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

Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline

Education and Literacy

Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline

Six urban school districts received support from The Wallace Foundation to address the critical challenge of supplying schools with effective principals. The experiences of these districts may point the way to steps other districts might take toward this same goal. Since 2011, the districts have participated in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, which set forth a comprehensive strategy for strengthening school leadership in four interrelated domains of district policy and practice:

  1. Leader standards to which sites align job descriptions, preparation, selection, evaluation, and support.
  2. Preservice preparation that includes selective admissions to high-quality programs.
  3. Selective hiring, and placement based on a match between the candidate and the school.
  4. On-the-job evaluation and support addressing the capacity to improve teaching and learning, with support focused on needs identified by evaluation.

The initiative also brought the expectation that district policies and practices related to school leaders would build the district's capacity to advance its educational priorities.

The evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative has a dual purpose: to analyze the processes of implementing the required components in the participating districts from 2011 through 2015; and then to assess the results achieved in schools led by principals whose experiences in standards-based preparation, hiring, evaluation, and support have been consistent with the initiative's requirements. This report addresses implementation of all components of the initiative as of 2014, viewing implementation in the context of districts' aims, constraints, and capacity.

January 2015

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

Cross-State Analyses of Results of 2012-13 Teaching Empowering Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey Research Report

Education and Literacy

Cross-State Analyses of Results of 2012-13 Teaching Empowering Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey Research Report

New Teacher Center worked collaboratively with nine state coalitions - including governors, state education agencies, teacher associations, stakeholder groups and practitioners - to implement the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) survey statewide in nine states from the spring of 2012 to the spring of 2103. The TELL survey is a full-population survey of school-based licensed educators designed to report the perceptions about the presence of teaching and learning conditions that research has shown increase student learning and teacher retention.

The conditions assessed in the TELL survey include:

  • Time
  • Facilities and Resources
  • Professional Development
  • School Leadership
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Instructional Practices and Support
  • Managing Student Conduct
  • Community Support and Involvement
  • New Teacher Support (for teachers in their first three years in the profession)

This report compares the results of the TELL survey at the state level across the country, providing an additional contextual lens for interpreting the results from each participating state to better understand their own findings.

September 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States;North America-United States (Western)-Colorado;North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland;North America-United States (Southern)-Kentucky;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Vermont;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Delaware

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

Education and Literacy

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

This report looks deeply inside 17 schools that stand at the vanguard of the current revolution in teaching. It reveals the substantive ways in which these schools are providing their teachers with more time to reflect on, develop, and hone their craft, by very explicitly leveraging an expanded-time school schedule and calendar. These schools' expanded time (on average, they are in session almost 300 hours more per year than the national norm of 1,170 hours) affords not only more hours and days focused on classroom instruction, but also a full array of professional learning opportunities.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Connecticut-New Haven County-New Haven, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Union County-Elizabeth, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-Kings County-New York City (Brooklyn), North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee-Shelby County-Memphis, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona-Maricopa County-Phoenix, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas-Harris County-Houston, North America-United States (Western)-California-San Diego County, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

Education and Literacy

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

This report echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York, North America-United States (Western)-Hawaii, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Education and Literacy

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Common enrollment systems designed to manage student enrollment across district and charter sectors introduce a host of governance challenges. City charter and district leaders realize the importance of cross-sector representation when deciding policies related to enrollment, such as the number of choices families should list or whether some students will have enrollment priority over others. The question of who will administer the enrollment process once these policy decisions are made can be highly controversial. Cities that don't attend to these management questions early on risk major political fights that can stall or derail progress on the effort.

There is little precedence, nor is there a ready-made legal framework, for coordinating enrollment across sectors; how these systems will be governed and operated must instead be resolved through the collaboration of agencies, many of which have histories of competition, mistrust, and hostility. In this issue brief, we draw from a series of interviews with local education leaders in Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., focusing on the governance issues that emerged as these three jurisdictions sought a cross-sector common enrollment system.

While some urban school systems have long had enrollment processes to manage choice for schools under their control, the expansion of charter schools presents a different and more complicated challenge for both parents and administrators. In many places, students no longer have a single "home district" in the traditional sense. Instead, they can now choose to enroll in the local school district or one of the city's charter schools. State charter laws give charter schools -- whether they are an independent local education agency or not -- authority over their enrollment processes; a charter school must conduct its process in a manner consistent with the law, typically a random lottery.

As charter schools grow in number, so does the number of separate enrollment systems operating across individual cities. In Denver, for example, a 2010 report showed that 60 separate enrollment systems operated in the city at the same time. Similar situations occurred in New Orleans and D.C. As individual selection processes grew to unmanageable levels in these cities, education and community leaders sought ways to rationalize and centralize student placement across an increasing number of school choices

March 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver;North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Promising Practices in Veterans' Education: Outcomes and Recommendations from the Success for Veterans Award Grants

Education and Literacy;Peace and Conflict

Promising Practices in Veterans' Education: Outcomes and Recommendations from the Success for Veterans Award Grants

This is an evaluation of the Success for Veterans Awards program, and includes reports from 20 grantees.

October 2011

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Platte County-Parkville;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Dane County-Madison;North America-United States (New York Metropolitan Area);North America-United States (Northeastern)-Maine-Kennebec County-Augusta;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Bergen County;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-Onandaga County;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon-Clackamas County;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon-Lane County-Eugene;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Prince George;North America-United States (Southern)-South Carolina;North America-United States (Western)-California-Fresno County-Fresno;North America-United States (Western)-California-Los Angeles County;North America-United States (Western)-California-Sacramento County-Sacramento;North America-United States (Western)-California-San Diego County-Chula Vista;North America-United States (Western)-California-Santa Cruz County;North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Larimer County-Fort Collins

Cultivating Talent through a Principal Pipeline

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

Cultivating Talent through a Principal Pipeline

This report, the second in a series, describes early results of Wallace's Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multi-year effort to improve school leadership in six urban school districts. The report describes changes in the six districts' practices to recruit, train and support new principals. It also offers early lessons for other districts considering changes to their own principal pipelines.

December 2013

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

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