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

Understanding the Education Trajectories of Young Black Men in New York City: Elementary and Middle-School Years

Education and Literacy;Poverty;Race and Ethnicity

Understanding the Education Trajectories of Young Black Men in New York City: Elementary and Middle-School Years

Making targeted decisions about how, when, and where to intervene to improve educational outcomes for black males requires understanding the complex pathways that shape these outcomes. This study, undertaken for the Black Male Donor Collaborative, uses longitudinal data on a cohort of black males from New York City Schools to gain insights about the different possible student paths, with specific focuses on middle school and math scale scores.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City

The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America's Urban Schools

Education and Literacy

The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America's Urban Schools

"Irreplaceables" are teachers who are so successful they are nearly impossible to replace, but who too often vanish from schools as the result of neglect and inattention.To identify and better understand the experience of these teachers, we started by studying 90,000 teachers across four large, geographically diverse urban school districts.

We also examined student academic growth data or value-added results for approximately 20,000 of those teachers. While these measures cannot provide a complete picture of a teacher's performance or ability on their own -- and shouldn't be the only measure used in realworld teacher evaluations -- they are the most practical way to identify trends in a study of this scale, and research has demonstrated that they show a relationship to other performance measures, such as classroom observations.

We used the data to identify teachers who performed exceptionally well (by helping students make much more academic progress than expected), and to see how their experiences and opinions about their work differed from other teachers' -- particularly teachers whose performance was exceptionally poor.

So who are the Irreplaceables? They are, by any measure, our very best teachers. Across the districts we studied, about 20 percent of teachers fell into the category. On average, each year they help students learn two to three additional months' worth of math and reading compared with the average teacher, and five to six months more compared to low-performing teachers.

Better test scores are just the beginning: Students whose teachers help them make these kinds of gains are more likely to go to college and earn higher salaries as adults, and they are less likely to become teenage parents.Teachers of this caliber not only get outstanding academic results, but also provide a more engaging learning experience for students. For example, when placed in the classroom of an Irreplaceable secondary math teacher, students are much more likely to say that their teacher cares, does not let them give up when things get difficult and makes learning enjoyable.

Irreplaceables influence students for life, and their talents make them invaluable assets to their schools. The problem is, their schools don't seem to know it.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

PreK-3 Professional Development Evaluation Brief

Education and Literacy

PreK-3 Professional Development Evaluation Brief

Evaluation brief about professional development in McKnight's early literacy grantee school sites. Researched and prepared under contract by SRI International and the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the U of M; part of McKnight's efforts to use research, field-building, and advocacy to increase the percentage of Twin Cities students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota (Twin Cities)

Keeping Parents and Student Voices at the Forefront of Reform

Community and Economic Development;Education and Literacy

Keeping Parents and Student Voices at the Forefront of Reform

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project and Youth United for Change: how developing leadership, relationships, and research shaped district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia

See More Reports

Go to IssueLab