Earlier this month, the United States Department of Education announced results for the fourth round of its Investing in Innovation (i3) competition, which will award more than $135 million to expand innovative practices designed to improve student achievement.  NYC Leadership Academy was awarded a $3 million i3 development grant for our Targeted Intensive School Support (TISS) Program.

TISS is a comprehensive support model designed to sustain the successful turnaround of chronically low-performing New York City (NYC) public schools through the cultivation of effective leadership practice, focused on the development of high-functioning teams of school leaders.  Our model will support a team composed of a principal and an assistant principal, both trained through one of our programs, as they take over a low performing school.  Together they will work to expand their leadership team by including teacher leaders and other school staff members who will help drive improvements in their school.   This model reflects the growth of our understanding that the development of effective leadership teams is the key to continued success in school turnaround and improving academic results for high need students. Research shows that breaking a struggling school’s “cycle of a failure” is highly dependent on not just the school leader, but on the strength and capacity of its school leadership team.

The TISS initiative builds an innovative new program on the foundation of three existing core NYCLA programs with proven results: our nationally-recognized and externally validated Aspiring Principals Program (APP), which recruits, prepares, and supports talented educators committed to leading school turnaround efforts; the Leadership Advancement Program (LAP), which prepares aspiring leaders; and our current coaching program for NYC principals, especially those early in their careers.   This work is supported by data-informed analysis of specific school improvement needs, expanded engagement with NYCDOE Network Leaders, and opportunities for shared learning and problem-solving with teams who are leading other challenging schools.

By supporting our work, the USDOE will allow us to position a team of highly qualified and trained school leaders for success in some of New York City’s most challenging schools, including many that are on New York State’s Priority or Focus school lists. Our school leadership teams will directly impact approximately 30,000 of the school system’s students each year.