Study Finds That New Principals Can Boost Student Achievement — with a Little Help
April 8, 2019
By: Jill Barshay
Source: The Hechinger Report
One theory for how to improve schools begins not with teachers in the classroom but with the principals who hire and oversee them. To that end, the Wallace Foundation spent $85 million on a five-year project to improve school principals in six cities and large urban counties, from New York to Denver, beginning in 2011. (The Wallace Foundation is also among the funders of the The Hechinger Report.) Now, an analysis the foundation commissioned has found that these wide-ranging reforms in training, hiring, mentoring and reviewing the performance of principals tended to boost student achievement.
Reading achievement gains outpaced expectations in five of the six school districts that implemented the Wallace program. Math was better in three of the six districts. But in one district, which was not identified, the math performance of students deteriorated compared to similar schools in the state. Overall, the new principals in these districts were less likely to quit but retention varied a lot, from 100% to 63% after two years on the job.