Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson today announced the launch of the Independent Schools Principal (ISP) program, which will provide a select cohort of experienced, high-performing principals with less oversight and greater flexibility to innovate as they continue to educate students and operate their schools.
“We know we have incredibly talented principals at CPS and their leadership is what drives success throughout the schools,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Independent Schools Principal program recognizes principals who have achieved dramatic growth and grants them independence and flexibility to remain on the right track in providing students a world-class education that will prepare them to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”
Principals who have built strong operations within their schools, have leveraged the support of their community, have been in their role for at least three years and have achieved “Proficient or Distinguished” ratings on their Practice Evaluations during School Years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 are invited to apply. Twenty-five of these principals will be selected to participate in ISP for the 2015-16 school year.
Participating principals will be exempt from Network oversight and evaluation by Network Chiefs, and will be 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 our best leaders to focus more time on their schools and their students, and not on red tape.”
ISP will provide participating principals with an additional avenue to learn from their peers and national experts, and will have the opportunity to share their own innovative, effective practices with a broader audience. As they refine this model, Independent Schools 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.
“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 I know that will translate into a better educational experience for our students in the years to come.”
ISP principals will participate in pilot research through interview 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.
Principals’ ISP status is conditional upon educational improvements. ISP status is conferred upon a principal, not a school, so principal leadership transitions trigger an automatic loss of Independent status for the school.
CPS officials will invite qualified principals to begin the application process and 25 principals will be selected for the upcoming school year. CPS will consider expanding the program based on the success of the inaugural cohort.