Quality Leadership Matters Blog


New Wallace Foundation Study! Building a Stronger Principalship, Vol. 4: Evaluating and Supporting Principals

February 5th, 2016 by


The Wallace Foundation recently announced a new Policy Studies Associates study of the Wallace Principal Pipeline Initiative.  

This study is the fourth in a series of studies examining six districts’ experiences in The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a six-year effort designed to help these districts build larger pools of strong principals and then study the results. It explores the districts’ work to change their approach to principal performance evaluation so that it focuses on working with principals, especially novices, to grow into their jobs and concentrate on improving teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Specifically, the study focuses on how six districts revamped their approach to performance evaluation in the hope that new evaluation systems and procedures would “produce sound data and feedback that could be used to help novice principals succeed” rather than penalize them for shortcomings. The districts also sought to change the role of those who evaluate principals to focus more on guidance than regulatory compliance. The idea was to use job evaluations and evaluation procedures to promote a year-long, two-way discussion between principal supervisor and principal.  

The report describes a number of facets of how the districts sought to refine evaluation and support, including:

  • Using evaluation to help principals improve rather than to penalize them for shortcomings;
  • Emphasizing both student achievement and sound principal work practices in the performance assessments;
  • Encouraging regular conversations between principals and their supervisors; and
  • Shifting the focus of the principal supervisor job from overseeing compliance with regulations to helping principals succeed as “instructional leaders.”

Find the full study here: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/district-policy-and-practice/Pages/Building-a-Stronger-Principalship-Vol-4-Evaluating-and-Supporting-Principals.aspx

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