Peoria Public Schools has approved an agreement with Rockford University to establish a Principal Pipeline Program.
The new program will create space for up to 25 teachers in District 150 to participate in a two-year cohort to receive a master’s degree in urban education. Each course within the program is designed to align with the District’s demographics and goals, and participants are expected to remain in the District for at least two years following graduation.
superintendent dr Sharon Kherat said the program will allow the district to tackle the staffing shortage from the inside.
“Just like we have our teacher pipeline, we’re also being proactive to have our own grow-your-own administrative pipeline,” said Kherat.
District 150 has agreed to cover 90% of the cost of the program, and the personal financial responsibility of each participant is expected to be $270 per semester.
Annie Baddoo, coordinator of the Urban Education Graduate Program at Rockford University, asserts that this financial commitment is essential, as it eliminates a key barrier for many who would otherwise be unable to afford a master’s program.
“We believe that the very best teachers and the very best leaders for our districts are in our schools, are in our communities,” said Baddoo. “We see this as an opportunity to partner with districts to serve and create a program that meets the specific needs of Peoria.”
Baddoo also emphasized the network of support the program creates for its participants, especially at a time in which schools districts across the nation are facing a variety of challenges, from staffing shortages to social-emotional obstacles.
“Part of the reason people leave the field is because it can be lonely to be a leader,” said Baddoo. “When you spend two years with people that you are growing your leadership capacity [with]…you have this whole built-in support system of people that care about the community, know the community, and can help you grapple with the unique challenges that you might be having in your school.”
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