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It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal24082GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p><em>​This post is part of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program. The university is one of seven institutions participating in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which seeks to help improve training of future principals so they are better prepared to ensure quality instruction and schools. A research effort to determine the effects of the work is underway. While we await its results, this series describes one university’s work so far.</em></p><p><em>These posts were planned and researched before the novel coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States. The work they describe predates the pandemic and may change as a result of it. The University of Connecticut is working to determine the effects of the pandemic on its work and how it will respond to them.</em></p><p>Ask Mark Benigni, superintendent of schools in Meriden, Conn., about the importance of partnerships in education, and he might tell you about Daniel Crispino. Crispino started his career as a first-grade teacher in Meriden Public Schools. His success in that role led the district to tap him for a leadership position and eventually nominate him for a spot in the University of Connecticut’s Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). After a one-year program at UCAPP, Crispino returned to the district as an assistant principal. In 2016, he became principal of John Barry Elementary School, which at the time had a “failing” designation from the state. By 2019, Crispino had helped transform the school; it received a <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/daniel-crispino-principal-john-barry-elementary-school-meriden-connecticut/">National Blue Ribbon Award</a> that year, and Crispino became one of ten principals to receive the <a href="https&#58;//nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov/2019-terrel-h-bell-awardees-honored-for-outstanding-school-leadership/">Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership</a>. He is now the district’s director of school leadership, where he is helping other principals improve their schools.</p><p>Benigni may not be able to retain leaders such as Crispino, he says, without his district’s long-standing relationship with the University of Connecticut. The promise of career advancement through training at UCAPP helps keep talent in the district, despite its limited salaries. “As a small urban district, we can’t pay as well as some suburban communities,” he said. “What we can offer is a really enriching experience working with a college partner.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Benigni-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>That partner is now working to strengthen such ties so it can enhance those experiences and help improve leadership in districts such as Meriden. In 2016, UCAPP joined The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, which supports the redesign of six university programs so they can better train future principals. The initiative calls, in part, for closer partnerships with states, school districts and other community organizations so universities can tailor training to the needs of schools. UCAPP has embarked on a systematic effort to reinforce such ties, with a close, collaborative assessment of needs, establishment of regular communication channels and joint monitoring of results.</p><p>“We had had a concerted effort to work with more urban districts in the state,” said Casey Cobb, professor of educational policy at the University of Connecticut, who helped reorient UCAPP’s approach to district partnerships. “But we never had formal partnerships beyond one with the Hartford School District. The Wallace initiative gave us the opportunity to reach out to districts to support their leadership development pathways.” </p><p>UCAPP chose to work with three urban districts—Hartford, Meriden and New Haven—with which it has had close and long-standing relationships. “We wanted districts who had both the need and also the capacity to be part of this redesign,” said Jennifer McGarry, the university’s department head in education leadership who also helped manage work in the Wallace initiative. “We wanted people that we knew had a commitment to change and continual improvement.”</p><p><strong>Laying out the foundation</strong></p><p>The work began with the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx">Quality Measures self-assessment tool</a>, which requires programs to work with school districts to determine whether they are preparing principals to lead teaching and learning in those districts. Based on the results of that assessment, UCAPP developed a general agreement with each district outlining the areas of focus and priorities for their work together. </p><p>These agreements are informal and sketch out broad frameworks for the work, such as guidelines for admissions processes, placement of UCAPP students for internships in district schools and protocols for communications among the partners. They were once enshrined in formal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that UCAPP leaders assumed would help resolve disagreements or miscommunications. UCAPP has learned, however, that their utility can often fall short of the legal and administrative work they require. </p><p>UCAPP’s MOU with one district, for example, unraveled with the arrival of a new superintendent whose priorities differed significantly from those of her predecessor. UCAPP had spent three years cultivating the relationship that led to this MOU, working closely with leaders and lawyers to ensure it met all parties’ rules and regulations. Yet, with the arrival of a new district leader, all that work came to naught.</p><p>“It became a fragile agreement,” said UCAPP director Richard Gonzales. “Even with the MOU, we couldn't ensure that things were going to go according to those terms.”<br> UCAPP is therefore bypassing the formalities and focusing more on the spirit than the letter of its agreements. It still uses a self-assessment to determine the broad contours of its work with the districts, but it now relies more on personal ties than on official documents. “Now it’s much less about the written agreement and much more about the relationships,” Gonzales said. “You have to maintain and nurture those relationships. It’s more time-intensive.” </p><p><strong>Staying in touch and strengthening ties</strong></p><p>UCAPP relies on regular contacts, both formal and informal, to maintain these relationships. It convenes leaders from all partner districts roughly once every fortnight to share information and solve problems. All partners also come together at regular meetings of a professional learning community of participants in the Wallace initiative.</p><p>The most obvious benefit of this frequent contact is that it allows UCAPP to adapt and improve its program based on actual needs in schools. One district, for example, said early-career principals were struggling to create leadership teams. UCAPP therefore added to its curriculum to beef up support in that area. Another district was having trouble with teacher turnover. So UCAPP created a three-year program to help high-performing teachers become instructional leaders and help improve classroom performance throughout the district. Chronic absenteeism seemed to be a problem throughout the state. UCAPP responded by incorporating readings, discussions and assignments about absenteeism into its curriculum.</p><p>Beyond immediate improvements in UCAPP’s offerings, the frequency of contact is also creating bonds that transcend formal MOUs. Benigni, for example, had been looking for ways to better support his district’s eight elementary-school principals. At a meeting of the Wallace-convened professional learning community, he got the idea to restructure his central office and create a position dedicated to those principals. He saw an opportunity to do so when Miguel Cardona, an assistant superintendent in his district, left to become Connecticut’s education commissioner. With a top spot open, Benigni could shuffle resources and job responsibilities to get his elementary-school principals the support they needed. To help make sure he did it right, he called Richard Gonzales.&#160; </p><p>Gonzales helped Benigni determine the most efficient ways to restructure the central office and create a new position dedicated to elementary-school principals. He even used his knowledge of philanthropies such as The Wallace Foundation to help Benigni work out how to pay for that position. Benigni introduced the new position to the district in the 2019-2020 school year. It is currently filled by UCAPP graduate Dan Crispino.</p><p>“The added partnership puts us more in touch with each other so it’s easier to throw those ideas off each other,” Benigni said. “You become partners, but you become strategic thinkers together as well.”</p><p>Such relationships can’t ensure complete agreement among parties. Complications do arise, and UCAPP must work closely with districts to resolve them. For example, Cobb said, a district may place a UCAPP intern in a school that needs more support, not in one that would help that intern become a more effective leader. “It can be a little tricky,” he said of such situations, “but we try to face it head on.” UCAPP advocates for students in such situations. “We know they’re in a tough position,” Cobb added. “They can’t be complaining, they can’t put down other administrators. That’s when we will have a side conversation with the district.”</p><p><strong>Tracking outcomes<br></strong></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Torres-Rodriguez-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><strong></strong></p><p>Such sensitive conversations can be easier when they’re based on data. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, for example, said that the district was once unable to communicate its needs to UCAPP because it lacked the data to understand those needs itself. “We needed stronger data systems to be able to see how our principals are doing and progressing,” she said. “It felt challenging to us to identify goals for the partnership when our data systems weren’t as strong.”</p><p>UCAPP is therefore working with all its partner districts to develop data systems to track the performance and career trajectories of its graduates. These systems will collect key points of data, such as graduates’ areas of strength while they were in UCAPP, the number of UCAPP graduates hired as administrators, the amount of time they spend in those positions and key performance indicators of the schools in which they serve. UCAPP plans to use such systems to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its graduates as they play out in schools. These systems could also help match UCAPP interns and graduates; if data suggest that a certain school needs support in a certain area, UCAPP could help direct graduates with expertise in that area to that school.</p><p>&quot;​I don’t need a zillion candidates to fill a principal job, I just need the one right person,” Benigni said. “If we can come up with a firm understanding of what makes a leader most effective, and if we can then track the development of those skills, then I’ll know when I’ve got a strong person ready for that job.”</p><p>Such systems cannot be bought off the shelf, however. Each district’s systems are different, and to bring them all together, UCAPP would have to sort through several technical and legal complications, such as the nature of the data collected, how they are stored, who owns and maintains them, how they are shared and how all parties can ensure privacy and security.</p><p>UCAPP quickly realized that the effort necessary to create a single system across all districts outweighed its potential benefits. Instead, the program forged agreements whereby each district develops its own system but gives UCAPP a standard data report every year. Such an arrangement gives districts the flexibility to collect the data that matter most to them, while allowing UCAPP to aggregate the data it needs to identify broader trends in principal performance and areas in which it may need to adapt. </p><p>It also highlights the importance of another partnership&#58; that with the Connecticut State Department of Education.</p><p><strong>Support from and for the state</strong></p><p>UCAPP can’t gain a full understanding of school needs using data from just three districts. Principals may move from district to district, and UCAPP must track its graduates’ records across districts to fully understand how well it trained them. Instead of negotiating complex data agreements with each of Connecticut’s nearly 200 districts, UCAPP is working with the state department of education to help meet its data needs. The department of education will help UCAPP track the basic essentials throughout the state, and UCAPP will incorporate the more nuanced data it receives from its three partners every year.</p><p>UCAPP has forged a close but informal relationship with the state, as it has with its partner districts, beyond such data systems. Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona says this relationship helps ensure principals are trained to lead schools that principal preparation programs often ignore. “We have students who are dealing with many different things in their life, whether it's through poverty or other issues,” he said. “Historically, the students that graduate from some of the traditional principal preparation programs have had very little experience learning about leadership in communities dealing with these needs.”</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/It-Takes-a-Village-to-Train-an-Effective-Principal/UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" alt="UConn-Partnerships-Cardona-lg-feature.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>State representatives participate in meetings UCAPP convenes with districts and communicate these needs, Cardona said. They also use these conversations to flag important shifts in state policy. Cardona pointed to the example of a recent change from a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior to a focus on restorative practices, which seek to improve students’ relationships with each other and the community. State staffers signaled that change to UCAPP, and UCAPP tweaked its curriculum accordingly. “Now, pre-service principals are hearing different perspectives and different approaches towards restorative practices being considered in districts,” Cardona said. “So when they go into districts, these approaches are not new. New principals don't hear about them for the first time when they're employed.”</p><p>The state also gives UCAPP important context for its efforts. “The state is the best source of historical information for us,” Jennifer McGarry said. The department of education keeps information about interventions in years past, which she says is useful as UCAPP considers new approaches. “We can ask, ‘why did it work? Why did it not work? Is it something we want to revisit, or is it something that’s been done and wasn’t successful?”</p><p><strong>Results thus far</strong></p><p>Productive partnerships don’t come easy. All parties must stay open to feedback and change. They must balance different viewpoints and sometimes competing needs. And they must secure the resources they need to follow through on commitments. “It's not just one conversation, and then you go back to business as usual,” Cardona said. “It's a constant reflection of what's working, what's not working, what needs attention.”</p><p>But that effort may be yielding some early benefits for schools. Benigni, for example, said that more careful consideration of the skills his principals need and his greater familiarity with principal training has helped him ask better questions when he interviews principal candidates. “We’re putting less emphasis on the feel of the interview and more emphasis on the substance of the person,” he said. “There’s a likability factor that comes out in an interview. Sometimes that’s valuable, because being well liked helps you lead. But if you can’t help your teachers get better, that’s going to wear off very quickly.”</p><p>Cardona said closer communication with UCAPP and its partner districts is leading the state to reconsider certification policies. “The certification department may be under the assumption that a policy is a really good one,” he said. “But partners will tell us what they’re experiencing, and we might find that it is unintentionally hurting our ability to attract quality candidates. It gives us the opportunity to revisit that policy, see why it is in place and whether or not it's needed.”</p><p>Cobb, meanwhile, suggested that UCAPP’s initial self-assessment and its partnership with the state may even prod other programs to improve. “The state convened competing programs to talk about the quality of their own programs through the Quality Measures protocol,” he said. “I thought that was pretty neat.”</p><p>Challenges remain, however. One is staff capacity. Changes in personnel can disrupt efforts and partnerships with UCAPP can stretch districts’ financial and human resources. Another is the amount of time it takes to meet partnership commitments. Districts have requests UCAPP has not yet been able to address, and it can take a while for UCAPP to determine how best to squeeze these requests into a packed curriculum. </p><p>But the work so far has forced the parties closer together, built trust and, some hope, paved a path for continuous improvement in days ahead. “I define success by creating a culture of interdependence between the University of Connecticut, the districts and the department of education,” Cardona said. “So if this Wallace initiative wraps up, the partnership and the ongoing dialogue are still there.”</p><p>Benigni suggests that partnerships may be on their way to accomplishing just that. “We were partners before,” he said. “But now I feel like we may be influencing their work and they may be influencing ours.”</p><span>Read the previous post in our UConn series&#58; </span><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/embracing-the-unknown-in-new-approaches-to-principal-preparation.aspx">Embracing the Unknown in New Approaches to Principal Preparation</a>.<span></span><p><span></span><br></p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-16T04:00:00ZClose partnerships with school districts and the state help the University of Connecticut strengthen principal training.6/17/2020 1:18:07 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / It Takes a Village to Train an Effective Principal Close partnerships with school districts and the state help the 330https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Performance Reviews Become a Tool for Developing Effective Principals24099GP0|#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 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 consist of four parts—rigorous job standards, high quality pre-service preparation, selective hiring, and strong on-the-job support and evaluation. In an occasional series, we are examining these components by talking to principals in the school districts that, with Wallace support, tested the pipeline idea. Today, we meet a principal from Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida who benefited from the district’s revamped evaluation system.</em></p><p>Some people run from change, but Rachael O’Dea thrives on it. When she was appointed in 2015 as a first-year principal to Lanier Elementary School in Tampa, Fla., just 42 percent of the students were proficient in reading and math. Garbage littered the campus, making the school feel like “a forgotten place,” she recalls. </p><p>O’Dea wasted no time in leading the Title I school’s turnaround, creating multiple job-embedded professional development opportunities for teachers. She scheduled weekly hourlong sessions for teachers to meet with reading and math coaches, review the standards they were teaching to&#160;and collaborate on lesson plans. She implemented a schoolwide leadership program—modeled after Stephen Covey’s book <em>The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People</em>—that includes goal-setting for both teachers and students. The school campus also received a makeover, thanks to a new event O’Dea established that enlists parent volunteers to spruce it up. </p><p>Around the same time, O’Dea’s employer, Hillsborough County Public Schools, was in the midst of a makeover too. It was revamping the way principals are evaluated. For O’Dea, the new process fostered a stronger partnership with her supervisor and led her to rethink the way that Lanier engaged its most important ally in raising student achievement&#58; parents. </p><p>Nationally, most principals are reviewed annually, but research indicates that few find the process useful to improving their practice. Hillsborough County and the other pipeline districts sought to change that, believing that evaluations could be a key&#160;&#160;tool to developing effective leaders. </p><p>In Hillsborough, the first step was analyzing and modifying the district’s professional standards for principals, which outline what school leaders are expected to know and do. A committee of school leaders, district administrators and others then developed a standards-based evaluation system that supports principals’ professional growth. In addition to student achievement, Hillsborough principals are now evaluated in five realms aligned to the standards&#58; achievement focus and results orientation; instructional expertise; managing and developing people; culture and relationship building; and problem solving and strategic management.</p><p>Principal supervisors base their assessment on concrete evidence collected throughout the school year as they interact with the principals they oversee. To determine&#160;instructional expertise, for instance, the evaluation examines how well a principal conducts classroom observations, uses data to boost student learning and ensures that curriculum, instructional strategies and assessments are in sync. Supervisor feedback to principals on how they are doing in the various realms is ongoing—one Hillsborough principal <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Building-a-Stronger-Principalship-Vol-4-Evaluating-and-Supporting-Principals.pdf">described</a> it to researchers as a “pulse check”—so that school leaders get the targeted support they need. </p><p>The district has found, for example, that many novice principals struggle with strategic change management. In response, principal supervisors and leadership coaches work with new principals to identify the root causes of the problems at their schools and narrow possible solutions to a few they can do well. They also help principals manage their time, so they stay focused on what matters. “With the demands of the job, it is very easy to become scattered and surface-level with implementation,” says Tricia McManus, Hillsborough’s assistant superintendent for leadership, professional development and school transformation. “Regular on-site coaching provides novice principals with the support needed to be successful.”&#160; &#160;</p><p>Like Hillsborough, the other five districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative refurbished their principal evaluations, and overall, novice principals across the six districts expressed enthusiasm for the new approach. At least 75 percent of respondents to a survey of novice principals working in the pipeline districts agreed that their evaluations accurately reflected both their performance and the complexity of their jobs. A large majority who were told they needed to improve in at least one practice area reported getting help in that area. </p><p>O’Dea says Hillsborough’s current evaluation process begins at the start of the school year, when she meets with her supervisor to review data and set annual goals that are aligned with the school’s needs. “It is more than an evaluation,” she says. “It is about reflection and planning for the school community you are leading.” </p><p>While she excelled in her evaluations at Lanier, O’Dea found that the process helped her recognize that she could do more to engage school families, an aspect of culture and relationship building. “It’s hard to get parents in the door, especially at a Title I school,” she says. After brainstorming with her supervisor, she scrapped science day, which historically hadn’t drawn much interest, and replaced it with a leadership day for students to showcase their leadership skills and how they incorporate the 7 Habits in their daily life. Attendance at the event was strong. “When I started thinking differently about how to engage families, beyond academics, it really changed things,” she says. </p><p>Last year, district managers asked O’Dea to lead Forest Hills Elementary School, one of Hillsborough’s lowest-performing schools. By then, Lanier students had made significant academic gains&#58; In the 2017-2018 school year, 57 percent were proficient in math and 50 percent in reading. O’Dea left the school in good hands. Her former assistant principal, whom she mentored through the district’s principal training program, is now in charge.<br></p><p> <em>Photo of Rachel O’Dea (above, right)&#160;by&#160;</em><em><a href="http&#58;//claireholtphotography.com/">Claire Holt</a></em><a href="http&#58;//claireholtphotography.com/"><br></a></p><p><br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> Previous posts in this series include&#58;​<br></h3><p> <a href="http&#58;//claireholtphotography.com/">“</a><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/new-hiring-approach-helps-district-make-the-right-match-between-principal-and-school.aspx">New Hiring Approach Helps District Make Right Match Between Principal and School</a>” </p><p>“<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/leader-standards-let-principals-know-what-to-strive-for.aspx">Leader Standards Let Principals Know What to Strive For</a>”</p><p>“<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/on-the-job-support-helps-new-principals-build-skills-and-confidence.aspx">On-the-Job Support Helps New Principals Build Skills—and Confidence</a>”</p><p>“<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/effective-school-leaders-learn-how-to-solve-problems.aspx">Effective School Leaders Learn How to Solve Problems</a>”​<br><br></p>Jennifer Gill832019-11-26T05:00:00ZYour 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.11/26/2019 6:44:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Performance Reviews Become a Tool for Developing Effective Principals A new approach to evaluation helps a Tampa principal 1108https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
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 1426https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Leader Standards Let Principals Know What to Strive For4321GP0|#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, and <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. Today, we explore how job standards shaped the leadership development of a principal in Denver.&#160;</em></p><p>When Pam Kirk became an assistant principal in 2008, she had a meeting with her new boss at Force Elementary School in southwest Denver. Her principal asked which leadership skills Kirk wanted to work on that year. Kirk wasn’t sure how to answer. As a former third grade teacher, she had never held any leadership positions, let alone given thought to what her leader strengths and weaknesses were. “I came straight out of a classroom to being an AP,” she says. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to work on. You tell me.’”</p><p>Fast-forward more than a decade and conversations about goals and professional growth sound very different in Denver Public Schools. In 2012, the district unveiled its School Leadership Framework, a set of job standards that outlines expectations for principals in six leadership realms and identifies indicators that demonstrate competency in each. Today, the framework informs all aspects of the district’s talent management strategy for school leaders, from training to recruitment, from performance evaluation to succession planning. “It anchors everything we do,” says Mikel Royal, director of school leader preparation and development for Denver Public Schools.&#160;</p><p>Leader standards may strike observers as the most mundane of the four pipeline components, but the six pipeline districts found them of singular importance, according to <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-a-stronger-principalship-vol-5-the-principal-pipeline-initiative-in-action.aspx">research about the implementation</a> of the pipeline effort. This is in part because of how the standards guided the development of the other pipeline components and helped the pipeline as a whole cohere. The new standards replaced what the researchers described as “a loose patchwork of language about school leadership that did not communicate what the district really wanted principals to know and do.” Then, the new standards were often themselves revised, as districts observed the standards in use and saw gaps in them or lack of clarity about important matters, or lists that needed trimming to a few absolute essentials. “Living documents in use” is how the researchers characterized the standards. Moreover, developing standards proved to be by far the least expensive of the pipeline components, according to an initiative <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/what-it-takes-to-operate-and-maintain-principal-pipelines-costs-and-other-resources.aspx">cost study</a>. They carried a per-pupil price tag of about 41 cents a year—“remarkably inexpensive” for something so significant, the researchers said.&#160; </p><p>Kirk’s entry into the principal pipeline coincided with the launch of Denver’s standards’ framework. In 2012, she was among the district’s first educators to participate in Learn To Lead, a yearlong residency program in which aspiring principals work alongside veteran leaders in schools. The program is rooted in the framework, with residents identifying two to three indicators as growth goals for the year. The framework was so new that Kirk had to explain it to her mentor principal.&#160;</p><p>After her residency, Kirk applied to the hiring pool for principals, a process also closely aligned to the framework. To gauge her readiness as an instructional leader (standard two), for example, Kirk was asked to watch a video of classroom instruction and describe the feedback she would give to the teacher. To assess her skills as a community builder (standard six), district leaders had her role-play a scenario in which upset parents confronted her.&#160;</p><p>The framework influenced Kirk’s professional growth after she became principal of Asbury Elementary School in south Denver. At a workshop in 2015, she and other school leaders unpacked each standard and reviewed the types of evidence that their supervisors would use to evaluate their performance on a four-point scale&#58; not meeting, approaching, effective and distinguished. That year, principals also set professional goals tied to the framework. Kirk chose to concentrate on creating a more supportive workplace for her staff. “I’m not a warm and fuzzy principal—it’s not a strength of mine,” she says. “The framework makes me focus on it and ensures that I’m bringing those values to my building.”</p><p>In 2017, Denver revised the framework with input from principals to define expectations for all members of a school’s instructional leadership team—principal, assistant principal, deans and teacher leaders. Previously, everyone had been evaluated against the principal standards. In the area of instructional expertise, for example, teacher leaders are expected to develop a team of teachers who deliver “joyful, rigorous instruction,” while the principal is tasked with building and empowering the instructional leadership team to ensure engaging instruction for all students. By showing the competency progression, the framework has become a powerful tool for leaders at all levels to “self-assess their progress and have conversations with their supervisor about their growth,” says Royal.&#160;&#160;<br></p><p>Earlier this year, Kirk used the framework for the first time to evaluate Asbury Elementary’s dean of culture. She was surprised by all the evidence she needed to collect to make an informed assessment. Still, the effort led to a more meaningful conversation with her dean. Rather than a perfunctory review of his evaluation scores, she says, “we focused on the data behind the decision and his next steps moving forward.”&#160;Kirk recently took a step forward in her career too. In September, she became the new principal of Southmoor Elementary School in Denver.<br></p><p><em>​Photo of Pam Kirk by Sam Adams/Adams Visual Communications</em></p>Jennifer Gill832019-10-29T04:00:00ZA Denver principal reflects on how district standards influenced her growth and practice11/12/2019 7:08:38 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Leader Standards Let Principals Know What to Strive For A Denver principal reflects on how district standards influenced 1316https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
National Principals Month Highlights the Tough Job of Leading a School24092GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>“T he principal is the most pivotal role in the entire system,” Carmen Fariña, the former chancellor of New York City's school system, said in an episode of <em>The Principal Pipeline</em> podcast. “Having the best principals in New York is a mandate. There's nothing that's more important.” </p><p>While there are many ways to work toward advancing learning and running a school, one thing is clear&#58; being a principal is hard work. So every year in October the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) join forces to celebrate principals. This year, <a href="https&#58;//www.principalsmonth.org/">National Principals Month</a> is focused on nationwide advocacy to help ensure principals have what they need to meet the challenges that come with leading a school. </p><p>To add to the celebration, we’ve put together a list of a few of our landmark and new reports and tools to help districts better support principals in the work they do. </p><ul><li>The 2004 report, “<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.aspx">How Leadership Influences Student Learning</a>” establishes the now widespread idea that leadership is second only to teaching among in-school influences on student success. </li><li>While this groundbreaking <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">2019 report from RAND</a> shows how six large school districts that build principal pipelines—a systematic approach to hiring, preparing and supporting leaders—saw notable, statistically significant benefits for student achievement and principal retention. </li><li>Two series of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-principal-pipeline.aspx"><em>The Principal Pipeline</em> podcast​</a> bring you some of the voices of principals, school district leaders, state leaders and others from the six districts that built pipelines. </li><li>And of course the <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">School Leadership</a> section of our Knowledge Center houses many more reports, videos, presentations and infographics. <br><br></li></ul><p> <img alt="principal-pipeline-main-image.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/National-Principals-Month-Highlights-the-Tough-Job-of-Leading-a-School/principal-pipeline-main-image.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><h2 class="wf-Element-H2" style="text-align&#58;center;">Happy reading and happy National Principals Month!</h2>Wallace editorial team792019-10-09T04:00:00ZYour 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.10/9/2019 7:22:33 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / National Principals Month Highlights the Tough Job of Leading a School This year districts and organizations across the US 730https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Universities and Districts Team Up to Better Prepare Principals4226GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Research confirms that principals influence student learning—but many district and university leaders agree that most university-based leadership programs aren’t preparing principals for the challenges of today’s schools. In fact, Michelle Young, executive director at the University Council for Educational Administration says there are about 700 university preparation programs right now, and “there is a significant amount of variability in the quality.”</p><p>There are exceptions, however, including the universities and school districts profiled in a four-part video series, <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/uppi-video-series.aspx">Principal Preparation&#58; A Roadmap for Reform</a></em></strong>. The videos explore why and how universities and local school districts are working together to better prepare principals for the rigors of the job, illustrating the early steps in a complex process that requires fundamental change.</p><p>“Principals have always played a significant role in their schools, but now the complexities of the job have increased,” says Beverly Hutton, deputy executive director at the National Association of Secondary School Principals in the introductory video. “Now principals are not only responsible for developing a vision and nurturing a school culture. Now we’re instructional leaders. That means now we’re driving student achievement. We’re tracking teacher performance.&#160; We’re looking at the culture as a whole, all while thinking about what is best for students.” &#160;</p><p>The videos are based on lessons from <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/launching-redesign-university-principal-preparation-programs.aspx">Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs&#58; Partners Collaborate for Change</a></em></strong>, a 2018 report from the RAND Corporation on the first year of a Wallace initiative to support seven sites across the nation as they rethink principal preparation. The universities had established a firm foundation of partnerships, shared a common vision, and had developed structures, tools and processes to make progress. With that groundwork, they were able to begin the process of redesigning their curriculum and field experiences. The findings suggest the feasibility of a complex redesign process, through comprehensive interdependent partnerships, the study concludes.</p><p>In each location in the University Principal Preparation Initiative, four institutions are involved&#58; a university principal training program; at least three school districts that hire its graduates; a “mentor” principal training program considered exemplary for practices the university plans to redesign; and the state office responsible for matters such as program accreditation. </p><p>At each site, the redesign work includes&#58;</p><ul><li>Using leader standards to align features of the program and expectations for graduate performance</li><li>Conducting evidence-based “self-assessments” to identify strengths and growth areas</li><li>Using “logic models” to support team building and to guide change</li><li>Grounding curriculum and instruction in real-world experience in schools</li><li>Ramping up clinical instruction and recruitment and selection of principal candidates</li><li>Exploring systems to track graduate performance and to fill vacancies for principals </li></ul><p>See the whole series, <strong><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/uppi-video-series.aspx">Principal Preparation&#58; A Roadmap for Reform</a>, </em></strong>or go directly to the individual episodes below&#58; </p><ol dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"><li>An introductory video, <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4V7RNeM01Y&amp;t=214s">The Case for Change</a></em></strong>, that explains why universities and school districts are coming together to prepare principals&#160;&#160;and the research on effective programs. &#160;</li><li>A profile of <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShSqTE8d8SU&amp;t=3s">North Carolina State University</a></em></strong> in Raleigh and its work with local school districts, with a focus on its partnership with the Wake County Public School System. It explains how the university and its partners came together to jointly agree on what school leaders should know and be able to do, what changes were made to the university curriculum, and how the partners jointly select candidates for the principal preparation program </li><li>A profile of <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=346znX74_HE&amp;t=10s">Florida Atlantic University</a></em></strong> in Boca Raton and its work with four large countywide school districts in South Florida. This video shows how FAU and its partners consulted the Richie Program for School Leaders at the University of Denver as they rewrote curriculum and explains how they used the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/quality-measures-principal-preparation-program-assessment.aspx">Quality Measures</a> self-study toolkit to guide the redesign process. Their goal was to prepare school leaders who can lead change. &#160;</li><li>The final video, <strong><em><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7ck5rqDo9g&amp;t=5s">Profile of a Mentor&#58; The Ritchie Program for School Leaders</a></em></strong>, explains how the Ritchie program at the University of Denver served as a “mentor program” to universities and school districts and explains Ritchie’s longstanding partnership to prepare principals with the Denver Public Schools. &#160;</li></ol><p>The videos were produced by award-winning filmmaker Tod Lending.</p><br>Wallace editorial team792019-09-24T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/24/2019 4:49:09 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Universities and Districts Team Up to Better Prepare Principals A four-part video series shares early lessons from seven 1145https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Panel Highlights Role of States in Developing Effective Principals24098GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>After hearing results from a recent study on the successful strategic development of school leaders, Lance Clow, an Idaho state representative serving on the state’s education committee, said the research confirms what his wife, a public school teacher, often told him—bring in a good principal and everything improves. “Just like a rising tide raises all boats, a good principal raises everybody up, the students and teachers,” he said. </p><p>Clow was one of the state legislators and staff members attending an early morning panel at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Nashville, Tenn., to hear results from a recent Wallace-funded initiative on building principal pipelines. Principal pipelines, which a team of researchers from RAND and Policy Studies Associates studied in six large school districts over eight years, are a strategic approach to preparing and supporting school leaders to develop a consistent and adequate supply of effective principals. </p><p>Ty Wilde, a senior research officer at Wallace, along with NCSL’s Ashley Idrees and Paul Fleming, former assistant commissioner for the Teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, detailed the good news of the study—principal pipelines were found to have a positive impact on both principal retention and academic achievement—and provided a deep-dive into how states can implement principal pipelines in their home districts. </p><p>The NCSL, which provides resources and research about key issues like school leadership to legislators, thought it was important to share the Wallace-supported research with its members, who are always looking for connections to expertise and evidence-based solutions. “The research is timely and applicable,” said Idrees, a<em>policy specialist in NCSL's education program</em>. “Every state throughout the nation hopes to provide invaluable school leaders to guide and support teachers and students.” </p><p>The results of the principal pipeline study were so positive that they surprised Wilde, who managed the project at Wallace. She joked with the breakfast group gathered at the Nashville Music City Center that for the first time in almost 20 years of conducting or managing research, she stopped to call her mother. She was that bowled over by the findings—both the results and their magnitude.&#160; </p><p>Researchers found that schools in pipeline districts outperformed comparison schools in other districts in both <u><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">reading and math</a></u>. Surprisingly, academic benefits were largest for the lowest performing schools, which often pose the biggest challenges to improvement. Principal turnover was reduced, and the cost of implementation remained low when compared with other district-wide improvement efforts, like teacher professional development. Among studies of district interventions, few had shown such strong results. </p><p>“Principal pipelines are feasible, affordable and effective,” Wilde told the group. “We hope you consider ways to support principal pipelines in your state.”&#160; </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">The pieces of the pipeline </h3><p> School leadership is a concern for many states, and 36 states passed some kind of legislation to improve school leadership in 2018. But the six districts that the study focused on—Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (Atlanta area); Hillsborough County, Fla. (Tampa area); New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md. (Washington, D.C., metro area)—all addressed reforming principal leadership using principal pipelines. The pipeline refers to four, mutually reinforcing components the districts put into place&#58; rigorous standards that spell out what their principals need to know and do; high-quality pre-service training for aspiring principals; selective hiring and placement; and well-aligned on-the-job support and evaluation of principals, especially newcomers to the job.</p><p>In addition, pipeline districts invested in system supports, such as a maintaining a “leader-tracking” database of updated information on both current and possible future school leaders and reshaping the principal supervisor role to bolster on-the-ground support of principals. </p><p>Within this framework, flexibility is key, Wilde said, and each study district adapted the pipeline components to their own needs. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">On the ground in Tennessee</h3><p> When it comes to training and hiring school leaders, the state of Tennessee—though not one of the six districts in the pipeline initiative—was all in on developing a program based on the four principal pipeline criteria. In 2017, the state awarded $1 million in <u><a href="https&#58;//www.tn.gov/education/news/2017/8/1/tdoe-awards-over-1-million-to-support-school-leader-development.html">Principal Pipeline Partnership</a></u> grants under ESSA’s Title II, Part A, funds, designed to help schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality. The provision allows states to set aside 3 percent of Title II funding for state-level activities supporting principals and other school leaders. Tennessee used the money to help create comprehensive leader training programs, becoming one of the first states to do so. The grants, given to partnerships between districts and universities, businesses or nonprofits, were distributed by the newly formed Tennessee Transformational Leadership Alliance (TTLA). TTLA managed the competitive application and awarding process, giving priority to partnerships that had a four-year plan for either a new or improved model for principal improvement. </p><p>Fleming, the former assistant commissioner who led the state’s leadership development initiative, said that when building Tennessee’s pipeline, the state chose to lean in on four areas specifically&#58; aligning principal preparation programs to the state’s leadership principal standards with a focus on equity; building high-quality residency experiences into the programs; providing bridge support for participants after they complete a program but before they are hired as a principal; and ensuring appropriate induction for new leaders.</p><p>The TTLA helped scale the pipeline across the state through nine regional preparation programs, helping districts maintain a focus on aligning training with the state leadership standards throughout training. Tennessee also developed a statewide evaluation model for school leaders to ensure that, once they began their jobs, principals were meeting standards and using their training in such areas as providing culturally responsive and equitable practices for their students and families. </p><p>Additionally, Tennessee created a principal residency, a semester-long mentorship program in which aspiring leaders work with an on-the-job principal, not only shadowing and learning from a leader, but also getting to participate hands-on in day-to-day work. And for assistant principals, the state offers the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership, which brings together a cohort of 25 aspiring leaders and focuses on training for leadership. </p><p>Fleming stressed that in order to be effective, the leader pipeline shouldn’t be considered just another program or an add-on to what states are already doing. Creating a pipeline to train and support great leaders is a cohesive approach that should influence the entire way of thinking about developing future school leaders, from establishing principal standards to finding a great fit between principal and school. <br> <br> <img alt="Tennesseegroup.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Panel-Highlights-Role-of-States-in-Developing-Effective-Principals/Tennesseegroup.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"> Tennessee's Governor's Academy of School Leadership cohort, a partnership between the Governor's office, Vanderbilt University, the Department of Education and local districts. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> The path ahead </h3> Even with the positive study results, Wilde and Fleming both said that building and maintaining the pipelines are not without their challenges. One of the biggest challenges, Fleming said, is the changing nature of the principal’s job itself. “Principals were once responsible for books, boilers and buses, then it moved to an instructional leadership mindset,” Fleming said. “Now the shift that’s occurred, to reach every student and every teacher, is you have to be a shared instructional leader.” That alone, he said, is a great reason for more and better training. <p>&#160;</p><p>There’s also an urgent need for a more diverse body of leaders. In Tennessee, for example, 40 percent of school children are students of color, while only 20 percent of leaders are. The state found, positively, that prospective leaders trained through the TTLA pipeline were more diverse than the state average. When adopting a principal pipeline, “The state can be very deliberate to build that into the application,” Fleming said. “How are you addressing the identification, selection and retention of diverse candidates—race, gender, culture—into the program?” </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Lessons for other states </h3><p> The presentation and research gave some officials from states that don’t currently have a principal pipeline something to think about. Sydnee Dickson, superintendent of public instruction in Utah, said that local schools and districts in her state are engaged with leadership strategies that start with their own teachers. But she’s interested in creating a more integrated system. “What I liked about the research is that it shows how investing can get a sustainable return—instead of just one and done, ‘hey, we did this initiative,’ versus this very integrated, systemic approach to leadership.” </p><p>The integrated, systematic approach to school leadership is one of the keys to the pipeline’s success. Fleming said that he hoped that other states would follow Tennessee’s lead and “build into the DNA of the district principal leadership that is consistent as a foundational element of success.” And even though pipelines face the inevitable challenges, the researchers and Fleming agree that, after seeing the pipelines in action on the road to school improvement, the challenges are well worth it.</p> Holly Korbey1012019-09-10T04:00:00ZYour 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.9/10/2019 1:45:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Panel Highlights Role of States in Developing Effective Principals At the National Conference of State Legislatures, a look 884https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Long and Winding Road to Better Principal Preparation4280GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>From 2001 to 2010, following more than a decade of Wallace-supported research and experience learning what makes for effective school leaders, we helped support a handful of districts and states seeking to improve pre-service training and support for new principals. As part of that effort we worked with the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CESP) at Illinois State University to help create a new model for statewide principal preparation. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="professional-picture-copy2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/the-long-and-winding-road-to-better-principal-preparation/professional-picture-copy2.jpg" style="margin&#58;0px;width&#58;206px;" />Now a group of policy analysts from CESP <a href="https&#58;//www.routledge.com/Reforming-Principal-Preparation-at-the-State-Level-Perspectives-on-Policy/Hunt-Hood-Haller-Kincaid/p/book/9781138299221">has published a book</a> that chronicles the multiyear effort, showing how an unlikely alliance of Illinois school districts, universities, state education agencies, teachers unions, early childhood experts, business leaders and professional associations were knitted together to strengthen principal preparation through reform of state policy. The hope was to use the state’s oversight of university and other programs to ensure that principal preparation in Illinois reflected the research-based hallmarks of high-quality school leader training&#58; mutually beneficial school-university partnerships; selective admissions to preservice programs; course content aligned with national principal standards; and performance-based assessments tied to job-embedded internships.<br><br> We caught up with Erika Hunt, one of the book’s editors (along with Alicia Haller, Lisa Hood&#160;and Maureen Kincaid), to learn more about the book and the work that inspired it.&#160; </p><p> <strong>You were the narrator of what we at Wallace refer to as <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/series-shows-how-illinois-successfully-revamped-requirements-for-principal-preparation.aspx">“The Illinois Story,”</a> our four-part video series on the state’s bold changes in policy and practice. Can you give a brief overview of the story?</strong></p><p>The Illinois story is an example of a collaborative partnership that brought all stakeholders to the table to envision what principal training would look like if the student was at the center…if we tried to design programs around what schools need in order to strengthen teaching and learning for all of our students. We aligned this work to evidence-based research showing what kind of practices could produce these results. The work produced transformational policy changes in Illinois that have made a difference in our university preparation programs and are now making a difference in Illinois public schools.&#160; </p><p> <strong>That collaborative partnership is at the heart of your book as well. Why was it important to include so many different people and perspectives on the work? </strong></p><p>The work was all done in partnership. Our role was more of a facilitator bringing people to the table. We knew what the research said. We could point to a few effective preparation programs and district partnerships in the state, but we really didn’t have the answers. We had to bring all the different stakeholders and different voices to the table to try to figure out what would be the best strategy to do this work in Illinois. The policy development of this work took five years and involved so many people who all needed to be represented. The results have paid off because this is now in the water supply in Illinois. This is just the way we do things. We’re starting to see turnover of faculty in universities, but the new faculty don’t know any different. </p><p> <strong>In his introduction to the book, former education secretary Arne Duncan mentions the challenges and missed opportunities that were part of the ultimate path to success. Can you give an example of a challenge? </strong></p><p>When we first came to the table, policy change was a last resort. The first thing we wanted to do was try to incentivize universities to redesign their programs. A couple did, but when one university would raise its requirements, the principal candidates would just go down the street to the next university. The consumers of the program were choosing where to go based on convenience or ease. It was hard for us to get all universities to put in more rigorous requirements. </p><p>Our next approach was to go to the districts and say, “Can you push on universities to make these changes? Can you be a bigger voice?” Many of them were reluctant to do that. They would tell us behind closed doors that universities weren’t doing enough, but nobody wanted to vocalize that. </p><p>The last resort was the legislative approach, and it worked because everybody had to do it. I think some universities valued that it came through a policy change, because otherwise they might not have gotten the buy-in they needed. We did get pushback from some of the bigger universities that depended on enrollments for revenue. </p><p> <strong>How did you handle the pushback?</strong></p><p>We were able to show evidence. We created a website with minutes and documents from every meeting. We were able to show legislators all of the people who were giving voice to this and point to the research showing this wasn’t just anecdotal information or a trend. This change could make a positive impact on our schools.</p><p>Another challenge was in the first year of implementation. Universities did see their enrollments drop—and they needed to drop, because we committed to preparing only candidates who wanted to be principals and assistant principals. There were fears of shortages. Fears about what the candidates would look like when they came out. Then once the first candidates of these programs graduated and districts saw the difference, we started to get a lot more supporters. </p><p><img alt="New-book-CSEP-image2-640x425-2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/New-book-CSEP-image2-640x425-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;583px;" />&#160;</p><p> <strong>How do you think other practitioners and policymakers can make use of the lessons that you’ve all learned to help inform their own practices and policies?</strong></p><p>There are a lot of examples now of states doing this work. I don’t think others will need to take as much time and attention as we did because there is more of a common acceptance and understanding that leadership matters. The key, though, is to bring all of the stakeholders to the table. We were very instrumental in Illinois because it wasn’t done by one agency. We had the State Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education. We had the Governor’s Office. When you have agencies align to support an effort from the highest level, that says it’s a priority for the state. </p><p> <strong>Are there any of the essays that you would point to specifically if a state was not as evolved in its thinking yet?</strong></p><p>Probably the first two, because they show how we experienced so many challenges in the beginning. The first two chapters are all about grit. We did not give up every time we hit a roadblock but instead we would pause, regroup and then look for other opportunities or doors that would open. </p><p>That’s why we never felt like we could write the book ourselves, because the story had to be told by everybody who was at the table. The book doesn’t even catch everybody, but we wanted to make sure that people understood that any policy that brings different perspectives into it is just so much richer. It can bring you to a place that you didn’t initially anticipate. That’s also the way we should be thinking about supporting our schools now. </p><p> <em>*This interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p> <a href="https&#58;//education.illinoisstate.edu/csep/aboutus/faculty_staff/elhunt_bio.php">Erika Hunt is a senior policy analyst and researcher in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. </a> <br> <br></p>Wallace editorial team792019-08-20T04:00:00ZNew book shows how a coalition worked to strengthen Illinois policy about pre-service principal training8/20/2019 3:37:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Long and Winding Road to Better Principal Preparation New book shows how a coalition worked to strengthen Illinois 838https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
On-the-Job Support Helps New Principals Build Skills—and Confidence24097GP0|#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 districts that, with Wallace support, tested the pipeline idea. In the <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/effective-school-leaders-learn-how-to-solve-problems.aspx">first post</a>, we found out how <em>pre-service training had prepared a Georgia principal to improve the graduation rate at his high school. Today, we explore how on-the-job support helped a newcomer to the principalship in North Carolina gain the skills and confidence he needed to succeed.&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;</em></em></p><p>“We weren’t sure we wanted you here.” </p><p>“We didn’t think you would make it.” </p><p>Recalling these comments transports Mike Miliote back to 2010, when he was a novice principal at Matthews Elementary School in Matthews, N.C., about 12 miles from downtown Charlotte. With only 13 months under his belt as an assistant principal, Miliote had little administrative experience compared with other first-time principals—and his staff recognized it. In his first year on the job, Miliote avoided difficult conversations, he remembers. He also kept teachers out of the decision-making loop. </p><p>Even the best pre-service training can’t fully prepare new principals for the realities of their difficult and often lonely jobs. Yet in too many districts, novices are left to fend for themselves, an indication of “a longstanding ‘sink-or-swim’ mindset toward principals&#58; ‘You’re supposed to be a leader, so lead!,’” in the words of one <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-principal-mentoring-right.aspx">Wallace report</a>. </p><p>Fortunately, this was not the situation that Miliote encountered, as he found when he progressed through a multiyear induction program with other novice principals offered by his employer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The district started the program not only to help new principals sharpen their instructional leadership skills, but also to provide them with a network of peers they can lean on for support. “With a district approaching 180 schools, getting to know 10 to 20 other principals really well makes the district seem smaller and helps them feel more supported,” says Jevelyn Bonner-Reed, the district’s director of grant innovation.</p><p>For the first two years of the program, novice principals are paired with a high-performing veteran principal who mentors them during their transition into school leadership. In year three, principals study different leadership styles and how they apply to running a school at the Educational Leadership Institute at Queens University in Charlotte. They also take a time-management course to learn how to maximize their time spent on instructional leadership efforts.</p><p>The program culminates in the fourth year with a capstone project in which principals reflect on their leadership practice by interviewing their teachers and other staff members about what it’s like to work with them. The interviews “helped me gain an understanding of strengths and weaknesses from those I lead, regardless of how they perceived me,” Miliote says.&#160;His faculty members were candid, acknowledging their initial worries in comments like those above, but noted that he was now someone they wanted to stand behind.</p><p>Miliote credits the induction program for this transformation. As a principal, “you have to have confidence in yourself,” he says. “I don’t think I would have developed that without going through the program.” Miliote’s growth was reflected in the changes in how he carried out the job. He no longer ran away from conflict, instead encouraging staff members to tell him their concerns so they could find solutions together. He also started putting teachers in charge of school initiatives, something he would have never considered early on. </p><p>The students at Matthews turned out to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the collaborative working relationship between Miliote and his staff. The school’s academic achievement was just barely meeting growth expectations when he arrived. By the time he left in 2014, the school was exceeding it.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Miliote is now principal of Jay M. Robinson Middle School in Charlotte, which is also surpassing growth expectations under his leadership. In the future, he expects to take on an additional role&#58; Mentor to novice principals in the induction program. </p><p><em>Photo of Mike Miliote by Claire Holt</em></p>Jennifer Gill832019-07-23T04:00:00ZAn induction program guided a novice school leader through his early years on the job11/12/2019 10:02:10 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / On-the-Job Support Helps New Principals Build Skills—and Confidence An induction program guided a novice school leader 923https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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