Education Initiative Developed by Rice to Transform Houston School Leadership in K-12

January 15, 2008 — Houston — Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Management is in alliance with Houston educational organizations in a compelling new program designed to equip principals in K-12 schools with exceptional leadership skills and business acumen.  A goal of the initiative is to dramatically change and improve the academic performance of students throughout the community, particularly in underserved schools.  The program as designed, is unique not only in Houston, but throughout the US.
The “Rice Education Entrepreneurship Programs,” (Rice EEP), will provide training that equips principals with skills to better deal with the complex challenges in today’s schools.  The launch of the program was funded through a $7.2 million grant awarded by Houston Endowment.
“We are excited that Houston Endowment’s support will allow Rice to create and offer a new and uniquely rigorous academic program aimed at improving education management and teaching–and-learning performance in Houston’s schools.  The new program will engage successful local practitioners and national thought leaders as instructors in a postgraduate program for current and future principals in our city schools,” said Rice University Provost Eugene Levy, PhD.  “Houston Endowment’s visionary support allows us to combine the resources of Rice’s internationally distinguished Jones Graduate School of Management with education courses and practical experiential learning to offer a new concept for preparing school leaders.  We look forward to the important impact that we anticipate this program will have on the educational achievement of Houston’s public school students.”
“School leadership is a key determinant of student success,” stated Houston Endowment president Larry R. Faulkner.  “This grant represents a significant investment in those individuals who not only have demonstrated excellence in the classroom, but who show promise of becoming some of the finest school leaders in the nation.  By helping to defray the costs of a graduate degree, we hope to encourage them to continue to devote themselves to K-12 education, particularly in underserved areas.”
Collaboration among several Houston area organizations has brought a wide array of expertise to the table:   Teach For America and Houston A+ Challenge have contributed to the innovative program which comprises three customized learning tracks for three different groups of participants.  One of the tracks, The Rice MBA for Professionals for Educational Entrepreneurs, is unique in the marketplace in that it is designed specifically for educators.  The program is expected to bring strong new K-12 leadership into the Houston area and merges the best of Rice with exemplary regional education innovators and national thought leaders.  It will create a powerful network of 45 education change agents who will develop strong collegial relationships that will serve them well as they face challenges and successes throughout their careers.
“The K-12 school system at large in the Houston community calls for transformational thought leadership in its management ranks that can greatly improve the quality of education for the community for the long term,” said William H. Glick, dean of Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Management.
Increasing the number of strong school leaders requires developing individuals from both the current pool in the education system and by attracting new talent from our community and the US.  The collaboration with Teach For America provides a set of candidates who are seeking a rigorous general management education at Rice.
The programs will identify and admit candidates who can assume a senior leadership position, most likely as principals, upon graduation.  There will be three academic tracks for program participants that involve either the Rice MBA for Professionals or Rice Advanced Management Program for Education Entrepreneurs (RAMP-EE) which is a non-degree certificate program.
The three groups of participants include:

Track A:  15 academic professionals with five to seven years experience who seek to supplement their degree with a Rice MBA-EE (two-year commitment).  Houston A+ challenge will work in collaboration with the university to provide coaches to assist the MBA students in assimilating what they have learned into school settings.  With its considerable experience in working with local school leaders, Houston A+ will encourage students to serve in the Houston area schools.  Rice will also provide tuition reimbursement for those who select to work in under-served schools for a designated time.  Admission deadline for this track is June 2, 2008 and courses start the following Fall.
Track B:  15 aspiring principals that have a master's degree and require principal certification who will participate in an intensive summer education program and a customized RAMP program
Track C:  15 sitting principals who will study management through a tailored and innovative curriculum in educational entrepreneurship through participation in the RAMP-EE program

All three tracks will participate in a unique summer education curriculum that attracts speakers who are both regional and national thought leaders.  A majority of the summer curriculum will be based upon the Texas State Board of Educator Certificate (SBEC) framework and include classes in:  value and ethics of leadership, human resources, communication and community relations, curriculum planning and development, instructional leadership, among other subjects.