Principal contracts to be tied to performance standards

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At a Tuesday morning meeting with school principals, schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said he plans to hold principals to strict standards as well as give them more flexibility.

At a Tuesday morning meeting with school principals, schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said he plans to hold principals to strict standards as well as give them more flexibility. 

Performance contracts are one of many changes that are in the works for principals. As outlined in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition plan, Brizard is expected to revamp principal eligibility, start a principal pipeline program and re-do the way principals are evaluated. 

Brizard, whose long-term contract is still being negotiated, said he also will have a performance contract. However, Brizard said he won’t be offered bonuses in return for meeting goals, and he hasn’t said he will have principals in a merit pay system.

In his former job, Brizard pushed for merit pay for teachers and has said he would like to change the way CPS teachers are compensated, but has yet to outline specifics.

The “performance contracts” will set specific goals for principals in areas such as student achievement, staff attendance, parent involvement, graduation rates, as well as “fiscal responsibility” and “effective school organization.” 

Though LSCs generally have the power to hire and fire principals, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said that Illinois law gives district administrators the authority to develop a set contract in consultation with the Chicago Prinicpals and Administrators Association.

“The LSCs may ask the principal to agree to additional performance requirements,,” Carroll noted. 

Already many local school councils include performance measures in their contracts with principals, according to principals.  

The performance contracts will come at the same Brizard also will take steps to implement a bill signed into law in January 2010. Starting in September 2012, principal evaluations must “use data and indicators on student growth as a significant factor in rating principal performance.”