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The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action

October 1, 2016

Strong principals are central to improving schools—indeed, leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors that influence student achievement. Districts struggle, however, to develop a sufficient pool of highly capable principals. While research has identified strategies that are effective in preparing and supporting school leaders, few districts have pulled together a coherent set of strategies to form a pipeline to the principalship.Recognizing the need to improve the supply of high-quality principals, The Wallace Foundation launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI) in 2011. The goal was to test the proposition that districts could produce a large cadre of strong novice principals by making a concerted effort to implement a set of interrelated policies and practices, and that doing so would positively affect school outcomes. Participating districts focused on implementing four key components:■ Adopting standards of practice and performance to guide principal preparation, hiring, evaluation, and support■ Improving the quality of preservice preparation for principals■ Using selective hiring and placement practices to match principal candidates with schools■ Implementing on-the-job evaluation and support for novice principals (those in their first three years on the job)Six large districts received multi-year grants of $8.5 million to $13.25 million from the foundation to cover a portion of the start-up costs of developing a principal pipeline. The districts were selected partly because they had already adopted some policies and practices consistent with the PPI components. The foundation also provided technical assistance. The PPI sought not only to institute, grow, and sustain the key components within each participating district, but also to generate examples that other districts might follow.

Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline

January 21, 2015

Six urban school districts received support from The Wallace Foundation to address the critical challenge of supplying schools with effective principals. The experiences of these districts may point the way to steps other districts might take toward this same goal. Since 2011, the districts have participated in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, which set forth a comprehensive strategy for strengthening school leadership in four interrelated domains of district policy and practice:Leader standards to which sites align job descriptions, preparation, selection, evaluation, and support.Preservice preparation that includes selective admissions to high-quality programs.Selective hiring, and placement based on a match between the candidate and the school.On-the-job evaluation and support addressing the capacity to improve teaching and learning, with support focused on needs identified by evaluation.The initiative also brought the expectation that district policies and practices related to school leaders would build the district's capacity to advance its educational priorities. The evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative has a dual purpose: to analyze the processes of implementing the required components in the participating districts from 2011 through 2015; and then to assess the results achieved in schools led by principals whose experiences in standards-based preparation, hiring, evaluation, and support have been consistent with the initiative's requirements. This report addresses implementation of all components of the initiative as of 2014, viewing implementation in the context of districts' aims, constraints, and capacity.

Cultivating Talent through a Principal Pipeline

December 18, 2013

This report, the second in a series, describes early results of Wallace's Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multi-year effort to improve school leadership in six urban school districts. The report describes changes in the six districts' practices to recruit, train and support new principals. It also offers early lessons for other districts considering changes to their own principal pipelines.

Six Districts Begin the Principal Pipeline Initiative

July 8, 2013

This first report of an ongoing evaluation of The Wallace Foundation's Principal Pipeline Initiative describes the six participating school districts' plans and activities during the first year of their grants. The evaluation, conducted by Policy Studies Associates and the RAND Corporation, isintended to inform policy makers and practitioners about the process of carrying out new policies and practices for school leadership and about the results of investments in the Principal Pipeline Initiative. This report is based on collection and analysis of qualitative data, including the districts' proposals, work plans, and progress reports and semi-structured interviews in spring 2012 with 91 administrators employed by districts and their partner institutions. Leaders in all districts report wanting to enlarge their pools of strong applicants for principal positions and to identify and cultivate leadership talent as early as possible in educators' careers.Districts are actively working on allrequired pipeline components: (1) with stakeholder participation, they have developed standards and identified competencies for principals, which they plan to use to guide principal training, hiring, evaluation, and support; (2) they are initiating or strengthening partnerships with university training programs; (3) for hiring, they have standard performance tasks and are developing systems to capture data on candidates' experience; (4) they have diagnostic evaluation tools and are working to build the capacity of principals' supervisors and mentors to support principals' skill development. In addition, all are also bolstering district-run training programs for graduates of university training programs who aspire to become principals.