By Ashley Idrees
The role of the principal is at the forefront of school transformation.
Research shows school leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors that affect student outcomes.
Leadership is vital to the success of a school. A lack of strong school leaders makes it difficult to recruit and retain effective teachers, and leads to many teachers leaving the profession.
Since 201l, The Wallace Foundation has invested in and works closely with six large urban school districts throughout the nation to build and implement a robust principal pipeline.
Key components of this research-based principal pipeline have not only supported current leaders but also recruited leaders who have achieved substantial success. Six urban districts participate in this initiative: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md.
The Wallace Foundation recently released a six-episode podcast series in which principals, district and state leaders, and university officials share their experiences, trials and successes in the implementation of principal pipelines. The podcasts provide detailed experiences of the six districts during its implementation.
In addition to the valuable information for current and aspiring leaders, the series also discusses policy options of interest to state legislators. Below are state policy options listed with the corresponding podcast that culminates policy into action:
- Recruitment and retention of school leaders: Episode 1.
- Adopting strong job standards and improving hiring practices: Episode 2.
- University partnerships with school districts: Episode 3.
- Managing processes through mentorship: Episode 4.
- State implementation of the principal pipeline: Episode 5.
- Assistant principals and principal supervisors: Episode 6.
The range of topics included within this podcast series detail the complexity associated with school leadership. Through purposeful design, collaboration, and support, school districts are now able to recruit, retain and fully support principal leaders with research-based strategies that have been proven to work.
Ashley Idrees is a policy specialist in NCSL's Education program.