"Next" Magazine Vol. 3 Fall 2016 - Page 28

NEXT GENERATION LEADERSHIP ACADEMY Photo by Amanda Nelson Preparing Principals Program exceeds expectations in first years STORY BY BETH GOINS W hen the UK College of Education’s Next Generation Leadership Academy (NxGLA) took flight in late 2011 with a $532,418 grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation, matched by the University of Kentucky, program leaders hoped it would help school districts across Kentucky to design new systems for learning. It has met their expectations – and then some. Next Generation districts exceed state percentages in college and/or career readiness, high school graduation rates, college-going rates and AP exam success rates.* With 60 of Kentucky’s 173 public school districts par ticipating so far, it connects school leaders and teachers with a network of UK faculty, regional university partners and state and national leaders. College of Education faculty involved in NxGLA – Carmen Coleman, Linda France and Lu Young – hearing so many district success stories, considered how to apply these concepts to preparing educators for a school leadership role – the school principal. And so, beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, the Department of Educational Leadership Studies has retooled the UK College of Education’s Principal 28 | Preparation program to incorporate NxGL principles. “The Next Generation Principal Preparation program is unique in that it focuses on leading for deeper learning,” said Lu Young.  “In keeping with the Next Generation Academy and the work of the UK National Center for Innovation in Education, we emphasize high expectations, competency-based learning and customized pathways as the means to ensure that ALL students are prepared to graduate, ready for future success.  To that end, we promote personalized learning through inquiry, balanced assessment and student agency as key levers for next-generation leaders. Through the Academy and the Center, our aspiring principals have access to acclaimed leaders across the country who are doing similar cutting-edge work.” Over a two-year period, aspiring principals earn 30 credit hours required for principal licensure/ certification and participate in the NxGL academy both years. The classes are delivered online, so that students in the program only need to travel to the seven NxGLA sessions offered each year. The program is already leaving its fingerprints on