Critical Competencies for Chicago Public School Principals

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1. Visionary Leadership/Change Management

Articulates a strategy or mission for the school; communicates this vision to stakeholders using various means of communication (e.g., personal conversation, symbols, ceremonies, etc.); develops a workable plan to achieve the school mission; involves stakeholders in shaping and meeting appropriate school goals; demonstrates and models desired values and behaviors.

2. Educational/Curriculum Leadership

Applies theories of learning to the design and implementation of curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities to foster student academic achievement; possesses and applies a broad base of knowledge about curricula subject matter, technology, and/or new methods of teaching; recognizes achievements of students and staff; encourages and facilitates staff development activities that contribute to student achievement goals; supports and facilitates effective classroom interaction among students and teachers.

3. Administrative Skills

Manages school resources (e.g., budget, staff) effectively and responsibly; uses knowledge of relevant policies, procedures, and regulations (e.g., teacher’s union contract, Board of Education policies) to make decisions within given parameters; ensures the safe and efficient operation of the school.

4. Prioritizing, Planning, and Organizing

Schedules own work and others’ to make appropriate use of resources; delegates effectively; assigns appropriate priorities to issues; manages time and key steps in projects.

5. Influencing/Motivating

Influences others to adopt values and accept ownership of goals; empowers and motivates individuals and groups to improve performance.

6. Community Awareness/Involvement

Engages parents in the educational mission of the school; maintains visibility and involvement in the larger community via an articulated program of public relations; develops and maintains positive relationships with community leaders; initiates contact with business, political, religious, and service organizations in the community; secures available community resources to contribute to achievement of school goals; integrates school programs with available community services; communicates regularly with parents and other involved constituencies; helps community members or groups use school resources when consistent with school policy and student programs.

7. Results Orientation

Sets concrete, measurable, and appropriate goals; develops realistic and workable plans for goal achievement; tracks achievement of goals; responds with appropriate level of urgency to slippage of goals; provides timely and accurate feedback to others (staff and students) based on attainment of goals; recognizes when a decision is required; acts decisively and assumes responsibility for actions.

8. Interpersonal Skills

Creates a nurturing environment for children (i.e., a “child-centered” school); interacts effectively with diverse constituencies; responds appropriately to the values, goals, and agendas of diverse constituencies; communicates an understanding of and appreciation for the values of diverse groups; perceives the needs and concerns of adults and children accurately; deals with adults and children tactfully in situations involving stress or conflict.

9. Communication Skills

Expresses ideas clearly both verbally and in writing; adapts communication style to meet the needs of different audiences.