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Indiana Creates Turnaround Leadership Academy

The Indiana Department of Education and Marian University have teamed up to create a new academy—the only one of its kind in the state—for administrators and educators with a goal of improving the state's most troubled schools, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Candidates at the Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership, who range from current principals and teachers to non-educators, will take courses for a year. The curriculum will focus on using test-score data to inform school decisions and will incorporate recent research on improving performance in schools. Guest lectures will be given by leaders in the education reform movement, including those who worked for the Center for Education Reform, Teach for America, and the Center for Reinventing Public Education.

Following their coursework, candidates will have on-the-job mentor supervision for two years.

It's unclear how successful Marian grads will be at finding employment. While schools in turnaround have to hire new staff, schools that remain under district control may be less willing to hire principals trained to make big changes.

Chuck Little, director of the Indiana Urban School Association, expects mixed acceptance of the candidates from the school community. While he does not think all districts will leap to hire Marian grads, Little tells the Star, "I do think in some instances they would have a role to play."

If the school succeeds, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett—himself a strong advocate for education reform—has high hopes: "I believe we will see a different type of school leaders drive a different type of instruction," Bennett tells the Star.

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