Proposed requirements

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To become a principal

State Type 75 administrative certificate, which had been the sole requirement since the Chicago School Reform Act was passed in 1988.

At least 5 years of experience as a classroom teacher with ratings of satisfactory or above. (See Note 1 below.)

At least 3 years of administrative experience with ratings of excellent or superior. Qualifying positions are assistant principal, lead teacher with non-teaching responsibilities, disciplinarian, full-time counselor, attendance coordinator or programmer, central or regional administrator, college or university administrator and bilingual head teacher or bilingual coordinator. Other posts would be considered on a case-by-case basis. (See Note 1 below.)

A six-week unpaid internship with a principal who has applied and been accepted by the regional education officer and the Office of School Leadership Development as a “contract principal mentor.” This requirement would be waived for candidates from outside the Chicago public schools who have had two or more years of experience as a contract principal.

Following the internship, four days of New Principals Institute preparation courses, administered by the Office of School Leadership Development. Topics would include state and federal laws, union contracts, managing finances and creating a school improvement plan.

70 clock hours of coursework on topics such as staff evaluation, teacher conferencing and teacher remediation. This coursework could be completed at the Administrators Academy, or at an accredited university.

To remain a principal

At least 12 clock hours of state-mandated annual administrative coursework at an accredited university, which is currently required by the state.

Annual evaluation by local school councils, using “locally determined criteria.” (See Note 2 below.)

Annual evaluation by the regional education officer, using new forms and criteria being developed by the board. As part of the process, principals would have to submit portfolios including school documents and evidence of meeting board requirements and standards. (See Note 2 below.)

32 additional hours of “self-selected course work” at an accredited university. (See Note 3 below.)

Note 1: At CATALYST press time, Chief Education Officer Lynn St. James said these two requirements were being combined to read “six years combined experience,” with ratings of superior or excellent for the last two years.

Note 2: Disagreements between REOs and LSCs concerning principal contract renewal would be resolved by the School Reform Board of Trustees.

Note 3: St. James said principals would be given the option of attending professional conferences and workshops, so long as they are approved by their regional education officer, using board-supplied criteria.