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

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

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.

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

Productivity Push, The

Education and Literacy

Productivity Push, The

Profiles Arizona's efforts to raise higher education productivity -- delivering quality education to more students at lower cost -- via partnerships between community colleges and state universities. Lists initiatives in other grantee states.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Indiana;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland;North America-United States (Western)-Montana;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio;North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee;North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas

More Districts Adopt Innovative Teacher Pay Plans

Education and Literacy

More Districts Adopt Innovative Teacher Pay Plans

In 2009 the Committee for Economic Development called on district and state education officials to revamp the way that teachers are paid. New compensation systems are needed to attract highly qualified individuals into teaching under labor market conditions that have changed substantially since the typical framework for teacher salaries was adopted.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Baltimore, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida-Hillsborough 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.

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

Policy Barriers to School Improvement: What's Real and What's Imagined?

Education and Literacy

Policy Barriers to School Improvement: What's Real and What's Imagined?

Some of the most promising reforms are happening where school leaders are thinking differently about how to get the strongest student outcomes from the limited resources available. But even principals who use their autonomy to aggressively reallocate resources say that persistent district, state, and federal barriers prohibit them from doing more.

What are these barriers? What do they block principals from doing? Is there a way around them?

CRPE researchers probed these questions with principals in three states (NH, CT, MD). These principals cited numerous district, state, and federal barriers standing in the way of school improvement. The barriers, 128 in all, fell into three categories: 1) barriers to instructional innovations, 2) barriers to allocating resources differently, and 3) barriers to improving teacher quality.

Upon investigation, researchers found that principals have far more authority than they think. Only 31% of the barriers cited were "real" -- immovable statutes, policies, or managerial directives that bring the threat of real consequences if broken.

The report recommends educating principals on the authority they already possess, to help them find workarounds to onerous rules. The report also outlines a number of specific state and district policy changes to grant schools the autonomy they need to improve student outcomes.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Hampshire, North America-United States (Eastern)-Connecticut

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