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FAU Receives $1 Million Grant for Equity in Instructional Performance

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Education School Leaders Program has been awarded a three-year, $1,039,041 grant from Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) to support two graduate degree programs as part of the Teacher School Leader Equity for Instructional Performance (EQUIP) grant project initiative. BCPS is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in Florida.

While BCPS has earned many accolades and enjoyed past successes in achieving its mission and providing high quality education to its diverse student body, there are still areas of opportunity for significant growth and development across a career continuum.

Through EQUIP, BCPS has partnered with FAU, St. Thomas University and Broward College to increase student achievement in 20 high-need schools within the district through improvement of the districtwide Performance Based Compensation System (PBCS) and Human Capital Management System (HCMS). These schools have been selected based on high poverty rates, levels of student diversity, academic need, and the presence of an administrative team that is enthusiastic about participating in the grant. The ultimate goal is to increase student achievement in the selected high-need schools by supporting the professional growth and diversity of the educator workforce.

“EQUIP seeks to support the professional growth of teachers and school leaders and improve the ability of the district to recruit more diverse, highly qualified, and highly effective teachers, teacher leaders and reward those who improve their students’ growth and performance,” said Daniel Reyes-Guerra, Ph.D., School Leaders Program coordinator and an associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology. “EQUIP also will support human capital initiatives focusing on educator preparation, retention, and advancement.”

Expanding the partnership between BCPS and FAU’s School Leadership Program, FAU will develop two graduate programs that include a 13-student cohort of Ph.D. students and a 20-student cohort of master’s degree in educational leadership students. For the Ph.D. program, EQUIP will provide three directors, working with EQUIP schools, five principals and seven assistant principals, an opportunity to earn a doctorate degree in educational leadership with a concentration in turnaround leadership, diversity, social emotional learning, and equitable leadership. This program will provide broad research and practice-based experiences that allow educational leaders to bring many different perspectives to bear on the organizational problems and opportunities they encounter in these most challenged schools. Participants who complete this program will be scholar-practitioners holding a Ph.D. in educational leadership.

FAU will base the EQUIP master’s degree on the School Leaders Program’s nationally acclaimed curriculum currently employed in university-district partnerships in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, and Osceola county school districts. The program will be customized to prepare school leaders with a focus on “turnaround” school leadership and meeting the needs of underserved students, with a focus on cultural competence as instructional leaders. Over the grant period, teachers from each of the 20 participating schools will receive scholarships to complete the program; in exchange, they will agree to serve in a high-need school in BCPS for five years.

The master’s degree program will include job-embedded professional learning over three years. Upon completion of all of the requirements and graduation, participants will obtain Florida Level 1 Certification in Educational Leadership, fulfill all BCPS professional development requirements, and be eligible to interview for an assistant principal position.

FAU ranks as the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse institution in Florida’s State University System. FAU also is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and its First-Generation Student Success program is recognized statewide.  

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