"The federal drive to improve the nation's lowest-performing schools has created a surge in demand for principals trained and experienced in leading long-struggling schools to success. The scarcity of the so-called 'turnaround principal' has led more urban districts to get involved directly with local colleges of education and other training programs, according to a study released Wednesday by the Wallace Foundation.
Researchers from the Boston-based Education Development Center, Inc. analyzed leadership training in eight cities which had received Wallace Foundation grants to experiment with principal preparation: Boston; Chicago; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Jefferson County, Ky.; Providence, R.I.; St. Louis; Springfield, Ill.; and Springfield, Mass.
At minimum, most of the districts changed their hiring criteria for school leaders assigned to work in struggling schools. Districts required these principals to have more explicit understanding of school and district systems and procedures, as well as internships in difficult schools.
'I don't think districts realized how big a contribution they make just by having those positions become transparent,' said Cheryl L. King, a co-author and the EDC's director of leadership for learning innovation. 'The more we can know about that job and what it entails, the better we will be at preparing candidates to step into those shoes.'Districts Take Bigger Role in Preparing New School Leaders