We’re pleased to share with you this announcement from Congressman Joaquin Castro. We especially are looking forward to continuing our work to support strong school leadership to prepare all students for college acceptance and success!

See eNews version

Reenergizing Leadership to Achieve Greater Student Success –Castro Announces Nearly $4 Million for Education

Washington, D.C. (October 5, 2017) – Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced $3,906,207 of federal funding from the Department of Education (ED) for the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) to support the development and implementation of practices designed to help principals and administrative team members more effectively improve student outcomes in diverse schools.

“We can expand educational opportunity by providing teachers and administrators with innovative, effective training and tools that help every child, regardless of background, succeed in the classroom,” said Rep. Castro. “IDRA’s research and resources support students in diverse schools, ensuring their learning environments prepare them not only to earn acceptance to college, but also to successfully complete their higher education. This grant will help more young people reach their full academic potential and find greater opportunity after graduation.”

IDRA is an independent, non-profit organization working to achieve equal educational opportunity by improving public schools’ preparation of students for college acceptance and success. The organization works with school district leadership to support participating principals and their administrative teams in creating a school culture conducive to student success; provide a comprehensive and job-embedded professional development program for principals and leadership teams; and offer coaching and mentoring services to principals and other school leaders.

“IDRA research and work with schools has demonstrated that the principal is the nucleus of a school’s instructional leadership team,” said Dr. Marí­a “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO. “This new initiative is a unique opportunity to transform instruction schoolwide using promising practices. These practices include training master teachers to be principals, and working with principals and administrative teams in ways that are effective, enhance student learning and build school-community collaboration.”

This ED funding stems from the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program, established under section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The EIR program serves high-needs students by creating, developing, implementing, replicating, or scaling entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment. With the help of rigorous evaluations, the EIR program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the expansion of effective solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of students.

See more info on principal leadership


Leaders Turn Around Schools – Transformational Equity Focus Makes College Readiness a Priority, by Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., March 2016

Transformative and Effective School Leadership in Culturally Diverse Environments, by Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., & Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D., January 2016

Fostering Excellence through Social Justice Principles in Schools Serving English Learners, by Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., November-December 2016

Podcast Series

A principal in south Texas talks about on the core elements of school transformation that is resulting in former dropouts now graduating from high school with college credit.

A Principal on Supporting Teachers for Student College Readiness – Podcast Episode 128

A Principal on the Core Elements of School Transformation – Podcast Episode 127

A Principal on Setting Expectations for College – Podcast Episode 126

Principal on Creating a College Going Culture – Podcast Episode 86


Ensuring High Teaching Quality to Tap Into Students’ Strengths

In this interview for IDRA’s Equity Hub, PS279 principal Jean Dalton Encke in the Bronx talks about how she uses data and systems to monitor teacher effectiveness and student achievement to ensure that students are succeeding. (View in Vzaar instead of YouTube.)