About The Wallace Foundation’s UPPI Project

The Wallace Foundation is a New York City-based philanthropy whose mission is to improve learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children, and further the vitality of the arts for everyone.  Since 2000, The Wallace Foundation has sought to improve the effectiveness of principals, who, we believe, are key to raising the quality of urban schools. Our $80 million Principal Pipeline Initiative is helping six school districts create a large corps of “instructional leaders” – principals whose main task is to improve teaching and learning. A separate five-year $30-million Principal Supervisor Initiative is designed to help 14 urban school districts improve the effectiveness of principal supervisors so they can better work with principals to raise the quality of teaching and learning in schools.

Wallace is launching a new initiative to improve university principal preparation programs focusing on up to six programs. The idea is to take a step in the direction of creating a new—and better—norm for principal pre-service training in the 700 or so university programs nationally, based on what we have learned over the last 15 years about what makes for effective principals.

Our work will revolve around creating strong examples of how to carry out three key related pieces of work necessary to upgrading principal preparation statewide:

  • Developing and implementing high-quality courses of study and supportive organization conditions at universities where future principals receive their pre-service training; 
  • Putting in place strong university/school-district collaborations; and
  • Developing state policies about program accreditation and principal licensure, which would promote higher-quality training statewide. 

We will commission an independent study throughout the life of the initiative to document the effort’s implementation and find lessons from the work.  As we learn we will develop communications products such as case studies and videos, as well as run conferences for non-grantees to spread the lessons.

The question the initiative seeks to answer is: 

How can university principal preparation programs—working in partnership with high-needs school districts, exemplary preparation programs and the state—improve their training so it reflects the evidence on how best to prepare effective principals?

For more information on the Wallace UPPI Project, please click here.

For more information on the Wallace Foundation, please click here.