SFUSD Awarded Grant to Cultivate Diverse Educational Leaders

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Thursday, May 15, 2024 (San Francisco) - The Berkeley School of Education, in partnership with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), has been awarded $1.2 million in state funding to provide tuition assistance for up to 88 aspiring school leaders from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue an advanced degree and administrative credential with the Principal Leadership Institute and Leadership Support Program.

The DELPI Grant, totaling $10 million, has been awarded to 10 Local Educational Agencies spanning from Northern to Southern California. Its purpose is to provide tailored support and guidance to diverse aspiring school leaders, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to succeed in leadership positions. Selected from a pool of competitive applicants, UC Berkeley has been chosen due to its demonstrated dedication to social justice and equity in education.

“Developing a robust pipeline of leaders of color is vital in education, with research highlighting its positive effects on teacher retention, student enrollment in advanced classes, and graduation rates for students of color. In California, where nearly 4 out of 5 students are students of color, the ripple effect of these positive outcomes is hard to overstate," said Berkeley School of Education Dean Michelle D. Young.

Through the DELPI Grant, UC Berkeley will partner with OUSD, SFUSD, and WCCUSD to strategically cultivate a pipeline of diverse and culturally responsive aspiring leaders prepared to address their local communities' pressing needs. Specifically, the Principal Leadership Institute at Berkeley will partner with these districts to support and provide the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential coursework, the Clear Administrative Services Credential (ASC), leadership coaching, and ongoing professional learning support for DELPI candidates. This partnership will prioritize the advancement of a diverse leader workforce and build a pipeline that will serve OUSD, WCCUSD, and SFUSD schools for years to come.

“California's commitment to educator diversity is evident in its investment in grant funding. The Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) at UC Berkeley has a strong track record of creating the infrastructure needed to diversify the principal workforce, making them an ideal candidate for this grant. This achievement highlights PLI's transformative work and tangible impact, showcasing not just talk but action, with an emphasis on ethnic inclusivity.” said Travis J. Bristol, UC Berkeley associate professor of teacher education and education policy.

"Every day in our schools, we see the positive impacts of having a diverse and stable staff, which is why having a diverse and stable staff is one of the four initiatives of our District Strategic Plan. We are grateful for this DELPI grant, which will go a long way to ensuring that leaders who look like our students, and know the challenges they face growing up in our community, lead our schools into the future. It is indisputable that students having teachers, staff, and school leaders who look like them increases achievement and reaffirms for them the idea that they can do whatever they want in life, including becoming an educator. Plus, we know it helps with staff retention and satisfaction with the workplace. We thank the State of California and U.C. Berkeley's School of Education for supporting our efforts to recruit and retain more diverse leaders in Oakland schools," said Tara Gard, OUSD Chief Talent Officer.

“We are thrilled that San Francisco educators will have the opportunity to grow in their careers thanks to this grant,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said. “The funding will support dozens of SFUSD educators in benefiting from the Diverse Education Leaders Pipeline Initiative, where they will engage in rigorous programs to sustain a strong leadership force in San Francisco’s public schools.”

"We are thrilled to be part of this transformative initiative," West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Kenneth C. Hurst, Sr. Ed.D said. "This partnership with UC Berkeley through the Principal Leadership Institute will not only advance the representation of underrepresented backgrounds in educational leadership, but also contribute to a more equitable society for all students in our District and across California."

The DELPI Grant is the first of its kind to allocate financial resources and invest in the diverse educational leadership pipeline. This grant is poised to have a lasting legacy on California’s education landscape. UC Berkeley looks forward to collaborating with local districts to drive meaningful change and advance outcomes for all students across California, ultimately contributing to a more just and equitable society.