The California Department of Education is making another historic investment in its educational leaders by awarding up to $12 million in additional funding over three years to the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy (21CSLA) State Center, a project housed and led by UC Berkeley School of Education in partnership with the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies and UC San Diego-based California Subject Matter Project. (Multi-year funding is subject to US Department of Education allocations and California state budget authority.)
The state will also award up to $6.9 million to the 21CSLA Alameda Regional Academy over three years to carry out transformational work with school and district leaders in the greater Bay Area.
“Big changes require strong, teachable, leadership skills. Reforms often founder because we underinvest in leaders,” said Berkeley School of Education Interim Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. “If you care about equity and excellence, you should care about educational leadership.”
The first statewide professional learning initiative for leaders in over 20 years, 21CSLA was launched in 2020 with a $13 million, three-year state grant in partnership with the California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. With seven Regional Academies statewide, the 21CSLA State Center will ensure that thousands of public school leaders throughout California have access to free high-quality professional learning, which includes leadership coaching.
“In the face of real and difficult challenges that confront our state and nation, California’s public schools may be our most important institutions for furthering equity and opening the doors to opportunity and justice for all,” said Christina Christie, Wasserman Dean of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. “This funding will further extend collaboration between UCLA and UC Berkeley to build capacity for the leadership our schools need.”
All 21CSLA programs focus on equity leadership with an emphasis on improving instruction and achievement outcomes for English Learners, students with disabilities, low-income students, and other historically marginalized students. Special programming for the equitable implementation of Universal Transitional Kindergarten will also be expanded with the next round of state funding.
“Research tells us that principals and district leaders have an enormous impact on improving schools for the most marginalized students,” said 21CSLA State Center Director Rebecca Cheung, who also serves as Assistant Dean for Leadership Development Programs at the Berkeley School of Education. “California is again at the forefront of transformational change.”
21CSLA also brings school leaders together with researchers to create accessible, practical, research briefs and webinars that tackle some of the most pressing equity issues in California—ensuring that research has an impact in the classroom and that the perspectives and needs of educators inform research.
“With the additional funding, we can continue to support leaders to improve schools for all children—leading for equity so that all students can thrive,” said Jabari Mahiri, Professor at the Berkeley School of Education and Chair of the 21CSLA Leadership Board.