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

Building Community Partnerships in Support of a Postsecondary Completion Agenda

Education and Literacy

Building Community Partnerships in Support of a Postsecondary Completion Agenda

This report highlights key lessons from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Community Partnerships portfolio evaluation. It assesses the communities' progress over the course of the investment, and describes their work in the areas of building public commitment, using data, building and sustaining partnerships, and aligning policies and practices. The OMG Center served as the national evaluator of this initiative and the report also discusses the steps these communities can take to sustain their programs.

January 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Florida-Duval County-Jacksonville;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina-Mecklenburg County-Charlotte;North America-United States (Southern)-Kentucky-Jefferson County-Louisville;North America-United States (Western)-California-San Francisco County-San Francisco;North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas-Cameron County-Brownsville;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina-Wake County-Raleigh;North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas-Potter County-Amarillo;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon-Multnomah County-Portland;North America-United States (Western)-California-Riverside County-Riverside;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston;North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona-Maricopa County-Phoenix;North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona-Maricopa County-Mesa;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Montgomery County-Dayton

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

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

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools

Education and Literacy, Poverty

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools

This paper examines whether teachers in schools serving students from high-poverty backgrounds are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. The question is important. Teachers are recognized as the most important school factor affecting student achievement, and the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their better off peers is large and persistent.

Using student-level microdata from 2000-2001 to 2004-2005 from Florida and North Carolina, the authors compare the effectiveness of teachers in high-poverty elementary schools (>70% FRL students) with that of teachers in lower-poverty elementary schools (<70% FRL students). The results show that the average effectiveness of teachers in high-poverty schools is in general less than teachers in other schools, but only slightly, and not in all comparisons. The authors also find differences in within-school-type variation in teacher effectiveness in nearly every comparison. These differences are largely driven by the longer tail at the bottom of the teacher effectiveness distribution in high-poverty schools. Teachers at the top of the effectiveness distribution are very similar across school settings. The observed differences in teacher quality between high-poverty and lower-poverty schools are not due to differences in the observed characteristics of teachers, such as experience, certification status and educational attainment. Rather, they appear to arise from differences in the marginal return or payoff from increases in a characteristic. In particular, the gain in productivity from increased experience is much stronger in lower-poverty schools. The lower return to experience in high-poverty schools does not appear to be a result of differences in the quality of teachers who leave teaching or who switch schools. Rather, it may be the case that the effect of experience on teacher productivity may depend on the setting in which the experience is acquired. If there are positive spillovers among teachers that depend on teacher quality (ie. teacher "peer effects") or if exposure to challenging student populations lessens the future productivity of teachers (i.e. leads to "burn out"), teachers in schools serving large proportions of low-income students may simply not improve much as time goes by. These findings suggest that solutions to the achievement gap between high and lower-poverty schools may be complex. Changing the quality of new recruits or importing teachers with good credentials into highpoverty schools may not be sufficient. Rather, the findings suggest that measures that induce highly effective teachers to move to high-poverty schools and which promote an environment in which teachers' skills will improve over time are more likely to be successful.

November 2010

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida

Patching the Pipeline: Addressing Teacher Satisfaction and Retention in Duval County

Education and Literacy, Employment and Labor

Patching the Pipeline: Addressing Teacher Satisfaction and Retention in Duval County

In "Patching the Pipeline: Addressing Teacher Satisfaction and Retention in Duval County," the Jacksonville Public Education Fund provides a comprehensive look at the last five cohorts of new teachers in Duval County Public Schools, and conducts a survey of all teachers in the district to get their opinions about a wide variety of different factors.

This report details the turnover among new teachers in Duval County Public Schools -- half leave in the first five years -- and raises the voices of teachers themselves about what factors keep them in the classroom.

April 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Florida-Duval County

Rethinking Leadership: The Changing Role of Principal Supervisors

Education and Literacy

Rethinking Leadership: The Changing Role of Principal Supervisors

In the fall of 2012, the Council of the Great City Schools launched a two-part study of the ways principal supervisors are selected, supported, and evaluated in major school districts across the country. The first part involved a survey administered to district staff serving as principal supervisors in the fall of 2012. The second part of the study involved site visits to the six districts participating in The Wallace Foundation's Principal Pipeline Initiative -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Denver Public Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, the New York City Department of Education, and Prince George's County Public Schools.

This report provides a summary of findings from both the survey and site visits. Part I presents a description of the organizational structure and general features of the various principal supervisory systems, including the roles, selection, deployment, staffing, professional development, and evaluation of principal supervisors, as well as the preparation, selection, support, and evaluation of principals.

Part II provides recommendations for building more effective principal supervisory systems. Based on the survey results and observations from the site visits, these recommendations identify those structures and practices that are most likely to result in stronger school leaders and higher student achievement.

October 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina-Mecklenburg County;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Prince George;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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