Many educators recognize the critical role principals play in building effective schools in general and improving struggling schools in particular. But little is known about how school districts can cultivate the principals their schools need.
This report by the Policy Studies Associates takes a step in filling this gap. The first in a series of evaluations of The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, the report details early efforts by six urban school districts to develop large numbers of strong principal candidates. Specifically, the districts worked to develop four key components of principal pipelines:
- Setting standards for principal performance;
- Training aspiring principals to meet these standards;
- Selectively hiring principals and matching them to the schools they are best suited to lead; and
- Evaluating principals and offering them on-the-job support.
This report serves as somewhat of a baseline for future reports, laying out the districts’ motives for taking part in the Pipeline effort, their early plans and the results they hope to achieve throughout the initiative. The six districts had already made significant strides in improving school leadership before joining the initiative, the report says, but embarked on the effort because of a persistent decrease in the size and quality of their applicant pools.