The School Leadership Program (SLP), housed in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, provides grants to support the development, improvement and expansion of programs designed to provide high-need schools with high-quality leaders. In this edition of the SLP Highlights, we share how the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) used SLP funding to engage in an intensive review of its program for improvement purposes.
Specifically, SLP funding allowed UIC to enact the following changes through a program review process:
(1) Enhance the recruitment/selection and the quality of the student pool and disseminate information on these enhanced processes to the field
(2) Strengthen the pre and post residency learning experience and disseminate information on these enhanced approaches to the field
(3) Increase the rate of students graduating with a doctoral degree which in turn accelerates hiring into district leadership positions
The redesigned UIC program, enhanced by the SLP supported program improvement reviews, has yielded measurable results. The program has experienced a sharp increase in the number of program graduates: 84 since the start of the project versus only 12 in the first ten years of the doctoral program. In addition, UIC graduates have experienced a high level of success in the rigorous CPS eligibility assessment. For over a decade, CPS failed more than 60% of state certificate-holders who attempted the assessment. However, for the three years of the grant, 93% of UIC program completers who attempted the eligibility assessment were successful.
Furthermore, recent data show that high schools led by UIC principals improve attendance, freshman on-track, and graduation rates at levels that substantially exceed comparable CPS high schools. In 2014-17, UIC-led schools increased their CPS school quality rankings at all SQRP levels more often than CPS schools over a 3-year period.