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Monica Distefano '14
Major: Elementary Education
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- Curry College Receives $288,000 DESE Grant to Address Principal Shortage in Massachusetts
Curry College Receives $288,000 DESE Grant to Address Principal Shortage in Massachusetts
June 16, 2014
In a move to address the growing demand for well-prepared school principals, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) awarded Curry College a $288,000 grant to educate and train principals. DESE grant monies will be used, in part, to cover 50 percent of the tuition cost for students who enroll in the upcoming program that begins September 2014. DESE funded this grant allocation through the federal "Race to the Top" initiative.
With only three such grants awarded statewide, the grant will help Curry College educate the next generation of school leaders-a group in high demand. As this school year ends, Massachusetts school districts need to fill more than 100 leadership positions.
Curry's Principal Licensure Certificate will help address retention concerns among principals and assistant principals. According to the 2011 Status of the Massachusetts Educator Workforce Report, only 72 percent of principals were retained in the Commonwealth over a two-year period, and even fewer were retained in their schools.
Curry College's Principal Licensure Certificate combines classroom instruction with a full-year, 550-hour field placement experience that aligns theory and practice. Throughout their practicum experience, students will be supported by two highly experienced professionals who will both serve in a coaching, teaching and mentoring role: an experienced school administrator who is working in a similar role that the student aspires to, and a program coordinator with extensive administrative experience. To qualify for the program all prospective students must be sponsored by their district superintendent.
In 2013, DESE approved Curry College's Principal Licensure Certificate, praising its commendable design and the program's real life, practical applications. Dr. Don Gratz, Director of the Program, and Education Department Chair at Curry College, describes the Principal Licensure certificate as a "grow your own" model that will help address the shortage of highly trained school leaders.
"Program applicants are all aspiring to advance to a school leadership position. A district leader must endorse their potential to become a successful principal and support their full field placement experience," says Dr. Gratz. "The program will provide excellent training, practical experience, relevant exposure, and equip program graduates to assume a leadership position feeling confident and well prepared."
Dr. Gratz recently offered additional comments on the issue of principal retention for articles published in The Nowood Daily Transcript, Wellesley Townsman, and The Winchester Star .
Curry College's 14-month Principal Licensure certificate is delivered in a hybrid format, allowing students to complete some of their coursework online.
Local school leaders and Curry's Principal Leadership faculty and staff meet to discuss program expansion.
Top row (l-r):
Patrick Fraine, Principal, Plymouth Public Schools; James Jette, Principal, Milton High School; Ruth Sherman, Dean, Curry College Continuing Education and Graduate Studies; Donald Gratz, Chairperson of the Curry College Education Department and Director of Graduate Education; Joseph Barnes, former Principal and School Committee Chair of Needham Public Schools
Bottom row (l-r):
Scott Borstel, Superintendent of Marshfield Public Schools; Dale Carberry, Field Coordinator and former Special Education Administrator for Dedham Public Schools; Tricia McConville, Associate Dean, Curry College Continuing Education and Graduate Studies; Margaret McKay, Curry College Program Coordinator and former Principal, Plymouth Public Schools