Six urban school districts received support from The Wallace Foundation to address the critical challenge of supplying schools with effective principals. The experiences of these districts may point the way to steps other districts might take toward this same goal. Since 2011, the districts have participated in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, which set forth a comprehensive strategy for strengthening school leadership in four interrelated domains of district policy and practice:
- Leader standards to which sites align job descriptions, preparation, selection, evaluation, and support.
- Preservice preparation that includes selective admissions to high-quality programs.
- Selective hiring, and placement based on a match between the candidate and the school.
- On-the-job evaluation and support addressing the capacity to improve teaching and learning, with support focused on needs identified by evaluation.
The initiative also brought the expectation that district policies and practices related to school leaders would build the district's capacity to advance its educational priorities. The evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative has a dual purpose: to analyze the processes of implementing the required components in the participating districts from 2011 through 2015; and then to assess the results achieved in schools led by principals whose experiences in standards-based preparation, hiring, evaluation, and support have been consistent with the initiative's requirements. This report addresses implementation of all components of the initiative as of 2014, viewing implementation in the context of districts' aims, constraints, and capacity.