school-desk-clipartFor the past five years, the Kentucky business community has contributed $2 million to send more than 250 school principals from 68 of the state’s 120 counties to The Leadership Institute for School Principals, and it looks like that investment is paying off.

According to education analyst Susan Perkins Weston of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a review of state assessment results at schools led by members of the 2011 and 2012 Leadership Institute for School Principals “clearly shows schools led by Leadership Institute participants delivering stronger improvement than the state as a whole… Looking at all subjects combined, the academic calculations show strong majorities of Leadership Institute-led schools outpacing the state as a whole.”

Elementary schools showed improvement across all students and a rate of improvement that was faster than students whose principal had not been to the institute. ACT scores in high school students also improved faster than the state average for institute alum-led schools.

The Kentucky Chamber Foundation started the Institute by offering school leaders executive-level leadership training.

This year, in partnership with the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, the Leadership Institute has expanded its offerings to include a program exclusively for Kentucky superintendents.

“This report shows that the Leadership Institute for School Principals is a unique and working program where the Kentucky business community can make — and, in fact, is making — a direct and important impact on the future success of our state,” said chamber president and CEO Dave Adkisson in a news release. “Now, we just need to pledge — together — to continue to broaden the Leadership Institute’s work to offer training to every principal in every county in the commonwealth.”

According to Adkisson, this is the only business-supported training program for school officials in the country.

The training, created and led by the Center for Creative Leadership, costs $9,000 per principal, but thanks to donations from individuals, businesses and communities, the program is free for participants. The Chamber Foundation pays tuition, travel and hotel.

This year’s class has 46 principals. The training started in June 2015 at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C. There was a follow-up session at the Kentucky Chamber offices last fall, and there will be one more later this year.

“The Leadership Institute for School Principals is by far the single most beneficial, rewarding and transformative professional development opportunity I’ve attended as a teacher or as an administrator,” said Erika Bowles, a member of the Leadership Institute Class of 2011. “The program is exceptionally crafted to give you, the administrator, a deeper understanding of your current and potential strengths as a school leader to allow you to empower, support and keep your students and teachers moving continually forward and achieving great success.”

If you’re a principal or superintendent of a Kentucky school, you can apply for the program that begins this summer here.