Hartford Public Schools and Neag School of Education Partner in Educational Leadership Program

Richard Gonzales IMG_3443 copy
Richard Gonzales from the Neag School serves as coordinator and a faculty member of the UCAPP+ program.

Hartford Public Schools and UConn’s Neag School of Education have signed an agreement to collaborate in preparing a select number of Hartford teachers for careers as school principals.

The agreement creates a tailor-made principal certification program called Preparing Leaders for Urban Schools (PLUS) that addresses leadership competencies and challenges that are specific to the Hartford Public Schools.

PLUS, which launched in August, is modeled after the nationally recognized University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP).

Candidates for the program are jointly recruited and selected through a competitive process created by the district and officials of the Neag School.

“I am thrilled that we have reached an agreement with the Neag School on creating a path by which a cadre of highly effective teachers with a shared vision can advance to the administrative ranks,” said Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto. “As such, the PLUS program will go a long way toward fulfilling our ultimate mission of closing the achievement gap and preparing every student for college and career success.”

The first cohort of nine students, guided by experts in the field of urban education and leadership, are working together as a community of practice to synthesize and apply the knowledge and skills they acquire through the program to the context of the Hartford Public Schools. They are expected to complete the program by July 2015.

“The selection process was extremely rigorous,” said Casey Cobb, educational leadership department head at the Neag School of Education. “Hartford Public Schools asked each principal in the district to nominate people in their building who had strong leadership potential and who would be good candidates for the program. They collected that information and we contacted those nominated, inviting them to an information session.”

Graduates of the PLUS program are eligible to serve as administrators in Hartford Public Schools.

“We are excited to be partnering with UConn and the Neag School of Education,” said Jennifer Allen, the Chief Talent Officer for HPS. “Our collective goal is to provide quality professional learning that supports our most effective teachers who have demonstrated leadership capabilities as they transition from the classroom to building or Central Office leadership roles. This program is an essential component of our career pathway and talent retention strategy.”

“PLUS is a groundbreaking program that will help identify, prepare, and induct future leaders of the Hartford Public Schools,” Cobb said. “It is a true partnership between Neag faculty and HPS practitioners, who will work side by side to deliver a program tailored specifically to the Hartford district context. I can’t think of many initiatives more important than developing talent to lead Connecticut’s urban schools.”

For more information on UCAPP, visit http://edlr.education.uconn.edu/programs/ucapp/ucapp/overview/

For more information on HPS, visit http://www.hartfordschools.org/