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A Brigham Young University school administration training program that provides prospective administrators more time in public school classrooms than in college classrooms was spotlighted Wednesday.

The BYU program was applauded by Dr. Donn Gresso, vice president of the Danforth Foundation, during a reception in the Governor's Mansion. The foundation of St. Louis, Mo., has contributed a grant of about $40,000 to the Provo university to strengthen the training program.BYU is one of about 15 prestigious universities around the country that have received Danforth grants to further innovation in training of school administrators.

"BYU is unique," Gresso said. "Its program already has been recognized as outstanding by the American Association of School Administrators." The national association recognized BYU in February for one of the outstanding innovative training programs in the country.

Gresso stressed the need for outstanding school administrators in the country as a foundation for the types of reforms envisioned for education over the coming years.

Gov. Norm Bangerter also commented that "the selection and preparation of men and women to become educational leaders is too important to be left to chance. Higher education and the public schools must work together to establish programs that will select, prepare and support educators in their role as principals."

The BYU program began several years ago as a joint effort of the university with Jordan, Wasatch, Nebo, Provo and Alpine school districts. When federal money through the Leadership in Educational Administration of the U.S. Department of Education were infused into the program, it was opened to all the state's districts. The federal program provides $100,000 per year.

The program emphasizes more practical experience than is offered through standard training in school administration. Students enrolled in the program are outstanding teachers screened by the university and selected by the districts. The districts continue to pay them three-fourths of their salary during their training and provide for coverage of their district responsibilities while they pursue administration certification.