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New Hiring Approach Helps District Make the Right Match Between Principal and School3724GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​A principal pipeline is an approach to school leader development that can have major benefits for school districts, as indicated in <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> we published recently. Pipelines have four parts—rigorous job standards, high-quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and aligned on-the-job support and evaluation. In an occasional series, we examine each of these components by talking to principals in six urban districts that, with Wallace support, tested the pipeline idea. In previous posts, we found out how <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/effective-school-leaders-learn-how-to-solve-problems.aspx">pre-service training</a> prepared a Georgia principal to improve the graduation rate at his high school, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/on-the-job-support-helps-new-principals-build-skills-and-confidence.aspx">how on-the-job support</a> helped a new principal in North Carolina gain the skills he needed to succeed, and how job standards <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/leader-standards-let-principals-know-what-to-strive-for.aspx">shaped the leadership development​</a> of a principal in Denver.</em><em>&#160;Today, we examine how selective hiring led to a perfect match for a first-time principal and her new school in Prince George’s County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.</em></p><p>A decade ago, hiring a principal in Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland typically meant screening hundreds of applications with little guarantee that the laborious process would turn up someone with the right skills and experience for the job. That’s because anyone with the state-required certification could apply, resulting in a deluge of résumés each time a vacancy was advertised. &#160;</p><p>But last spring district administrators didn’t have to comb through stacks of submissions to find Adelaide Blake. She was already on their radar. That’s thanks to the way Prince George’s County has changed its approach to principal hiring and placement in recent years so that the district draws job candidates almost exclusively from among a group of professionals who have already been screened to show they are qualified for the job. </p><p>Blake was one of those pros. She began her career in the district as a special education teacher in 2007, helping develop a program for children with autism at Seat Pleasant Elementary School in Seat Pleasant, Md. The program flourished under Blake’s leadership, and over time she made a transition into the school’s administration, first as chair of its special education department and later, in 2014, as its assistant principal. </p><p>In 2018, Blake was one of four assistant principals in the district selected for a yearlong residency program that pairs would-be principals with experienced leaders in schools. Blake learned the ropes from a veteran principal at Chapel Forge Early Education Center, a preschool in Bowie, Md., where 75 percent of the students have physical or learning disabilities. At first Blake shadowed her mentor, then gradually took charge of running the school. (Her mentor, meanwhile, interned in the central office to explore alternate career paths should she ever decide to step down as principal.) As her residency drew to a close, Blake received a call from district leaders about a principal opening at C. Elizabeth Rieg Regional, a K-12 school for students with special needs in Mitchellville, Md. Blake interviewed and got the job, which she describes as an excellent fit based on her experience and the school’s needs. “Working with so many people over the years—special educators, general educators, paraprofessionals, parents, special-ed service providers—prepared me to be the leader that I am today,” she says. </p><p>Blake got the call from district officials because she was “in the pool,” lingo used by the pipeline districts to describe a group of aspiring school leaders who are eligible for principal jobs. The districts found that instituting a hiring pool served two important purposes. First, it ensures that only high-quality candidates who’ve demonstrated readiness to be effective principals are considered for openings. Most applicants to Prince George’s talent pool have completed one of the district’s leadership programs for aspiring principals, but that alone does not secure entry. They still must pass a range of practical exercises aligned to the district’s leadership standards, such as writing a 90-day “entry plan” as the principal of a hypothetical school to show how they would prioritize needs and draw upon district resources. They’re also asked to watch videos of classroom instruction and explain the feedback they would give to the teacher. Because Blake was already an acting principal, her assessment wasn’t based on fictional scenarios but on the real work she was doing in her residency. Candidates who ace the practical demonstrations advance to step two, an interview with a panel of principal supervisors and coaches who determine eligibility. </p><p>Prince George’s talent pool has also streamlined the hiring process. Rather than posting a vacancy and waiting to see who applies, district managers proactively contact candidates in the pool who are a good match. Sometimes, the process sheds light on areas of expertise that are lacking. While the district usually interviews four candidates for each opening, it only considered Blake and one other person for the principalship at Rieg because they were the only ones with a background in special education. “It’s been an eye opener to see the gaps we have, in areas like language immersion, special education, charter school operations,” says Melissa Ellis, district supervisor of school leadership programs. “We have to address how we’re going to identify the talent to work in these specific types of schools.”</p><p>While the right experience is critical, so too are the soft skills that an incoming principal needs to build strong relationships with a school community. To assess that ability, the new superintendent of Prince George’s recently reinstated a community interview as part of the hiring process. Candidates meet with a panel of up to 10 to 12 community members, including teachers, support staff, parents and business partners, to discuss their vision for the school and how to best meet its needs. The top two candidates then sit down individually with the superintendent, who makes the final hiring decision. Blake was nervous about meeting the Rieg community, but says it sent a powerful message that hiring a principal is a collaborative effort. She has emphasized that spirit of collaboration in her work as principal. “I’ve made it very clear that I’m not making decisions alone,” she says. “We as a community are working together to define the mission and core values of our building.”&#160; &#160;<br></p><p> <em>​Photo of Adelaide Blake&#160;(above right)​ by&#160;Colby Ware</em></p>Jennifer Gill832019-11-12T05:00:00ZSee How Prince George’s County, Md., Taps Its Talent Pool for More Efficient—and Effective—Principal Placement11/12/2019 6:08:27 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Hiring Approach Helps District Make the Right Match Between Principal and School See How Prince George’s County, Md 206https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems3645GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>​​​​​​​​​​​If you keep up with goings-on at Wallace, you know that we recently published a RAND </em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"><em>research report</em></a><em> with a groundbreaking finding&#58; A systematic approach to developing school principals can have a notably positive impact on student achievement and principal retention. RAND researchers examined what happened after six large school districts adopted this approach—known as building a principal pipeline.</em></p><p> <em>Principal pipelines consist of four components&#58; rigorous principal job standards, high-quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and aligned on-the-job support and evaluation. In occasional blog posts, we single out a different pipeline component and explore it through the eyes of one of the pipeline districts’ principals. Today, find out how pre-service preparation helped a high school principal in Georgia tackle a difficult problem. &#160;</em><br></p><p align="center">​*****<br></p><p>When Al Taylor became principal of Berkmar High School in 2013, one in three freshmen at the school in Lilburn, Ga., about 35 miles from Atlanta, was being held back. Taylor knew the research about ninth grade. Studies out of the University of Chicago have shown that performance in ninth grade is more predictive of a student’s odds of graduating than all other factors, including race and socioeconomic status, combined. If Taylor hoped to move the needle on Berkmar’s graduation rate—then 55 percent—the work needed to start in ninth grade.</p><p>To begin to solve the problem, though, Taylor had to first step back and draw on a lesson he had learned years before as a participant in the principal training program run by his employer, the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools. That program, which was set up in 2007, seeks to ensure that the district has a steady supply of high-caliber professionals ready to take on the top job. The instruction is based on the district’s job standards for principals and gives aspiring leaders an opportunity to sharpen the critical skills they’ll need to make a positive impact in schools.</p><p>The lesson that came back to Taylor in his first year at Berkmar? An effective school leader empowers other to lead. </p><p>It was something Taylor learned by seeing it firsthand. As part of his yearlong training, Taylor had spent a month shadowing an experienced principal to observe leadership in action. Going into the training program, Taylor had thought a principal should be all knowing, all doing. Yet the principal he observed gave significant autonomy to his assistant principals. He was always available to guide them, but he let them make key decisions. As important, he didn’t berate them if their decisions didn’t pan out. His leadership style cultivated a spirit of trust and collective ownership of the school. </p><p>Remembering that experience as a trainee, Taylor concluded that improving ninth grade performance was not a task he should undertake alone. “I didn’t come in to save the day,” he recalls. “I came in to bring individuals together so that we could save the day.” </p><p>Taylor organized a committee of teachers and other staff members to study the ninth grade experience at Berkmar. The group reviewed data on achievement, attendance and other indicators. “They saw how their input could shape what Berkmar was to become,” Taylor recalls. He, meanwhile, worked on convincing the school’s strongest teachers that being asked to teach ninth graders instead of twelfth graders wasn’t a demotion but a recognition of their talents and importance at Berkmar. </p><p>In 2015, Berkmar implemented a redesigned ninth grade academy and introduced career-themed academies for upperclassmen. The changes apparently have been effective. Last year, Berkmar’s ninth-grade promotion rate was 78 percent, up from 67 percent in 2013. The graduation rate, meanwhile, reached 71 percent. Some of the biggest gains were among students with disabilities, whose graduation rate rose from 19 percent in 2014 to 41 percent last year. Taylor, now in his ninth year as a principal and his sixth at Berkmar, no longer qualifies as a novice, but he still looks for ways to improve his practice. “I thought I’d walk out of the training program with a how-to manual, but it doesn’t exist,” he says. “Every day, there’s a new challenge, a new opportunity.”</p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Effective-School-Leaders-Learn-How-to-Solve-Problems/190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final%20for%20ppt.jpg" alt="190405_WallaceFoundation_PrincipalPipeline_final for ppt.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;" /> <p> <em><br></em></p> ​ <em>Top ​photo of Al Taylor&#160;by Claire Holt</em> <p></p> <br>Jennifer Gill832019-06-04T04:00:00ZSee how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase graduation rates.11/6/2019 7:33:33 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems See how one Georgia principal used his leadership training to increase 621https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention 3797GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​​​​​​​Wallace recently released a research report that contained a welcome—and unusual—finding for those interested in improving public K-12 schools&#58; A change initiative had succeeded in moving the needle on student achievement. The report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx"> <em>Principal Pipelines&#58; A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools</em></a>, detailed RAND Corporation research into what happened when six large school districts introduced a systematic approach to developing school principals. <div> &#160;&#160; <br>But a bit overlooked in the initial burst of news and social media accounts of the achievement findings was another important nugget from the report. The approach to developing principals, known as building a principal pipeline, was a boon to school leader retention, too.</div><div> &#160;&#160; <br>​Specifically, newly placed principals in the six districts were almost 8 percentage points more likely to remain in their schools for at least three years than newly placed principals in comparison schools in other districts. That means that for every 100 newly placed principals, pipeline districts experienced eight fewer losses than the comparison districts.</div><div>&#160;</div><div><img alt="3-Principal-retention.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/3-Principal-retention.png" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</div><div> This matters because principal churn is a problem for many districts. The annual turnover rate of principals in U.S. public schools was about 18 percent in the 2015-2016 school year, according to U.S. Department of Education figures cited in the report, and higher still for schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students. There’s a price to be paid for this. Replacing a principal costs about $75,000, the report says, pointing to research on the topic. The cost in disruption to schools, teachers and students is high as well. Why? In part because rapid turnover undermines a simple necessity—the actions that principals take to try to improve student performance need time to be carried out and bear fruit, according to other research the report points to.&#160;&#160;</div><div>​<br>​<img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="gates_9114-(002).jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/gates_9114-(002).jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;152px;" />The effects of the pipeline on retention could not be measured with as much precision as student achievement, but when the six pipeline districts are pooled together in one analysis, “we find a robust, statistically significant result,” says Susan Gates, lead author of the RAND report. Variation in retention across these districts could possibly be attributed to such factors as how many principal vacancies each district faced year-to-year in the five-year initiative, which began in fall 2011, and the different ways the districts approached principal reassignment. For example, some districts may have been inclined to move a new principal who had performed well in two years to another school with greater needs.<br></div><div><br>Additionally, the pipeline’s positive effect on retention seems to have generally increased over time. Principals newly placed in pipeline-district schools in the initiative’s fourth year, the 2014-2015 school year, had a three-year retention that was close to 17 percentage points higher than the retention of newly placed principals in the comparison schools in other districts. “That’s encouraging evidence and what I would have expected to see,” Gates says.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>The reason, she explains, is that the pipeline approach to developing effective principals consists of&#160;implementing&#160;a set of policies and practices—such as high-quality pre-service training, data-informed hiring and appropriate on-the-job support—and some these likely needed more time than others to unfold and have an impact on cohorts of newly placed principals. Changes in hiring procedures or job support, for example, could have yielded results almost immediately. Improving pre-service training, on the other hand, would likely have had a delayed effect because candidates who completed revamped programs would not typically have been hired as principals for several years. “I would expect that with retention, in particular, that over time, those outcomes would improve—as districts build a more robust hiring pool through revised pre-service, candidates are selected based on a more rigorous approach and principals are supported more effectively,” Gates says.</div><div> &#160;&#160; </div><div>The RAND report was part of a wide-ranging study of the Principal Pipeline Initiative conducted with Policy Studies Associates, which in a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship.aspx">series</a> of reports examined the initiative’s implementation in the participating districts—Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (outside Atlanta); Hillsborough County (Tampa), Fla.; New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md. (outside Washington, D.C.).</div><div> &#160;&#160; </div><div>A follow-up study by Policy Studies Associates, published in February this year, provides additional evidence of the benefits of pipelines for retention. In <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sustainability-of-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx"> <em>Sustaining a Principal Pipeline</em></a>, which looks at the pipelines’ status two years after Wallace support for the initiative ended, officials from three districts reported they were keeping tabs on turnover to gauge the results of the pipeline work and determine how many principal vacancies would likely need to be filled.</div><div>&#160;</div><div><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Turnbull headshot (002).JPG" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Principal-retention-findings-from-PPI-report/Turnbull%20headshot%20(002).JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;124px;" />All three—Charlotte, Denver and New York—said they had seen improved principal retention, according to the report. That’s a good result as far as the districts’ leaders are concerned, according to Brenda Turnbull, who co-led the Policy Studies Associates research.</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;“What districts want, not surprisingly, is to put good principals into schools that are a good fit, have them stay in place for years, and then maybe transfer them to another school that needs them or promote them to a principal supervisor position,” she says. “From the perspective of a responsible district leader, a struggling principal who quits or isn’t renewed is a sign that something has gone wrong with preparation, selection and placement, or ongoing support.&#160;So when retention was increasing, these pipeline districts saw that as validation of their pipeline efforts.&#160;It was something that they had been working toward.&#160;Of course some turnover is inevitable and can be healthy, but no district really wants to have revolving doors in its principals’ offices.”&#160;</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;One note for those interested in pursuing pipelines as a retention strategy&#58; A recent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/essa-evidence-review-of-the-principal-pipeline-initiative.aspx">analysis</a> finds that RAND’s retention research is strong enough to meet federal evidence-of-effectiveness criteria for funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act, including its Title I stream.</div><div> &#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;To see a collection of resources about principal pipelines and the related research, check out <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-pipeline-implementation.aspx">this page</a>.</div>Wallace editorial team792019-04-26T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.4/26/2019 5:15:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention recently released a research report that 704https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Ensuring That Every Student Succeeds10752GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​When Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, it made a bi-partisan decision to devolve authority over federal education spending away from Washington, D.C. Now, it’s up to states and school districts to show that they are up to the challenge of deciding how best to use U.S. dollars to bolster public education for all students.&#160;&#160;&#160; <br></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ensuring-that-Every-Student-Succeeds/Brogan_Pix-crop2.jpg" alt="Brogan_Pix-crop2.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;" />That was the key message from Frank T. Brogan, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, at a recent Wallace Foundation conference.&#160; “Is every child better off as a result,” he urged audience members to ask themselves, noting that he finds “every” the key word in the Every Student Succeeds Act. “That’s an awesome responsibility. There are 50 million of them out there.”<br></p><p>Brogan made his comments at a gathering of about 200 local and state education officials, representatives of university principal preparation programs and other education leaders from around the country. ESSA, the latest reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is a leading source of support for public school education and is notable for giving states and localities more control over their use of federal education money. It also offers new possibilities for funding efforts to boost school leadership—a particular interest of the conference attendees, most of whom were&#160; &#160;participants in Wallace’s ESSA Leadership Learning Community and University Principal Preparation Initiative.</p><p>Brogan said ESSA was “as important and pronounced a piece of legislation as I have seen come out of Washington, D.C., in decades.” The law’s underlying assumption, he said, is a belief that those closest to children—their schools, their communities, their districts, their states—are in a better position than federal officials to determine the students’ educational needs and how to meet them. Local educators, he said, “live with these children, they see them every day.… They know the challenges these children bring to school.” </p><p>At the same time, the law gives states and districts the weighty responsibility of showing that Congress made the right decision in placing new powers in their hands. “What ESSA is designed to say is, ‘we trust you,’” Brogan told the audience, emphasizing that what Congress giveth, Congress can also take away.&#160; “If we don’t take up that mantle of local control and flexibility and create the same, they will snatch this bad boy away from us before we knew we had it,” he said. “We have to prove that we are worthy of that trust and find ways to reach children we have not been able to reach or reach them at higher levels.”</p><p>Brogan said that those who want to improve education need to avoid suggesting that current practices are bad—and focus instead on the idea that “by most standard measures” children today “are capable of more.” Educators and education officials, he argued, also need the “courage” to identify what requires changing and then make the necessary moves, despite inevitable pushback from others. “You can’t just open the window and yell ‘work harder;’ you have to work differently,” Brogan said.</p><p>One aid in this endeavor is evidence, Brogan argued, saying that educators nationwide are “desperate” to learn about innovations that have proved effective in classrooms elsewhere. “The beauty of funding evidence-based change is that it’s not just this shiny object,” he said. “This thing works. It can work for our children.” He noted that the U.S. Department of Education is creating a new unit to make it easier to get information about evidence-based practices. As part of an effort to consolidate the work of roughly 25 offices into 14 offices, the department has put the Office of Innovation under the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, which Brogan heads.</p><p>Asked about how the Department’s policies would help achieve equity in education, Brogan pointed to data as a key lever&#58; “You can’t address what you can’t see,” he said. “The data alone won’t guarantee that you know what the problem is, but it will allow a confidence in trendlines that will enable people to stop and get them to talk about this.”</p><p>One of his priorities in leading an office responsible for distributing about $23 billion annually in grants, Brogan said, is to balance the need for adherence to grant requirements with the need for user-friendliness. A self-described “customer-relationship guy,” Brogan said that he wants “to know what the customer satisfaction rates are for our clients… and then I want to have conversations within and without the department about how we can change that to be a more user-friendly group.” </p><p>Although most of his talk focused on ESSA, Brogan began his remarks by recounting his journey from modest beginnings in Lafayette, Indiana, to his arrival to a position of influence in the nation’s capital. Brogan’s father died when Brogan and his five siblings were young. The family was raised by a single mother with an 8th grade education—and a determination to see her children advance beyond what their circumstances suggested. Working in restaurants and cleaning houses to support the family, she also managed to instill the value of education in all her kids. “She was a rock star in our neighborhood,” Brogan said. “She was unique in that all six of her children graduated from high school. At that time, it was a cause célèbre. I survived my first 18 years on the blunt end of this woman’s will. Failure was not an option. We were going to get an education. She professed it with great regularity and extreme passion.”</p><p>The challenge posed by ESSA is whether states and districts can harness this type of fierce belief in the power of education to ensure that every child can succeed in life.</p><p>For a look at evidence-based funding opportunities for school leadership under ESSA see <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/school-leadership-interventions-every-student-succeeds-act-volume-1.aspx">here</a>.</p>Wallace editorial team792019-03-06T05:00:00ZFederal education official urges local, state officials to prove “worthy” of the trust put in them by ESSA3/6/2019 7:33:33 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Ensuring That Every Student Succeeds Federal education official urges local, state officials to prove “worthy” of the trust 601https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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