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posted: 11/11/2013 1:10 PM

North Central awarded federal grant to help East Aurora schools

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By Theodore Slowik
North Central College

Naperville's North Central College will participate in a $4.6 million federal School Leadership grant to help prepare future principals.

The five-year grant will directly benefit children in East Aurora Unit District 131, one of five area public school districts North Central College partners with to create educational opportunities.

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"This is an exciting opportunity for North Central College to provide significant resources to District 131 while at the same time providing some of our principal candidates the opportunity for authentic leadership work in a high-need school," said Maureen Kincaid, chairman of North Central's education department.

The North Central/East Aurora partnership is one of four to be awarded funding through the competitive grant by the U.S. Department of Education's School Leadership Program. North Central is the only private institution among the three.

The Illinois Partnership Advance Rigorous Training Project is a collaborative effort among colleges and universities and high-need school districts aimed at improving preparation for future principals.

The other three recipients of the grant are Illinois State University/Bloomington School District 87; Western Illinois University/Quincy School District 172; and Loyola University Chicago/Offices of Catholic Schools in Bloomington and Aurora.

"The applicant provides strong evidence that the proposed project is part of a comprehensive effort to improve teaching and learning and support rigorous academic standards," the U.S. Department of Education said in announcing its approval of the grant. ISU is the lead applicant of the grant.

The partnerships between the high-need districts and higher education institutions aim to create rigorous and relevant training programs aligned to complexities faced by today's principals.

Participating partners commit to work collectively to improve teaching and learning and support high academic standards for students in the high-need districts.

Total first-year funding among the three recipients is $263,629, with North Central College allotted $100,000 to place five candidates enrolled in the college's master's degree in education program at partner schools in the East Aurora district, where they will complete a full-time, semester-long intensive internship.

Faculty from North Central College's education department will collect and provide data to education evaluators about how the principal candidates impact student learning.

North Central College offers a master of arts degree in education, with emphasis in teacher leadership, educational leadership and administration or curriculum and instruction, as well as graduate courses that lead to state endorsements as a principal or teacher leader.

The college offers undergraduate degrees in elementary education and secondary education, with options to earn minors in reading and English language learning and an endorsement in special education.

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