The study examined eight exemplary pre- and in-service principal development programs with evidence of producing strong outcomes. To understand how the programs operate and how they are funded, researchers interviewed program faculty and administrators, participants and graduates, district personnel, and other stakeholders. They reviewed program documents and observed meetings, courses, and workshops. Researchers also surveyed program participants and graduates about their preparation, practices, and attitudes, comparing their responses to those of a national random sample of principals. In addition, for each program, they observed graduates in their jobs as principals, interviewed and surveyed the teachers with whom they work, and examined data on school practices and achievement trends.
Study after study has shown that universities and districts fall short in preparing effective school leaders. This groundbreaking report describes the qualities of eight principal training programs that succeed in preparing strong instructional leaders. They include both university preparation and in-service leadership development. Researchers draw on these examples to show how districts, universities, and policymakers can make high-quality principal development the rule rather than the exception.
The eight principal programs produced outstanding results for their participants compared with principals in a national random sample. Researchers found a number of positive results for graduates of exemplary principal preparation programs, including that they:
Findings were similarly positive for those enrolled in exemplary on-the-job principal training.
A staggering 80 percent of superintendents and 69 percent of principals think that leadership training in schools of education is out of touch with the realities of today’s districts, according to a recent Public Agenda survey.
The report identifies many common elements in the most effective pre-service and in-service principal preparation programs. These include:
Exemplary principal programs had a number of supports. Among them: