sandra Stein, of Principal Training on the Ground: Ensuring Highly Qualified Leadership (2003). Prior to assuming her current position as CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy, Stein was an associate professor at Baruch College where, along with Gewirtzman, she developed the Aspiring Leaders Program (ALP) that was a precursor of the Leadership Academy, now a fixture on the education landscape.

The partners collaborating with Baruch on implementing ELPE include Brooklyn
College, Lehman College, The New York City Leadership Academy, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences working with College Now, and the NYC Department of Education’s Division of Accountability and Achievement Resources.

The Baruch College School of Public Affairs trains students to assume leadership positions in a broad range of government and non-profit organizations. In addition to offering a variety of highly regarded master’s level programs, SPA offers on-site Leadership Development Programs to a variety of agencies in the New York metropolitan area. Organizations such as the United Way Junior Fellows Program, the Hispanic Federation Leadership Institute, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and the New York City Housing Authority Leadership Academy have worked collaboratively with the Baruch School of Public Affairs to develop a new generation of leaders.

Contact: Zane Berzins


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