Waves of principal retirements have hit Chicago Public Schools in
recent years, with no letup in sight. More than 100 principals are
expected to retire at the end of this school year, and more are
expected in 2011. These retirement waves have swept in a crop of new
principals who are enthusiastic about their jobs, committed to
education—and are not likely to stay at their schools for the long
Stable leadership is essential for school improvement, but consider
this: Since 2000, 61 percent of the lowest-performing schools have had
three or more principals. CPS is searching for strategies to recruit
and support the new wave of rookies, who are more likely to land at
these tough schools.
A typical work week is 60 hours, but community ties and the chance to make a difference for kids keep a Pilsen principal on the job
The district plans more training to help prospective school leaders.
Since January 2009, principal candidates have had to pass a
multiple-choice “scenario exam” that gauges their ability to handle
real-life situations. Here is a sample question.
Sweeping changes aim to provide principal candidates with better
preparation but will make it harder to earn a principal’s endorsement.
Only in his late 20s, Adam Parrott-Sheffer is on the verge of
completing his principal internship and getting ready to take the helm
of his own school. Young, and willing to do things out of the box, like
wear fatigues to school for a day, he has a lot in common with many of
the new principals in CPS.
Graphic: Who are the newcomers
Graphic: Few veteran teachers
Graphic: Switching schools
Chart: Roadblocks to school success