November 2, 2018 Blog, Fund Team Post

2018 Principal Engagement Survey Results

The Fund released its 2018 Principal Engagement Survey results on November 1, 2018. Below is the email Fund CEO Heather Y. Anichini sent to all Chicago principals explaining how The Fund is using the results to drive change for principals.

Dear Chicago principals,

Yesterday, The Chicago Public Education Fund released results from our annual Principal Engagement Survey, which was conducted in spring 2018. This year, 531 principals responded to our survey, representing 82 percent of all district and charter school principals leading in Chicago at that time. This is the highest-ever response rate for the survey, and we are grateful to many of you for participating.

Some of the highlights from this year’s survey include:

  • Overall satisfaction has risen. In 2018, 76 percent of principal respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied, up from 65 percent in 2017 and 69 percent in 2016.
  • Principals feel more motivated by the vision of CPS, AUSL and their charter school or network. 75 percent of principal respondents say the vision motivates them.
  • School funding, compliance burdens and access to quality professional development remain top concerns for principals.

In the year ahead, we remain committed to improving your experience as a principal in Chicago. To respond to your feedback in the survey, we decided to focus our efforts on areas that many of you said would keep you in role longer and where The Fund can have an impact. Specifically, we are working to:

  1. Increase access to quality professional development: We’ve expanded opportunities for the 2018-19 school year to support nearly 300 of you through our programs, all of which are informed by survey results. Over 60 percent of survey takers reported that principal-led professional development is most effective, which is why we more than doubled our Professional Learning Communities and now serve over 160 principals through that program.
  2. Identify compliance burdens and recommend reforms: Compliance has been a top principal concern for four years in a row. We are partnering with CPS to better understand the compliance burden and work with principals to learn more about the issues they face. We will offer principals a confidential opportunity to send us compliance requests they receive. We will publicly report on the frequency, redundancy and urgency of requests in August and in December 2019, with recommendations on changes that might help.
  3. Explore equitable school funding: We know there are resource constraints at the city, state and federal levels that create anxiety for principals and school communities. We will continue to advocate for more resources at the school level, and we will make equitable funding one of the two discussion areas for our Educator Advisory Committee for the 2018-19 school year. We will provide a venue for principals to discuss pain points and offer recommendations on how to improve the current approach.

Individual principal responses on all of these issues are anonymous – data are reported to The Fund, CPS and charter networks in aggregate. Even at the aggregate level, we believe this data is important and useful in planning work in schools. For that reason, we are encouraging other organizations to consider this summary information as they expand their programming or develop new, principal-focused resources. We hope that sharing this data brings more support for your work in Chicago. As part of our commitment to working through The Chicago Principal Partnership to equip stakeholders with actionable data, we have made this data available on The Partnership’s website, ChicagoPrincipals.org.

Your voice matters, and we thank you for trusting us to make it heard.

My best,

Heather