Principal program updates

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PENCUL

Partnership to Encourage the Next Century’s Urban Leaders

This public-private partnership, based at the Financial Research and Advisory Committee, provides consultants to LSCs that are choosing new principals. So far this school year, PENCUL has ushered 14 LSCs through the initial steps—five councils chose not to renew their principals contracts, and nine have principals who are retiring. PENCUL says it is aware of about 14 principals who plan to retire in June.

LSCs receiving help from PENCUL first set school improvement priorities and then match those priorities with nine key “competencies” PENCUL has identified in effective leaders.

“They were a really good organizing factor,” says Larry Murphy, Gray Elementary’s council chair. “If we had started on our own, we would have started with 100 [competencies].”

PENCUL also helps councils write interview questions and even role-play interviews. But “they don’t try to influence you in your principal selection,” Murphy notes. “They step out when you start talking about who you want to interview.”

PENCUL also runs an assessment center for aspiring principals who want to learn their strengths and weaknesses and market themselves to local school councils. Participants are invited to add their assessment results to a data bank, and LSCs may request reports on candidates that best match their hiring priorities. So far, 250 aspiring principals have gone through the assessment center, and another 25 are scheduled this spring. The database currently holds information on 180 candidates.

LAUNCH

Leadership Academy: An urban Network for Chicago

Eight of the 36 participants in this principal training program, based at Northwestern University, have had their board-paid internships extended from one semester to a full year at the request of their host principals, reports Albert Bertani of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. Seven of the eight are serving as associate principals in high schools on probation.

A number of other LAUNCH graduates have moved up the career ladder. The LSC at Clinton Elementary hired Teresa Moy, the assistant principal at Alcott Elementary, who served her LAUNCH internship as an associate at Corliss High.

In addition, six teachers who participated in LAUNCH have moved into administrative positions, and two assistant principals have moved to larger elementary schools, says Bertani.

Marie Leaner, vice-chair of the Jahn Elementary LSC, attended a job fair LAUNCH held in January for its “graduates. With LAUNCH,” she says, “you know what a person’s training and development is. [But] you could be an excellent candidate going through LAUNCH but not necessarily match the qualities we need in our school.”

Brian Cash, chair of Chappell Elementary LSC, says his council was looking for candidates with more experience. “It’s a fairly new group, and it seems their first lot of graduates doesn’t have any administrative experience. Our committee felt it was more important to have a track record. Maybe in another four years, we’ll be willing to look at LAUNCH more.”

Principal Review Board

Principal candidates must have their credentials, including board-required training, verified by the Principal Review Board (PRB), which is based at Roosevelt University. Excluding current principals, the PRB has approved 375 candidates, according to consultant Al Bennett.