Principal Pipeline Initiative
What we did
The initiative supported six large school districts as they sought to develop key components of strong principal pipelines. The components included rigorous job standards, high-quality pre-service training, selective hiring and placement, and apt on-the-job evaluation and support.
Research about the six-year, $85-million effort found that districts were able to build these components. Costs were affordable, averaging less than one percent (0.4 percent) of the districts' annual expenditures.
What we learned
Wallace commissioned Policy Studies Associates and the RAND Corporation to study how the districts built their pipelines and if those pipelines affected schools and students. To explore the effort's implementation, Policy Studies Associates used methods including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. To estimate pipeline effects, RAND compared changes in outcomes in schools in pipeline districts with new principals with changes in outcomes in similar non-pipeline district schools that also received a new principal.
Pipeline-district schools with newly placed principals outperformed comparison schools in other districts by more than 6 percentile points in reading and almost 3 percentile points in math. “We found no other comprehensive district-wide initiatives with demonstrated positive effects of this magnitude on achievement,” the researchers wrote.