News and Media

“Bret Harte Principal to Receive Fellowship”

Written by Allison Matyus
Originally published by the Hyde Park Herald 
September 2, 2015

Shenethe Parks, principal at Bret Harte Elementary School, has been chosen as one of 20 principals to participate in a professional development program.

“I am excited about the learning that’s ahead and am motivated by the opportunity,” Parks said.

The Chicago Public Education Fund, in partnership with Northwestern University, selected Parks to participate in a yearlong, prestigious development program designed to support and retain top-performing Chicago Public School (CPS) principals.

“Great principals can be tremendous catalysts for change in their schools,” said CPS Chief Education Officer, Janice K. Jackson in a written statement. “The Chicago Principals Fellowship is an important initiative to give the resources and supports they need to do their best work.”

The fellowship program chooses CPS principals with a proven track record of high performance. Chaula Gupta, vice president of program investment at the Chicago Public Education Fund, said educators with long ties to the community and the schools are also important in the decision-making process.

“Only 40 percent of principals are in their same role at four or five years and it’s a big loss to the system,” she said. “Through this program, we want to keep these established principals in the system.”

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“Northwestern faculty train Chicago Public Schools principals through program”

Written by Julia Jacobs, Reporter
November 11, 2014 

Northwestern is helping develop leadership skills in high-performing Chicago Public Schools principals through a one-year training program provided by NU faculty.

The Chicago Public Schools Principals Fellowship program’s first 21 participants, all CPS principals, will attend six days of training led by NU faculty, receive one-on-one coaching and have their leadership skills assessed by their colleagues, said Livingston Howard, who was part of the program design team. The first training session was held last month.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for Northwestern to have two schools partnering to have significant impact on the leadership of an important institution like the CPS,” Livingston Howard said.

The initiative also aims to increase retention of top principals by requiring that participants commit to CPS leadership roles for the next three years, said SESP Prof. James Spillane, key designer of the program. He said the program hopes to promote a desire to improve the school district.

“These fellows will not only think about their own schools, which of course is critical, but that they also begin to think about school leadership and management more broadly within the school system,” Spillane said.

The Fellowship program is financed by the Chicago Public Education Fund, which has provided $500,000, as well as the Crown Family. Former University President Henry Bienen first introduced the idea to NU faculty about a year ago after it was discussed between CPS and the Chicago Board of Education, Spillane said.

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“Northwestern University To Give Chicago Principals Leadership Training”

Originally published by iSchoolGuide
November 10, 2014

The Northern University faculty is set to provide Chicago Public Schools’ top educators with leadership training and executive coaching.

Supported by the Crown Family and the Chicago Public Education Fund, the ‘Chicago Public Schools Principal Fellowship’ is a three-year partnership between Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern’s Center for Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management and School of Education and Social Policy.

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Panel Discussion – Innovative Leadership: Creating 21st Century Schools

At The Fund’s Fall Meeting and School Site Visit on October 7, 2014, a panel of four high-performing principals addressed the question: “What supports do principals need to lead their team toward whole-school innovation?”

While innovation is increasingly discussed among educators, funders and pundits as a path toward dramatically improving our schools, a general lack of experience with actual school-based innovation exists. Many of those who talk most about the power of innovation fail to describe simply or concretely what is different in terms of how teachers teach, how students learn and how administrators manage a school.

In this panel discussion, we aimed to define innovation in real terms, through the eyes of the principals and teachers leading the work. Principals on the edge of innovation in Chicago described their successes and challenges in:

– Setting a vision that enables more, deeper and faster learning for all;

– Empowering teachers and the school community to innovate in pursuit of that vision; and

– Marshaling resources to support both the vision and the team implementing it.

Through the personal experiences of four members of The Fund’s Innovative Educator Network, including Fellows Mary Beth Cunat and D’Andre Weaver, the panel identified the supports schools need most in order to maximize the potential of innovation in education, and the role that funders and strategic partners can play.