CPS Launches New Principal Evaluation System to Enhance School Leadership and Boost Student Growth 

New System Aligns with CPS’ Efforts to Build Accountability at Every Level of the District


January 17, 2013


 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today launched a first of its kind principal evaluation system that will build upon its efforts to incorporate accountability for student growth while providing support to help principals succeed as school leaders.


For the first time, the District will be comprehensively addressing principal quality throughout the system by using national benchmarks in how principal success is measured and matching accountability for student growth and achievement. The new system reflects CPS’ work towards creating an aligned evaluation system for all employees throughout the District.


“We are now applying accountability for student growth and achievement at all levels of our District from the CEO to our principals and teachers,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “This new system is squarely aligned with evaluations for our teachers, which is raising the bar in supporting school leaders in the work they do for our kids every day while holding them accountable for results.”


Over 100 school leaders participated in the development and review of the comprehensive and aligned evaluation process.


"Encouraging student achievement means maintaining high standards across the board – for our children, parents, teachers and principals. We expect every principal to be a dedicated leader and hold each of them responsible for creating an environment that fosters student success,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Since day one, my administration has worked to increase accountability, so we can realize the improvements and results that taxpayers demand. This new, comprehensive evaluation system supports and informs principals while holding them accountable for the growth and success of our children.”


Under the State’s Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), and similar to teacher evaluations, the principal evaluation system must be standards-based and include student growth indicators as well as professional practice ratings for all principals. The state law requires principal evaluation systems to include a minimum of 25 percent student growth this school year.


However, CPS’ system will hold student performance at a higher standard of 50 percent student growth measures with the remaining 50 percent based on principal practice. The student growth piece will be dependent upon on-track grade-level measures, graduation, attendance and drop-out rates, as well as some assessments.


Student growth measures include:

  • In elementary schools, measurement of student growth in reading and math at the beginning and end of the year from NWEA assessments
  • Ability to succeed in high school based on the grade 8 EXPLORE exam
  • High school growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year as measured by EPAS growth percentile
  • Growth among high-need student population groups, such as ELL and special education students, and closing achievement gaps
  • On-track measures based on attendance, grades and misconducts
  • An index the District that balances graduation rates, drop-out rates and attendance


Principal practice criteria include:

  • Championing teacher and staff excellence through continuous improvement
  • Building a culture focused on college and career readiness
  • Empowering and motivating families and the community to become engaged in their school
  • Creating powerful systems of professional learning
  •  Self-disciplined thinking
  • Establishing and leading a school toward its vision


Between February 15- March 15 and May 1- June 1, principals will receive two formal observations conducted by their Chief of Schools. Following the observations, feedback sessions will take place where information and evidence from those observations will be shared with principals. Principals will have the opportunity to set goals with their Chiefs before their first observation and also submit a self-assessment that will be used by the evaluator in their overall rating.


This year, the CPS Principal Achievement Award will be linked to principal evaluations and will reward and recognize principals who show significant student growth compared to national benchmarks for students who started at the same academic place as the students in their school.


In 2010, PERA was signed into law and required all schools in Illinois to change how teachers’ and principals’ performance is measured. PERA requires districts to design and implement performance evaluation systems that assess teachers’ and principals’ professional skills as well as incorporate measures of student growth.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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Page Last Modified on Friday, January 18, 2013