In 2014, the foundation launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative, which seeks to help 14 districts improve the effectiveness of the administrators who oversee principals so they can better work with principals to raise the quality of instruction in schools—and to generate lessons for the field as a whole. Six districts— Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Fla.; Cleveland; Baltimore; Des Moines; Long Beach, Calif.; and Minneapolis—are working to:
Revise their principal supervisors’ job descriptions to focus on instruction, rather than compliance with rules and regulations;
Provide better training and support to supervisors;
Ensure that each supervisor oversees a manageable number of principals;
Build systems to ensure a steady stream of new supervisors as current supervisors leave; and
Reorganize central offices to support supervisors as they support principals.
The question the initiative seeks to answer is: “If principal supervisors shift from overseeing compliance to shaping principals’ instructional leadership capabilities and are given the right training, support and number of principals to supervise, will this improve the effectiveness of the principals with whom they work?”
The six districts will be part of an independent study to help answer whether and how boosting the supervisor post leads to more effective principals. Two other districts, Tulsa and Washington, D.C., have already made significant progress in reforming the role of their principal supervisors and have joined the initiative to inform the work of the others. The principal pipeline districts are also participating, having received funding for various principal supervisor projects.