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

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

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

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

School Safety in North Carolina: Realities, Recommendations & Resources

Children and Youth, Crime and Safety, Education and Literacy

School Safety in North Carolina: Realities, Recommendations & Resources

The primary mission of North Carolina schools is to provide students an excellent education. To fully achieve this mission, schools must not only be safe, but also developmentally appropriate, fair, and just.

Unfortunately, many so-called "school safety" proposals in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut have been shortsighted measures inspired by political expediency but unsupported by data. We aim to provide a more thoughtful approach informed by decades of research and centered on the mission of public schools.

This issue brief responds to the newly established N.C. Center for Safer Schools, which has requested public input on "local concerns and challenges related to school safety" and has made available the opportunity to submit written comments.

The first section of the brief debunks common myths and provides essential facts that must provide the backdrop for the school safety debate. The second section offers proven methods of striving for safe, developmentally appropriate, fair, and just public schools. It also provides examples of reforms from other cities and states. The third section makes note of resources that we encourage Center staff to study carefully.

This brief rests on several key premises. First, "school safety" includes both physical security of students as well as their emotional and psychological well-being. Many of the proposals following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School have had an overly narrow focus on physical security at the expense of this broader picture of holistic student well-being. Second, public education in this state needs more funding in order for schools to even have a chance of achieving their core mission. North Carolina consistently ranks among the worst states in the country for funding of public education.

Schools need more resources to implement measures that can truly ensure student safety. Third, student well-being depends on a coordinated effort by all the systems that serve youth. For example, school safety will be helped by laws that keep guns off school property and by full funding of the child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems. Finally, this issue brief is not intended to be a comprehensive set of suggestions.

Instead, our focus is on providing the Center important context that we view as missing from the current debate.

May 2013

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

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

Accountability Equals Quality: From Pre-K to Graduating High School

Education and Literacy

Accountability Equals Quality: From Pre-K to Graduating High School

The move to standards-based education reform created a set of federal and state standards by which student performance is defined in an attempt to create more accountability. The intent of these high-stakes test is to promote accountability and learning. Student success on standardized testing is meant to be a measure of the quality of education and student learning, an assumption that is also not always accurate. Students do better on standardized tests when they have had quality education from the time their academic characters are formed, from the age of three (Perry preschool Study; Abecedarian Study). Students do well when they have high quality teachers that can help them overcome potential obstacles they may face (Illinois experience). Students do well when their teachers, schools, and school districts use methods and techniques that have been proven successful (NYSED). And lastly, students do well when their schools are adequately funded and their teachers well paid. A comprehensive approach to accountability using all of these components has the best chance of closing New York State's achievement gap.

This report summarizes laws and programs that have been implemented in other states, which could be used to achieve a more comprehensive accountability system in New York. There are three interrelated parts to the present report. The first presents accountability laws and systems from the states of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. The second part describes the North Carolina preschool program More at Four, the Abbott Preschool in New Jersey, and the New York Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. The third part describes initiatives to hire and retain high-quality teachers that have been implemented in Illinois.

February 2009

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland;North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina

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