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#6 | Celebrating the Bush Center's top ten milestones of 2011

Article by Hannah Abney December 26, 2011 //   3 minute read

Milestone #6: Tripled the size of the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership 49.3 million American students attend public school every day—led by over 90,000 principals. Cultivating leaders who are able to set a strong vision and culture for schools is critical to creating effective learning environments and improving student achievement. That’s why the very first education initiative launched at the Bush Institute was the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL), a network of innovators around the country that are changing the way school principals are chosen, trained, evaluated and empowered. AREL, announced by Mrs. Bush in September, 2010, focuses on enhancing and empowering the performance of America’s school principals as a means to impact student achievement.

But those of us who work at the Bush Institute aren’t the only people who understand the impact AREL will make on schools. In just a little over a year, AREL has tripled the number of program sites, which now include: Achievement First, Building Excellent Schools, Chicago Leadership Collaborative, ED Entrepreneur Center (EEC) at SMU, Get Smart Schools; Great Leaders for Great Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools, KIPP Long Beach Unified School District, Louisiana Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership, New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy, Ryan Fellowship, Saint Louis University, Teachers College, Columbia University, TFA/Harvard/Chicago Public Schools and the University of Illinois Chicago. Combined, those 18 programs have 930 principals in their cohorts. Over the course of 2011, President and Mrs. Bush visited with AREL site leadership, principals and others that we consider friends of the work – people such as Wendy Kopp, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Jean Desravines, Jon Schnur, and Courtney Welsh – in Gwinnett County, at Get Smart Schools in Denver, and in New York City. The conversations among the groups centered on the same issue in each location: a continued need for accountability in schools. As Mayor Michael Hancock said in Denver: “He (President Bush) did not talk about Washington, he did not talk about Congress, and he did not talk about the president. He talked about education and caring enough to send the very best to our schools. One of the guiding values of any approach to quality schools is to make sure there’s accountability in the school — you’ve got to be able to measure what you’re accomplishing.” Not to be missed? This piece by Andrew Rotherham at TIME Magazine.