At last week's "State of our Schools" speech, Superintendent Ann Clark mentioned how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is focusing on developing principals. A recent report from the Wallace Foundation gives some more specifics about what the district is doing.
CMS is one of a half-dozen districts across the country to receive grants from the foundation to work on their principal pipeline. They got $7.5 million over five years, beginning in 2011.
The report describes some of the programs CMS has set up. A few things they've done:
- Created a set of "super standards," or things they're looking for in a school leader. Take a look at an early version of them on pages four and five of this document. They were updated in 2014 to include these. District leaders also got together to come up with rubrics for grading principals on the metrics. For example, how would an aspiring principal demonstrate "belief in children"?
- Required principals to take a university preparation course. Before, principals were encouraged to complete one, but alternatives were allowed. Now, CMS told the Wallace Foundation, aspiring principals need to do one of these courses with Winthrop, Queens, UNC Charlotte or Wingate and the alternatives are being phased out.
- Tweaked the criteria for entering the principal "talent pool" from which CMS hires leaders. Changes have alternated between being more and less restrictive, and one person interviewed said CMS has yet to hit the "sweet spot."
- Created a five-year support program for new principals that begins with a "consultant coach" and ends with a capstone project with the McColl Center for Art and Innovation.
- Added an executive director of leadership development