Cracked Foundations: Columbus City Schools (OH)


Granting Foundation: Wallace Foundation

Grants Total: $1,790,000

US News and World Report Test Score Proficiency:

In 2021, Columbus City Schools was awarded a $1,890,000 introductory grant in order for the district to participate in the Wallace Foundation’s Equity-Centered Principal Pipeline. The initiative was created to “produce school leaders capable of advancing their own district’s vision of equity.” As part of the program, school districts will work with “local community organizations, two university leader-preparation programs, and the state education agency to develop its own, local definition of equity and define what an equity-centered leader needs to know.”

The Wallace foundation allotted up to $8.2 million over five years to the district to implement this initiative. The partnership includes working with the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio State University and Ashland University to help develop current and future principals who will “benefit from equity-focused professional development curricula around system-wide change, reflection, and sustainability to benefit all students.”

The district Transformation and Leadership page lists its priorities for the initiative. The district will “use equity-centered leadership standards in recruitment and selection of new leaders” and “establish affinity groups.”

As part of the pipeline initiative, the school district also contracted with non-for-profit Battelle for Kids. The organization states that it puts its “core values and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center of everything we do.” Battelle’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitment includes advancing “21st century learning” and “surfacing and addressing practices, structures, and policies that cause inequities to take root and persist.”

Foundation: Wallace Foundation

Date: August 26, 2021

Grant amount: $1,790,000

Purpose: To participate in the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative


Ashland University

Date: November 16, 2021

Contract amount: $468,050

Purpose: To create a cohort model for principal preparation for aspiring school leaders in the district leading to principal licensure for successful candidates

Ohio State University

Date: November 16, 2021

Contract amount: $468,050

Purpose: To establish the Institute for Equity-Centered School Leadership to provide support for experience building and district leaders interested in continued professional learning and opportunities for growth.

Ohio Department of Education

Date: November 16, 2021

Contract amount: $148,050

Purpose: Provide Equity Gap Analysis work sessions with Columbus City Schools leadership team including staff, training, facilitation and all resources

Batelle for Kids

Date: February 1, 2022

Contract amount: $297,120

Purpose: Consultant services