Illinois looks to Arkansas for principal quality effort

Print More

State educators are looking to create a master credential for principals, similar to what national board certification is for teachers.

The Illinois Principals Association is talking to education leaders inArkansas about a master principals program that was established there and signed into law in 2003. The Master Principal Program, a voluntary, three-year program was championed by a state senator who wanted to create incentives for talented principals to work in struggling schools.

State educators are looking to create a master credential for principals, similar to what national board certification is for teachers.

The Illinois Principals Association is talking to education leaders inArkansas about a master principals program that was established there and signed into law in 2003.  The Master Principal Program, a voluntary, three-year program was championed by a state senator who wanted to create incentives for talented principals to work in struggling schools.

Principals who earn master status receive an annual $9,000 bonus for five years. If master principals accept a post at a high-needs school, they get $25,000 a year for five years.

To complete the program, principals go back to school to boost their own knowledge and leadership skills around raising student achievement. Candidates must also create an academic improvement plan for their schools, and then show evidence that their plan increased student achievement.

So far, six Arkansas principals have been certified; 76 more are in the pipeline to receive master status.

The Chicago Public Education Fund, which launched a new fundraising campaign this year, is focused on compensating leadership talent and would like to see a similar program here.  “Arkansas has this on a smaller scale,” says Janet Knupp, president of the fund.  “I’d like to see us be one of the first cities to do this in a more significant way.”