A focus on high-quality principals in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) could serve as a best-practice model for districts across the nation, according to data indicating improved student performance and principal retention.
Over the past four years, as the number of strong principals in Chicago’s public schools has increased, so have student outcomes. District leaders have identified increases in both reading and math scores for elementary school students and have seen significant improvements in freshman on-track and graduation rates at the high school level.
“Principals are truly the instructional leaders of our schools and one of the key factors behind the improvements we’re seeing for all of Chicago’s public school students–improvements that are outpacing national averages,” said Dr. Janice Jackson, acting CEO of CPS, during a panel discussion on the district’s positive results. “We know that cultivating and retaining strong leaders is essential to our progress.”
Dr. LeViis Haney, currently in his sixth year as principal of Joseph Lovett Elementary in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, is an example of the difference a strong school leader can make.
(Next page: How one school dramatically improved its math and reading performance)