sealPurdue News

January 15, 2002

Purdue education department receives prestigious grant

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and the Center for Educational Leadership at Purdue University Calumet have been have awarded a $40,000 Ventures in Leadership grant to examine and assess the effectiveness of school principals in selected Indiana cities.

The grant, funded by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds in New York, will enable Purdue to conduct a two-year study of 15 urban principals across the state. The study will examine how professional development training through the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards for building administrators impacts student achievement. Researchers will attempt to identify which of the standards are positively linked with improved student performance, especially in schools with at-risk students.

Once the standards are identified, states that have adopted the ISLCC standards can promote administrators' proficiency of those particular standards. University administrator preparation programs can focus on the standards and assist in the reform of urban education. Professional development of principals licensed under a non-standards based system also can be improved.

Marilyn A. Hirth, associate professor of educational studies at Purdue, said the ultimate goal is to attract, prepare and retain high quality school leaders.

"We believe that we can really make a difference in the leadership of principals and their impact on student outcomes," Hirth said.

Pamela Frampton, director of the Center for Educational Leadership and assistant professor of educational administration at Purdue University Calumet, said this study reflects the national priority of reforming education.

"Considering the national imperative to improve student test scores, this project is at the forefront by examining how principals can enhance student performance through professional development and self-reflection," Frampton said.

The grant is part of the Wallace Funds Ventures in Leadership program, whose goal is to help nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations and public schools test innovative ideas for improving educational leadership. In 2001, Ventures in Leadership awarded approximately 50 fast-track grants of up to $50,000 each for programs that offered promising approaches for principals and superintendents to improve student achievement.

Mary Lee Fitzgerald, director of education programs at the Wallace Funds, said her company is pleased to have an impact on the education reform movement.

"We are pleased to offer Ventures in Leadership awards that will bring innovative approaches to the way we view and respond to the crisis in educational leadership," said Fitzgerald. "We believe that these ideas will foster new partnerships among states, communities, schools and districts that will ultimately result in improved student achievement."

Ventures in Leadership is part of LEADERS Count, a national initiative by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds to place quality leadership at the core of school reform and to build a new field of knowledge that helps improvements spread. LEADERS Count seeks to place a broader pool of capable candidates for school leadership, to strengthen the abilities of principals and superintendents to improve learning, and to create conditions that allow principals and superintendents lead effectively.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Marilyn Hirth, (765) 494-7299,

Jessica Schwartz, Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, (212) 251-9711

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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