The Education Innovator #37
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The Education Innovator
 November 10, 2003 • Number 37
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  Past issues
What's inside...
Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs
What's New
OII awards grant to help states with school choice programs; Katarina Sandoval, founder of South Valley Academy charter school, recognized by Milken Family Foundation; Florida is first state to receive education flexibility grant; President Bush eliminates more barriers to faith-based charities' partnering with the federal government; and DC charter schools to be among the first to receive Medicaid reimbursements for students with special needs.
Innovations in the News
Chancellor Joel Klein has proposed using private firms to build charter schools; plus information on parent involvement, teacher quality, management reform, and supplemental educational services.

Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs Program Trains Charter School Principals
Do charter school principals need unique skills to manage the highly individual schools they lead? The nature of charter schools requires entrepreneurs, as well as school leaders, according to Arizona State University West (ASU-West). Competition for students, administrative independence, and the need for a school location outside the local public school system require principals who are savvy in marketing, vigilant about financial reporting, and adept at facilities planning, for example. These business skills can mix with the educational leadership skills to shape an effective principal who is ultimately accountable for student achievement.

Arizona State University West (ASU-West) is addressing the need for highly qualified principals in charter schools through its Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs (LEE) program. The LEE program provides technical and leadership training, as well as a support network, for educational entrepreneurs to become change agents with strong business, education, and qualitative research skills.

In 2002, the first class of 24 LEE Fellows was selected from a pool of 260 applicants. Eighty per cent of the Fellows' tuition is paid, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Charter Schools Program. Some of the Fellows are administrators and teachers from small rural or large urban charter schools, while others are business consultants or directors of regional resource centers.

LEE is an interdisciplinary Masters program that bridges the ASU-West College of Education's M. Ed. and the School of Management's MBA degrees. The LEE courses are delivered face-to-face, online, and at regional sites across the country. The program includes:

  • Recruitment and training of current and aspiring principals through a specialized curriculum and flexible course delivery;
  • Sustained professional development, using the case study method and consisting of four workshops aligned with Arizona Administrator Proficiency Standards, for practicing charter school principals in high-need areas; and
  • A mentor program that forges a university/charter school partnership.
The mentoring component will be expanded this year with one full-time research professor serving as an instructional leader and liaison between the university mentors and their protégés. In addition, the mentoring program will bring together charter school leaders from across the country with regional labs, charter school associations, policy institutes, regional resource centers, and other universities.

The LEE program recently received another grant from OII's Charter Schools Program. For more information, visit:

Note: The Northwest Regional Education Laboratory will conduct an evaluation of the project. In the evaluations, charters schools participating in the LEE program will be compared to a control group. Factors to be assessed include the effect of the mentoring program on student achievement, the program's impact on education entrepreneurs, the effectiveness of distance learning, and the impact of the program on the educational system.


What's New
Grants to Assist States with School Choice Programs
Grants to Assist States with School Choice Programs Press Release OII has awarded a joint grant to the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota and the Center for Best Practices at the National Governors Association to help states identify the most effective ways to create and administer school choice programs. For more information, see Grants to Assist States with School Choice Programs Press Release. (Nov. 3)

South Valley and Milken Family Foundation Educator Awards
Katarina Sandoval, teacher and founder of South Valley Academy (NM) charter school, has been awarded a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. This award is presented for exceptional educational talent that includes outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school, and profession. For information about South Valley Academy and Milken National Educator Awards, see South Valley Academy and Milken Family Foundation Educator Awards. (Oct. 30)

Florida to Receive an Education Flexibility Grant
Florida is the first state to receive an education flexibility grant to consolidate certain federal formula funds in exchange for increased accountability for student progress. States can also specify how school districts use funds to promote informed parental choice and innovative programs (Title V, Part A, of No Child Left Behind). For more information about "State-Flex", see Florida to Receive an Education Flexibility Grant Press Release. (Oct. 28)

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and Proposed Regulations to Clear Barriers for Faith-Based Organizations to Help More Americans In Need
President George W. Bush has eliminated more barriers that keep faith-based charities from partnering with the federal government to help Americans in need. This initiative has an impact on many federal government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education. For example, faith-based organizations will now be able to apply for funding to mentor at-risk children to improve academic achievement and reduce the dropout rate. For more information, see, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and Proposed Regulations to Clear Barriers for Faith-Based Organizations to Help More Americans in Need Press Release. (Sept. 22)

D.C. Public Charter School Cooperative
Under the guidance of the DC Public Charter School Cooperative, DC charter schools will be among the first in the nation to receive Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to their students with special needs. As of October 2003, six charters have submitted applications to Medicaid. For more information on DC Public Charter School Cooperative, see D.C. Public Charter School Cooperative. (Oct. 2003)


Innovations in the News

Charter Schools
Chancellor Joel Klein of New York City public schools has proposed using private firms to build charter schools and snipping red tape to get the job done. The goal is to create charter schools for less money. Bronx Prep charter school is cited as an example. [More-Daily News] (Nov. 3)

A new charter school in the Bronx offers students smaller class sizes with only 50 students, four teachers and four teaching assistants. [More-News 12-TV] (Oct. 23)

Officials in Barnstable, MA are taking an alternate tack with the federal No Child Left Behind law, MCAS tests, and shrinking budgets. Rather than tightening their grip on teachers and principals, they are loosening it. Their solution? Charter schools. [More-Commonwealth Magazine] (Oct. 23)

The Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy has issued a report on "How Well Are American Students Learning?" This report says that charter schools run by education management organizations are raising student achievement faster than other charter schools. [More-Brookings Institution] (Oct. 22)

Parent Involvement
No Child Left Behind sets the stage for collaborative relationships between parents and the school. NCLB fosters such practices as better communication about test scores and parents' options and requirements that schools develop a "school-parent compact." [More-Christian Science Monitor] (Oct. 28)

Parents in metropolitan Detroit are now able to view their children's grades online, and some parents can track their children's work on the school districts' website where daily assignments are posted. [More-Detroit News] (Oct. 29)

Teacher Quality
The cumbersome, slow-moving hiring process at many urban school districts is alienating top teaching candidates, according to a study by the nonprofit New Teacher Project, recipient of a recent OII grant to fix these problems in two city school systems. [More-The Washington Post] (Oct. 28)

Management Reform
Harvard's Business School and Graduate School of Education announced a joint, 3-year study of nine school systems to evaluate how districts link their management and academics. Boston public schools Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant welcomes the opportunity to learn and apply the best practices from both Harvard schools to his system. [More-The Boston Globe] (Oct. 26)

Supplemental Educational Services
One-third more poor children in New York City public schools will receive free tutoring this year than last. This increase is attributed to improved outreach to eligible families with earlier notification, clearer correspondence, and help from new parent coordinators. [More-The New York Times] (Nov. 6)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011