WS/FCS selected for the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative

Published 8:54 pm Sunday, October 3, 2021

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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has been chosen to participate in the 2021 Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative sponsored by The Wallace Foundation. The endeavor is a five-year, $102 million project that supports eight large, high-needs districts to build evidence-based principal pipelines with the goal of developing principals who can advance each district’s own vision of equity. 

The initiative is based on strong evidence about the importance of principals and the benefits of principal pipelines while addressing a gap in understanding on a topic of field interest. Twenty years of research concluded that effective principals have a strong, positive impact on students and schools, making successful investments in principals highly cost-effective. An effective principal has nearly the same impact on student achievement as an effective teacher, but across an entire school.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our district,” said Tricia McManus, WS/FCS superintendent. “Strong principals are a key lever to student success. Being part of this initiative, will provide our district with the resources, tools, and thought partnership to create effective systems for recruiting, selecting, hiring, developing, retaining, and supporting high-quality, equity centered school leaders. A strong principal pipeline is essential to meeting the rigorous goals set forth in our strategic plan.”

The seven other districts included in this year’s Pipeline Initiative are Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland; Columbus City Schools, Ohio; District of Columbia Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, California; Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky; Portland Public Schools, Oregon; and the San Antonio Independent School District, Texas. Each district partnership team will receive grants totaling $8.2 million over the five-year period, assuming they are successfully renewed each year.

The work, which will begin in fall 2021, will be led locally by each district in partnership with local community organizations, two university leader preparation programs and the state education agency. Referred to as the “district partnership team.” WS/FCS will team with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Appalachian State University and the N.C. Department of Education.

Each district will determine its own technical assistance needs and contract for those from grant funds. In addition, each district will receive the following support in areas that are needs across all participating districts:

    • Community engagement (National Urban League)
    • School board engagement (Council of the Great City Schools)
    • Review of alignment of current district leadership policies and practices with the definition of equity each district team develops.  (The Leadership Academy and Bank Street College.)
    • Development of leader tracking systems, also known as human resources career data systems. (TBD in Year Two)

All district partnership teams, researchers and technical assistance providers will participate in four learning community meetings each year where they will be able to learn from each other about their respective work — both giving and getting feedback.

Based in New York City, The Wallace Foundation is a philanthropy that works nationally to answer important questions and foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone.

Wallace traces its origins back more than a half century to the philanthropic impulses of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association.