By Kathy Chouteau
West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) principals and a group of central office leaders are going to receive some instruction of their own, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Chamberlin Education Foundation (CEF) that will provide them with professional development.
The funding will support foundational Leading and Learning workshops by New Leaders for all WCCUSD principals, in addition to added leadership support and coaching for 12 principals designated by the chief academic officer and her team. Expanding professional learning opportunities to 10 central office leaders is another facet of the overall plan. In all, the professional support will encompass 54 school leaders and 10 in the central office.
WCCUSD Chief Academic Officer LaResha Martin cited New Leaders as having “a proven track record of developing high-quality leaders,” noting that they believe in “shaping leaders to focus on equitable systems, address disproportionality and advocate for students and families who are most underserved.”
“New Leaders has a proven track record of developing high-quality leaders.”
She added that New Leaders also shares the district’s belief that “students can achieve at exceptional rates.”
Jay Eirvin, a first-year principal at Betty Reid Soskin Middle School, is hopeful that the leadership support and coaching will help him improve as an instructional leader. He said he’s looking forward to “receiving feedback and collaborating with other site leaders around creating and sustaining a school vision, using data to make instructional decisions and monitoring curriculum and instruction.”
Eirvin also wants “to see how seasoned principals are completing this at their sites.”
This grant is not the first time WCCUSD principals have received instruction from New Leaders; seven active WCCUSD principals received their administrative credentials through its Aspiring Principals Program via foundation support.
WCCUSD’s Martin said that building strong leaders at schools and in the central office is one of her chief goals. She underscored that the partnership bringing New Leaders into the WCCUSD “will provide all leaders with professional development that is relevant, tangible, empowering and stimulating.”
This latest grant brings CEF’s WCCUSD support to approximately $1.7 million in 2022-23. Via its Instructional Leadership Community of Practice, the foundation has contributed more than $4.5 million since 2018 toward supporting WCCUSD principals and instructional leaders (Total support amounts encompass funding from the Chamberlin Education Foundation and the Chamberlin Family Foundation).
The foundation said that the new grant aligns with its belief that “effective, equity-focused leadership is critical to strengthening academic outcomes, school culture and students’ long-term success.”
Vice President of Academics at CEF Caroline Damon said that the foundation combines a focus on “equity, a high academic bar that embraces instructional leadership, and personalized coaching to strengthen leaders’ adaptive and team management skills.”