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

Review of "Stuck Schools"

Education and Literacy, Government Reform

Review of "Stuck Schools"

Lee's review of this report finds it relies on misleading data and unreliable methodology. Lee indicates that, "the report's methods are so simplistic, arbitrary and poorly fitting to the report's own assumptions that it is more harmful to sound policymaking than helpful."

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Indiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland

Summer Snapshot: Exploring the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Summer Learning

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Summer Snapshot: Exploring the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Summer Learning

Assesses the impact of a multiyear, intensive, academically focused OST program for motivated but underserved middle school students on test scores, summer program participation, and summer learning loss. Examines contributing factors and implications.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland, North America-United States (Southern)-Virginia

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.

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

Testing the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Academic Outcomes

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Testing the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Academic Outcomes

Presents findings from a multiyear evaluation of an intensive long-term OST program's effect on low-income middle school students' academic performance, attitudes, and behaviors. Outlines implications for financially strapped districts.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland, North America-United States (Southern)-Virginia

A Library They Deserve: The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project

Education and Literacy

A Library They Deserve: The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has partnered with Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) to complete a series of reports examining the implementation and impact of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project (Library Project). This report on the first year of the project examines the experiences of the principals, librarians, teachers, and students at the three schools that received new libraries. Also, teachers' and students' perceptions of their school library were compared across the Library Project and comparison schools. Findings of the report include: (1) all three schools with a new library viewed them as inviting, attractive, and well-resourced spaces; (2) a knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated library staff is essential to maximizing the potential of these new libraries; (3) librarians and teachers need additional professional development to best integrate the library technology into instruction; and (4) the community partnerships initiated through this project are adding significant resources to the education of students in these schools. The implications for the school district and future efforts are discussed.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Baltimore

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