This new video, produced by the Regional Office of Education (ROE) #1, shows how the LEAD project continues to support principals during the pandemic. Through the COVID 19 Toolkit, the LEAD project listened to what principals were facing due to the emergency closures and the eventual return to school. Tools and materials were assembled to support principals during this challenging time. LEAD Coaches were trained on the resources so that they could provide further support to principals. LEAD Coaches also organized their coaching around 3 priorities: be flexible, agile, and responsive; support social-emotional needs, and reestablish a learning focus.

Four phases were developed for the toolkit:

  • Phase 1: Triage Phase – Figure out what needed to happen and when; and what new priorities would be during the closure period.
  • Phase 2: Diagnostic Phase – Gather data and information collected during Phase 1 to try to understand what happened.
  • Phase 3: Re-entry Plan – Use this data to develop a fall re-entry plan–remote learning, hybrid learning, or full in-person learning.
  • Phase 4: Re-orient focus back to instruction – Go deeper into the communication piece. Schools have to get back to ensuring that students are learning and that their basic needs and social-emotional needs are being attended to as well.

“By providing a coach, principals have the ability to increase their self-awareness, particularly as it relates to equity and SEL,” said Darlene Ruscitti, regional superintendent of DuPage ROE #19. “They receive a heightened sense of self-efficacy as they receive measurable and actionable feedback from their coaches. And they experience growth in their ability to approach problems from a solution-oriented stance. The supports provided by the LEAD project during the COVID-19 pandemic have been a lifeline for many of these principals. ”

The LEAD project is jointly administered by the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP) and the DuPage Regional Office of Education. The project collaborates with four regions in Illinois including Regional Offices of Education (ROE) 1, 17, 19, and 28 in addition to the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University and three university education administration departments located at Illinois State University, North Central College, and Western Illinois University. The ROEs serve as LEAD Hubs designed to serve as a regional/local connection point that brings the schools, universities, and communities together. The idea of the LEAD Hub is to attract, place, support, and retain school leaders that are well trained to meet the needs of the whole child within a culturally responsive context that maximizes regional resources, builds regional capacity, and creates a highly successful, sustainable leadership pipeline. Each Hub is staffed with a LEAD Coordinator to help facilitate the work and maximize the outcomes of the LEAD Project.

The LEAD projects are funded by the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) and Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant Programs at the United States Department of Education. The LEAD Hub work is supported through funding by the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation.