Aurora is located approximately 40 miles from Chicago, and it shares many of the challenges faced by its large urban counterpart. East Aurora District 131 serves approximately 14,799 students in 18 schools, of which 82% are low-income students. The racial make-up of their students includes 86% Latino, 8% African-American; 3% Caucasian; 1% multi-racial; and the remainder Asian or Native American. In addition, 35% of the students are categorized as limited-English proficiency.
District 131 recently forged a formal partnership agreement with North Central College (NCC) to collaborate in the preparation of aspiring principals and respond to the new requirements set forth by the State. North Central College is a 150-year-old comprehensive, liberal arts college located just east of Aurora, in Naperville, IL. The Department of Education at NCC offers a Masters of Arts in Education degree with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration leading to a Principal Endorsement. The principal preparation program requires a total of 12 courses. NCC’s partnership with District 131 allows the program to provide a rigorous and relevant internship experience that prepares aspiring candidates for the challenges faced by today’s schools. NCC has enrolled three cohorts of principal candidates since being a part of the IL-PART grant.