HIL Project 2.0

Western Michigan University's High-Impact Leadership (HIL) for School Renewal Project has been renewed and awarded $15 million by the U.S. Department of Education. The project, now called HIL 2.0, will continue work focusing on two major outcomes—developing a strong pool of practicing school leaders and improving student achievement within elementary and middle schools.

 "HIL Project 1.0 started in 2017 and finished early this year," says Dr. Jianping Shen, co-principal investigator and project director. "We found that HIL 1.0 increased principal leadership and made a positive impact on student proficiency in English language arts. With HIL 2.0, there will be more expansion and progression."   


Learn more about HIL Project 2.0

Cover image of PPT

HIL Project Partners (2023-2026)


Western Michigan University (WMU)—The work of WMU researchers Dr. Patricia Reeves and Dr. Jianping Shen laid the foundation for the HIL Project School Renewal Model. By the launch of the 2017 SEED grant, together, Dr. Reeves and Dr. Shen had overseen five successful leadership grants, including two from the Wallace Foundation. "This project will continue to develop and validate the renewal model, as opposed to reform model, for school improvement," Shen said as the work launched in 2017. WMU provided all grant management and evaluation for the SEED Grant. 

Reading Now Network—The HIL Project school leadership work also had roots in the Reading Now Network, a group of West Michigan school superintendents determined to improve student reading levels by working together to build a school leadership model around the practices they observed in high-performing schools.  

MAISA GELN—The HIL Project's early literacy work was (and remains) grounded in the Essential School-Wide and Center-Wide Practices in Literacy identified by Michigan's Early Literacy Task Force—a subcommittee of the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MAISA) General Education Leadership Network (GELN) representing Michigan's 56 intermediate school districts. 

Michigan Department of Education and participating intermediate school districts provide funding and support via early literacy coaches, math coaches, instructional coaches, student behavioral specialists and the Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process (MICIP).

The Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC) supports educators and school leaders by promoting the advancement of high-quality and equitable assessment practices and systems.

The Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMPSA) creates statewide networks for developing principal leadership and support for school leadership teams. 


We seek additional private and foundation funding to support individual schools needs.

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