Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson today announced the first 28 principals who will participate in the Independent Schools Principal (ISP) program, which allows experienced, high-performing principals to run their schools with less oversight from Central Office and greater flexibility to innovate as they operate their schools.
“Chicago Public Schools has incredibly talented principals and their leadership drives success throughout the district,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The first group of principals to be recognized for the Independent Schools Principal program have a track record of success in schools across the City and their creativity, professionalism and dedication to our students, teachers and parents will ensure we can meet our goal to provide all CPS students with a high quality education.”
Participating principals will be exempt from network oversight and evaluation by network chiefs, and granted greater flexibility with regard to professional learning content, budgeting and purchasing for their schools.
“CPS has made great strides in recent years and principals have played a key role in driving student performance, so it is critical the District continues to develop and retain our most effective school leaders,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “This is an opportunity for some or our strongest principals to focus more time on their schools and their students, and not on red tape.”
Principals who built strong operations within their schools, leveraged the support of their community, been in their role for at least three years and achieved “Proficient or Distinguished” ratings on their practice evaluations during School Years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 were invited to apply.
Principals’ ISP status is conditional upon educational improvements. ISP status is granted to a principal, not a school, so principal leadership transitions trigger an automatic loss of independent status for the school.
“The Independent Schools Principal program is not just about greater administrative flexibility -- it’s also an excellent opportunity for principals to participate in a professional learning community, to discuss what strategies are working best and to problem solve together,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice Jackson. “The practices and insights of our top principals will inform how we approach educational opportunities and challenges across the District and that will translate into a better educational experience for our students in the years to come.”
CPS officials invited qualified principals to begin the application process and originally planned for 25 principals to be selected for the upcoming school year, but added more principals based on the strength of the candidates. Ninety principals applied for the program.
Mayor Emanuel introduced the idea of independent schools earlier this year as part of a larger strategy to provide more autonomy to school principals and strengthen our schools.
ISP will provide participating principals with an additional avenue to learn from their peers and national experts, and principals will have the opportunity to share their own innovative, effective practices with a broader audience. As they refine this model, ISP will serve as “learning labs,” welcoming other educators and parents from across the city to learn more about delivering 21st Century learning opportunities that will advance the goals of college and career readiness for every student.
High-quality principals play a critical role in building and maintaining a thriving instructional and community culture for teachers and students; behind every great school is a great leader. While data suggests that principal effectiveness peaks in their fourth and fifth year, only 40 percent of CPS principals remain in their role after five years. Principals voiced that greater independence from CPS structures would incentivize them to remain in their positions. ISP will grant highly effective principals exactly what they have been asking for: greater autonomy.
ISP principals will participate in pilot research through interviews and surveys, and participate in external site visits and the regular sharing of effective practices. They relinquish access to CPS’ network support and professional development - with the exception of CPS-mandated trainings; ISP principals can continue to access school support centers.
“I am very excited to be part of the inaugural cohort of Independent Schools Principals and appreciate the opportunity to focus more of my energy on improving student performance,” said Mariel Laureano, principal at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. “The opportunity to learn from my peers and to continue to innovate will benefit me, my teachers, and our scholars.”
CPS officials announced the first group of ISP principals at the 2015 principal kick off event, which provides principals an opportunity to learn more about the vision of CPS new administration as well as help prepare for the new school year.
The selected principals are:
Bogdana Chkoumbova, Disney II Magnet Elementary
Chad Weiden, Edgebrook Elementary School
Kathleen Hagstrom, Walt Disney Magnet Elementary School
Jay Thompson, Henry D. Lloyd Elementary School
Mariel Laureano, Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science
Michael Boraz, Lincoln Park High School
Karime Asaf, Bernhard Moos Elementary School
Timothy Devine, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Alfonso Carmona, Robert Healy Elementary School
Joe Powers, William Jones College Preparatory High School
Tara Shelton, South Loop Elementary School
Deborah Clark, Mark Skinner Elementary School
Joyce Kenner, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Ginger Lumpkin, John Charles Haines Elementary School
Ruth Garcia, Emiliano Zapata Elementary Academy
Vicky Kleros, Manuel Perez Elementary School
Barton Dassinger, Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center ES
Okab Hassan, Ferdinand Peck Elementary School
Lennette Coleman, Ariel Elementary Community Academy
Dawn Caetta, John H. Kinzie Elementary School
Elizabeth Alvarez, John C. Dore Elementary School
Delena Little, Annie Keller Regional Gift Magnet School
Angela Sims, Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center
D'Andre Weaver, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy HS
Linda Moore, Burnham Elementary Inclusive Academy
Javier Arriola-Lopez, Rachel Carson Elementary School
Juan Ocon, Benito Juarez Community Academy High School
Lori Campbell, John Marshall Metropolitan High School