Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Reward High Performing Principals Who Achieved Exceptional Student Outcomes 

134 Principals From Across the District Recognized In Second Year of Principal Quality Initiative for Helping Raise Student Achievement at their Schools


August 22, 2013


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett today recognized 134 exceptional principals from across the District for their work in boosting academic growth among their students and building school environments that drove student success during School Year 2012-2013. This was the second year in which CPS has recognized school leaders for the outstanding academic growth achieved by their students.


”When you listen to these principals talk, you understand that they are not driven by bonus pay, but by what they can help their students achieve, pure and simple,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “We just witnessed the largest single year growth in graduation rates in a decade – the best on the record books; record college enrollment rate, more freshmen on track to graduate than ever before; and more Gates Millennium Scholars than any school system in the country. These results don’t just happen; they are hard-won by our teachers in the classroom, parents in the home, and these incredible principals here today.”


Last school year, Mayor Emanuel and CPS launched the Principal Quality Initiative (PQI), a comprehensive leadership development system to support the District’s vision of providing every student in every neighborhood with an engaging, rigorous, well-rounded instructional program that will graduate them prepared for success in college, career and life. The Initiative is an all-encompassing leadership development system that is designed to fulfill the District’s goal of ensuring every school has a highly effective principal by School Year 2014-2015. The PQI supports the District through cultivating and developing talented principals, implementing a rigorous selection process, training and supporting new and incumbent principals, establishing performance standards and rewarding success.


“A great principal is key to a great school,” said CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett. “A well-rounded principal will support and develop great teachers and curriculum plans and in turn great teachers create a thriving school culture where students can succeed. I congratulate these 134 outstanding principals for their dedication to their students, teachers and school communities and thank them for their work to help lead our children on a path to a brighter future.”


This year’s principal bonuses were developed through rigorous outreach with key education stakeholders beginning in late 2012. CPS held six Principal Focus Groups with internal and external partners and engaged with more than 100 school leaders to establish the guiding principles for the Achievement Awards and provided feedback on Achievement Award measurements. To ensure alignment of expectations across the PQI, the performance awards are aligned with the principal evaluation measurements.


The principal performance awards are supported by donations from Chicago’s philanthropic community, with a total of $5 million designed to support awards over the course of five years. Principals were selected to receive achievement awards based on metrics developed over months of discussions with education leaders across Chicago.


Out of the 134 principals recognized this year, 128 are elementary school principals and 6 are high school principals. Achievement factors for high school principals included student college readiness, improvement in graduation rate, decreasing the achievement gap among students, improvement in freshman on-track measure and growth in student test scores. Achievement factors for elementary school principals included growth in reading and math as measured by the MAP assessment, closing the achievement gap and individual student growth achievement. Achievement was determined based on the student growth that was demonstrated among schools at similar levels and across the same grades (for instance, student growth at the high school level was not compared with student growth at the elementary school level). CPS will continue to communicate with our stakeholders and school leaders to ensure these measures are current, accurate and fair indicators of success.


During the 12-13 school year, our Principals demonstrated tremendous growth, which allowed CPS to expand the award recipients from 82 in SY11-12 to 134 in SY12-13. Awardees this year include:

  • 6 principals achieving the $20,000 Bonus Award
  • 75 principals achieving the $10,000 Bonus Award
  • 53 principals achieving the $5,000 Bonus Award
  • 13 principals are from Welcoming Schools
  • 9 principals are from elementary and high school charters
  • 7 principals are from elementary AUSL schools
  • 2 principals are from military high schools
  • Approximately half of last year’s recipients were also recipients this year


There are three levels of achievement awards: demonstrated student growth in two of the four factors merited an award of $5,000; demonstrated student growth in three of the four factors merited an award of $10,000; and demonstrated student growth across the board, in all four factors, merited an award of $20,000.


“As a former principal, I understand the challenges school leaders face every day and the hard work it takes to support teachers, staff and students in each and every room of their buildings,” added CEO Byrd-Bennett. “Achievements at every level should be recognized, and I am proud that our city is leading innovators in developing, selecting, supporting, evaluating and rewarding principals.”

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 Thursday, August 22, 2013