November 16, 2011
Chicago Public Schools officials presented to the Chicago Board of Education and the public today the contents of a Request for Proposal for organizations to provide a rigorous principal training program through CPS’s Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC). CPS also announced the formation of an advisory council of education experts who will help guide the CLC team as they roll-out the principal training programs and build professional development strategies for school leaders.
The Chicago Leadership Collaborative was formed in August as a principal training and support program designed to ensure that every school has a highly effective leader who can drive the change needed to improve student achievement and graduate every student college and career ready. CLC will recruit, train, support and retain effective principals, creating a pipeline of highly qualified and high skilled leaders to meet the district’s growing needs.
Under the new program, CPS will triple the number of residency program seats available to aspiring school leaders from 32 to 100. Nearly 75 percent of current CPS principals come from within the CPS system and the mission of CLC is to provide them not only with real-world training, but also mentoring and development to help them be successful.
“We need to give aspiring principals the training and hands-on experience they need to do the job well. And we need to prepare them for the unique challenges of our district in order to ensure that they are ready to lead change within their schools and drive student achievement,” said Jean-Claude Brizard, CPS Chief Executive Officer.
The program will offer aspiring principals coursework aligned with new leadership standards including: creating power instructional systems, championing teacher excellence, building and nurturing a staff culture of excellence, engineering and protecting a college and career ready culture, empowering and motivating families and communities, and relentlessly pursuing self-disciplined thinking and action. All of these standards work to help principals build a culture of learning within their schools that can help drive student achievement.
CPS aims to develop deeper and more interactive partnerships with prep program leaders to ensure principals are prepared to meet the new challenges the district faces of increasing student outcomes with increasingly limited funding. All Chicago Leadership Collaborative partners must apply through the RFP process to ensure that their programs align to the CPS core standards and provide candidates with the supports they need to be successful within high-needs schools throughout the district.
“Chicago’s investment in training and supporting outstanding school leaders is smart, timely and cost effective. With an effective leader, engaged parents, well supported teachers and a supportive school culture, children flourish,” Timothy Knowles, John Dewey Director, The Urban Education Institute.
Within the CLC program, aspiring principals will receive both instruction and mentoring to help them become effective instructional leaders that can support teachers and help drive student performance. For example, they will learn firsthand how to create time in the day for teachers to talk with each other and share best practices. Aspiring principals will learn the value to spending time within classrooms to identify best practices and determine areas where teachers need coaching, professional development and other supports.
During their residencies, aspiring principals will receive mentoring and coaching from high performing principals. By gaining real-world experience, aspiring principals will also learn how to create a positive school culture by effectively engaging with key stakeholders. By interacting with many different stakeholders---LSCs, parent groups, community organizations, teachers, staff, students and families---they will be better prepared to work with these groups as a new principal.
“Our end goal is to improve student achievement by giving our new principals the tools they need to succeed and supporting our existing principals in ways that help them improve student performance year after year,” Brizard added. “The best gift we can give a child is a great teacher and the best gift we can give a teacher is a great principal.”
CPS expects to determine partners by Spring 2012. Applicants would be recruited to begin a one-year program with one of several partners in June 2012. An application and screening process will explore each candidate’s education and professional abilities. Candidates will be eligible to enter CPS schools as new principals beginning in Fall 2013.
To ensure that CLC develops highly effective programs, CPS will monitor the effectiveness of the CLC partner organizations including ongoing monitoring of partner. The Chicago Leadership Collaborative will be operated by CPS and the $10 million program will be funded through a combination of philanthropic donations, grants and operational funding.
The national advisory council will act as strategic partners, contributing to the development of CLC principal training and professional development programs. In addition to attending three meetings per year, members will provide advice and support for CPS staff as they develop their work throughout the year. Members will serve for up to two years and provide a wide-range of educational expertise as CPS rolls out its new vision for supporting and developing school leaders. The council will consist of:
- Paul Bambrick – Santoyo, Managing Director of Uncommon Schools Newark
- Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota State Commissioner of Education
- Zipporah Hightower, Principal, Chicago Public Schools
- Dr. Mahalia Hines, Member CPS Board of Education
- April Gobel, Executive Director, KIPP Chicago
- Jason Leahy, Executive Director, Illinois Principals Association
- Dr. Don Shalvey, Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Dr. Warren Simmons, Executive Director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.