Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

PCS to Launch Leadership Training Program Pilot

Educational leaders in Plainville will participate in a professional development training program pilot this summer funded by the GE Foundation and modeled after GE’s own executive leadership and management training program. The primary focus of the professional development training is to enhance the leadership abilities of school district administrators, and ultimately improve the districts’ capacity to educate Plainville students to high performance levels in the core areas of literacy, math and science. "Leadership matters," said Andrew Lachman, executive director of the Connecticut Center for School Change (CCFSC). "National research studies show that when principals and central office administrators act as instructional leaders, they have a direct, measurable effect on student achievement."

Development of the training program began in 2005, with a $100,000 grant provided by the GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the GE company. At that time, the Collaborative for Accelerating Learning Through District Leadership Effectiveness (CALE) was established. The group, comprised of school district leaders, local representatives from GE Consumer & Industrial and CCFSC, a statewide intermediary, non-profit organization that promotes comprehensive reform of Connecticut’s school districts to increase student achievement, began work on the design and delivery plan for two educational leadership training modules in the areas of data based decision making and developing capacity for change.

The training modules, crafted specifically for application in an educational setting, were developed through the CCFSC’s Systematic Instructional Improvement Program (SIIP), which provides technical assistance and coaching to senior level district staff to restructure operations and focus on student achievement.

The professional development training program also reflects input from GE’s leadership staff and incorporates a number of leadership tools, including the Change Acceleration Process (CAP) and Six Sigma, which focuses on a data-driven approach to systematic process improvement.

“Being given the opportunity to translate business best practices to education has been both challenging and rewarding,” says Tom Campbell, one of the GE participants in the program.

“This is a unique opportunity to adapt the practices of a successful business organization (GE) to help us in our own improvement processes here in the Plainville Community Schools. Viewing the district as a tightly connected system, rather than as individual entities, we have the opportunity for conversation and collaboration across levels to improve student achievement. Using the concept of Six Sigma and the tools that drive GE toward excellence can only benefit the district in its commitment to excellence in our schools,” commented Linda Van Wagenen, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for Plainville Community Schools.

“We are indebted to our friends at GE and the Center for School Change for their dedicated partnership, valuable insight, and devotion to enhancing leadership skills and improving student achievement. Development of the data and change training modules reflects the hard work and commitment of this collaboration over the past two years. We look forward to the next phase in the educational leadership development project with the delivery of the pilot training program at our Leadership Summit in August, and know that our experience and learning from GE will result in Six Sigma Quality for the district,” noted Kathleen Binkowski, superintendent of schools.

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to strengthen educational quality for disadvantaged youth globally; and supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2005, the GE family contributed more than $215 million to community and educational programs, including $71 million from the GE Foundation. For information, visit

-Posted on August 9, 2006 at 10:50 PM

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