In late 2013, we raised $20 million with the goal of increasing the number of top principals in Chicago from 150 to 350 by 2018. Data indicate that while principal performance tends to increase through year four, only 56 percent of Chicago’s principals stay for the start of their fifth year.
To address this issue, our grantmaking strategy includes working to significantly improve the conditions in which principals lead schools, ultimately increasing the number of principals who remain in Chicago.
We have a long way to go: Despite high levels of general satisfaction reported in our annual Principal Engagement Surveys, principals overwhelmingly tell us that their jobs are simply unsustainable. More than 40 percent of top Chicago principals told us they plan to leave within the next three years of taking the survey; 20 percent in the next year.
To achieve our city’s shared goals for public school excellence, we must make Chicago the best city in America for school leadership. The next step on that path is keeping our top principals in their roles for longer. Equipped for the first time with details about what principals need, and with ideas on how we might work together to provide it, we believe this goal is within reach. Our support of two prestigious principal fellowships is one step toward ensuring that principals have opportunities to take their leadership to the next level.
If we are serious about providing world-class public schools for all of Chicago’s students, we must create an environment that allows our top leaders to learn, grow and stay.
By the Numbers
Principal Fellows Supported
Fellows Retained in Chicago Public Schools
Invested in Keeping Great Principals