‘Principal pipeline’ project targets six major districts


Hugh E. Hattabaugh, interim superintendent of CMS, said in a statement that effective school leadership is a “critical factor in helping students learn and raising student achievement.”

CMS also has active partnerships with the national group New Leaders for New Schools, with Winthrop University, and with Queens University to train potential leaders. The district also uses internally developed programs to help find and train effective leaders, including principals, assistant principals, and teachers.

Over the next five years, Wallace will give each district $7.5 to $12.5 million to develop, hire, and support new school principals. The six districts also are required to contribute their own funding to the effort. Wallace’s grants are to account for two-thirds of the total investment; district funding is to make up the remaining third.

Wallace is launching the first phase of the initiative with $21.35 million, of which:

  • Up to $17 million will go toward strengthening efforts to build the pipeline in the six districts;
  • Up to $3.5 million will support independent research that will answer a number of important questions, including whether a strong pipeline results in student achievement gains; and
  • $850,000 will provide needed expertise and learning opportunities to the six districts.

See also:

What makes an effective school principal?

“We have … selected exemplary urban districts that are well on their way to putting in place the training and support necessary to have enough effective principals for all of their schools,” said Will Miller, president of the Wallace Foundation. “The crucial question these grants and the associated research will explore is: Can building a stronger principal pipeline improve teaching quality and student achievement district-wide?”

An answer to this question will provide education decision-makers with a key missing piece of the school reform puzzle. Research suggests that leadership is second only to teacher quality among school influences on student learning, but more needs to be known about whether efforts to improve leadership pay off for student achievement and whether these efforts can achieve results at the scale of an entire district.  If the results are positive, policy makers will know more about whether and how to invest in such improvements.

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