Researchers praise CPS teacher, principal hiring; some areas still need work

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A year ago, Timothy Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, said CPS needed to be more strategic in how teachers are hired into the system and how to keep them once they were there.

Late hiring, for instance, was causing the city to lose good teacher candidates to other school districts. Sometimes, CPS teaching positions were offered as late as July or even August. Daly suggested school officials nudge principals to hire teachers sooner.

A year ago, Timothy Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, said CPS needed to be more strategic in how teachers are hired into the system and how to keep them once they were there.  (See September 2007 Q&A.)

Late hiring, for instance, was causing the city to lose good teacher candidates to other school districts. Sometimes, CPS teaching positions were offered as late as July or even August. Daly suggested school officials nudge principals to hire teachers sooner.

It appears those suggestions were taken to heart. In a study released last week by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the report shined a light on Chicago and six other school districts for showing promise in recruiting and hiring principals and teachers.

Here, teachers are being asked to submit their retirement intentions by April 1, so principals have a better handle on how many positions they have to fill. The district is also offering schools financial incentives for hiring teachers early—some $200 to $300 per teacher if they’re brought on board before the summer.

Chicago also received kudos for supporting alternative paths to train and recruit new principals and teachers. But the report also pointed out areas that the district needs to work on.

For one, the study points out that the myriad of professional development training is not aligned to a common vision of good teaching. Teachers who are in the district’s pay-for-performance program (REAL) participate in professional training programs, but what they learn is different than what is taught to new teachers in the district’s induction program, or teachers who come up the ranks via Teach for America or The Academy of Urban School Leadership. The push to increase the number of National Board-certified teachers yields yet another twist on training.

According to the report, Chicago could also stand to improve in several other areas.

  • Sharing best practices from schools that have been given more autonomy to experiment (AMPS) with other district schools; and learning from the experiences of turnaround schools.
  • Creating evaluation models for assistant principals and instruction coaches who are potential future principals.
  • Figuring out how to better train and engage local school councils in the district’s strategies around hiring principals.

The report was co-authored by researcher Allan Odden, an expert in teacher compensation, and James Kelly, the founding president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Besides Chicago, six other districts were examined, including Boston, FairfaxCounty, Long Beach, and New York City.