The Right Match: A Strong Principal in Every Public School

Education and Literacy

The Right Match: A Strong Principal in Every Public School

This report has one central premise: Keeping great principals starts with hiring the right principal. Even as Chicago fights to retain principals long enough to make student learning and school culture gains more permanent, we must recognize some principal attrition is inevitable.

More than 70,000 students started the 2016-17 school year with a new principal, and at least 60 schools will need a new principal each year for the foreseeable future. The stakes are high: No great public school exists without great leadership. In fact, variation in principal quality accounts for about 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student learning. Yet, more than four out of every 10 public school principals in Chicago leave before they begin their fifth year. To keep great principals, we have to make the right match from the start.

November 2016

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Midwestern) / Illinois / Cook County / Chicago / Lakeview

Chock Full of Data: How School Districts are Building Leader Tracking Systems to Support Pipelines

Education and Literacy

Chock Full of Data: How School Districts are Building Leader Tracking Systems to Support Pipelines

At one time, finding an assistant principal for a public school in Denver entailed a search through “a gajillion résumés,” in the words of one local school district administrator. Even then, some ideal candidates likely fell through the cracks. Those days are over, owing to the development by Denver Public Schools of a “leader tracking system,” a database of information about the training, qualifications and performance of principals and aspiring principals.
This Story From the Field examines how Denver and five other school districts have constructed and are using these systems as they seek to better train, hire and support school principals. All six districts are taking part in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, a Wallace Foundation-funded effort to help the school systems develop a large corps of strong school principals and generate lessons for the field.
In addition to aiding district officials in identifying strong principal and assistant principal candidates and matching them to the right schools, the leader tracking systems are helping in efforts to forecast job vacancies, pinpoint principal training topics and spot potential principal mentors. The districts are also beginning to use the systems to share aggregate information about the performance of principals with the preparation programs from which the principals graduated.
The publication makes clear that developing a leader tracking system takes time and effort. It describes, for example, how determining what information to collect, and then finding it, proved to be a key but time-consuming task, not least because essential data could be housed in different niches of the school bureaucracies.

July 2016

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Southern) / Florida / Hillsborough County / Tampa;North America / United States (Southern) / North Carolina / Mecklenburg County / Charlotte;North America / United States (Northeastern) / New York / New York County / New York City;North America / United States (Western) / Colorado / Denver County / Denver;North America / United States (Southern) / Georgia / Gwinnett County;North America / United States (Southern) / Maryland / Prince George\'s County

Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

Education and Literacy;Race and Ethnicity

Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

By 2020, more than six out of 10 U.S. jobs will require postsecondary training. Despite a slight increase in college attainment nationally in recent years, the fastest-growing minority groups are being left behind. Only 25 and 18 percent of Blacks and Hispanics, respectively, hold at least an associate's degree, compared with 39 percent of Whites. Without substantial increases in educational attainment, particularly for our nation's already underserved groups, the United States will have a difficult time developing a robust economy.

Home to 65 percent of Americans, and a majority of all African Americans and Hispanics (74 and 79 percent, respectively), the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) can play a strong role in developing this nation's workforce. In fact, to reach a national attainment target that meets our workforce needs, more than half of college degrees could be generated from the these cities. The majority of degrees needed among African-American and Hispanic adults could also be produced in MSAs.

Clearly, investing in and organizing around the potential of metropolitan areas is critical, and the stakes have never been higher. Yet the current funding climate requires strategic public and private partnerships to invest in education innovation and human capital development in order to have the most robust impact on sustainable national growth. For this study, the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP) sought to follow up on its previous work examining MSA educational attainment rates by further exploring policies that either inhibit or facilitate degree production, and identifying metropolitan-level, cross-section collaborations that help local leaders contribute to national completion goals.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Baltimore;North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee-Shelby County-Memphis;North America-United States (Western)-Nebraska-Douglas County-Omaha

Accountability Equals Quality: From Pre-K to Graduating High School

Education and Literacy

Accountability Equals Quality: From Pre-K to Graduating High School

The move to standards-based education reform created a set of federal and state standards by which student performance is defined in an attempt to create more accountability. The intent of these high-stakes test is to promote accountability and learning. Student success on standardized testing is meant to be a measure of the quality of education and student learning, an assumption that is also not always accurate. Students do better on standardized tests when they have had quality education from the time their academic characters are formed, from the age of three (Perry preschool Study; Abecedarian Study). Students do well when they have high quality teachers that can help them overcome potential obstacles they may face (Illinois experience). Students do well when their teachers, schools, and school districts use methods and techniques that have been proven successful (NYSED). And lastly, students do well when their schools are adequately funded and their teachers well paid. A comprehensive approach to accountability using all of these components has the best chance of closing New York State's achievement gap.

This report summarizes laws and programs that have been implemented in other states, which could be used to achieve a more comprehensive accountability system in New York. There are three interrelated parts to the present report. The first presents accountability laws and systems from the states of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. The second part describes the North Carolina preschool program More at Four, the Abbott Preschool in New Jersey, and the New York Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. The third part describes initiatives to hire and retain high-quality teachers that have been implemented in Illinois.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina

Teacher Evaluation in Practice: Implementing Chicago's REACH Students

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

Teacher Evaluation in Practice: Implementing Chicago's REACH Students

Historically, teacher evaluation in Chicago has fallen short on two crucial fronts: It has not provided administrators with measures that differentiated among strong and weak teachers -- in fact, 93 percent of teachers were rated as Excellent or Superior -- and it has not provided teachers with useful feedback they could use to improve their instruction.

Chicago is not unique -- teacher evaluation systems across the country have experienced the exact same problems.Recent national policy has emphasized overhauling these systems to include multiple measures of teacher performance, such as student outcomes, and structuring the evaluations so they are useful from both talent management and teacher professional development perspectives. Principals and teachers need an evaluation system that provides teachers with specific, practice-oriented feedback they can use to improve their instruction and school leaders need to be able to identify strong and weak teachers. Required to act by a new state law and building off lessons learned from an earlier pilot of an evidence-based observation tool, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) rolled out its new teacher evaluation system -- Recognizing Educators Advancing Chicago's Students (REACH Students) -- in the 2012-13 school year.

The REACH system seeks to provide a measure of individual teacher effectiveness that can simultaneously support instructional improvement. It incorporates teacher performance ratings based on multiple classroom observations together with student growth measured on two different types of assessments. While the practice of using classroom observations as an evaluation tool is not completely new, REACH requires teachers and administrators to conceptualize classroom observations more broadly as being part of instructional improvement efforts as well as evaluation; evaluating teachers based on student test score growth has never happened before in the district.

REACH implementation was a massive undertaking. It required a large-scale investment of time and energy from teachers, administrators, CPS central office staff, and the teachers union. District context played an important role and provided additional challenges as the district was introducing other major initiatives at the same time as REACH. Furthermore, the school year began with the first teacher strike in CPS in over 25 years. Teacher evaluation was one of several contentious points in the protracted negotiation, and the specific issue of using student growth on assessments to evaluate teachers received considerable coverage in the media.

This report focuses on the perceptions and experiences of teachers and administrators during the first year of REACH implementation, which was in many ways a particularly demanding year. These experiences can be helpful to CPS and to other districts across the country as they work to restructure and transform teacher evaluation.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago

Milwaukee Independent Charter Schools Study: Report on One Year of Student Growth

Education and Literacy

Milwaukee Independent Charter Schools Study: Report on One Year of Student Growth

Analyzes results of an evaluation of gains in reading and math scores over one academic year among independent charter school students compared with public school students, by charter school type, student characteristics, and school-switching.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

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