A collaboration among California State University, Chico’s School of Education, Chico Unified School District and Humboldt State University to better support the work of North State educators and school leaders has resulted in a sizeable grant from the California Department of Education.

The “21st Century California School Leadership Academy” (21 CSLA) grant will provide $3 million over three years to the Northern California Educational Leadership Coalition (NorCal ELC), a professional learning project aimed at helping principals and school leaders, including teacher leaders, more effectively meet student and community needs.

Michael Kotar, professor emeritus in the School of Education, said funding will help to staff and operate the professional learning program designed to reach approximately 143 school leaders in California’s 11 most northern counties.

“Extensive research, mostly conducted in the US and Canada, has shown that there are practices that can be enacted at schools that improve the environment for educators and result in increased academic and social success for students,” Kotar said. “NorCal ELC will collaborate with the other regional projects awarded by the California Department of Education in the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy to develop a statewide professional learning curriculum that focuses on these high-leverage practices.”

Kotar added that an expected outcome of the work funded by the grant is development of a regional professional learning network for school leaders that will have components that exist beyond the term of the project.

Liz Metzger, grants coordinator for Chico Unified School District, said the overarching goal of NorCal ELC’s work is to build capacity of school leaders to better support the work of educators at their sites—ultimately having a positive impact on student achievement and well-being.

“We are very excited about the potential this grant represents for our region’s school leaders and, through them, teachers and students,” Metzger said. “Our three-year program will serve school leaders, including current administrators and teacher leaders, in the 11 Northern California counties.”

Those 11 counties include Butte, Glenn, Trinity, Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen Plumas, Tehama and Shasta. Additional project partners Humboldt State and Abeo School Change, a nonprofit professional development organization in Bellingham, Washington, that facilitates adult learning focused on school change.

The primary mission of CSU, Chico’s School of Education is to prepare educators for roles and careers as teachers and school administrators for PreK–12 schools. Upon successful completion of programs, the School of Education determines that the individual meets state standards and recommends them for the appropriate California credential. In addition to this primary mission, the School of Education provides services to schools, including organizing and offering professional learning opportunities for school personnel in collaboration with county offices of education, school districts and educational agencies such as the California Department of Education.