Press Release
November 9, 2011

Mayor Emanuel, CPS Officials Announces Criteria for Principal Performance Designed to Increase Accountability and Drive Student Achievement

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined CPS officials today at a meeting for CPS Network Chiefs to announce new performance metrics the district has implemented to enhance accountability among principals and school leaders, with the goal of boosting student achievement district-wide.

“I’ve made it clear that one of my top priorities is that every child in this city has access to a world-class education, so that they can compete and win in a global economy,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “We need empowered principals, quality teachers and involved parents, and all must be accountable for our students’ success. “

Principals of both charter and traditional CPS schools will be measured based on performance in four key areas compared to the performance of similar schools or similar student groups during the 2011-2012 school year. The criteria allows for principals of low-performing schools to be recognized for making significant changes to how students are learning within their schools and how quickly they are catching up to critical academic benchmarks.

Elementary school principals will be evaluated based on growth in reading and math, improvement in college readiness and their effectiveness in closing the achievement gap. For high schools, principals will be evaluated based on growth in ninth grade achievement with an emphasis on measuring students’ ability to meet college readiness benchmarks in reading and math, 10th and 11th grade academic growth, improvement toward graduating students by lowering dropout rates, and ability to make strides in closing the achievement gap. 

“Principals set the core vision and values at work in their schools, and their leadership can transform the school community of teachers, parents and students to drive student academic success,” said Noemi Donoso, CPS Chief Education Officer. “The goal is to reward excellence and the contribution principals make in leading our entire district toward graduating every student ready for college and a career.”

In addition, the Mayor announced that the performance of Networks Chiefs, who are responsible for the oversight and collaborative vision of all principals within their elementary or high school networks, will also be measured based on criteria currently under development. 

Principals will receive awards of up to $20,000 for leading academic progress in their schools by significantly boosting student academic achievement and driving the district’s mission to graduate every CPS student college ready.  The awards are unrelated to the district’s contract with principals and funded through third-party sponsors to support this project.

Although criteria for elementary and high schools varies, comparisons will be made between similar groups of student and similar schools to gauge academic progress relative to their peers and to ensure that principals making great strides are rewarded for increasing student success.

This year, the elementary school criterion includes:

  • Growth in Reading: Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in reading growth (measured by value added on ISAT reading).
  • Growth in Math:  Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in math growth (measured by value added on ISAT math).
  • Improvement in College Readiness: Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in the growth of the percent of students meeting college readiness benchmarks on Grade 8 EXPLORE for both reading and math. Or, they must maintain 90% or more of students meeting college readiness benchmarks on Grade 8 EXPLORE for both reading and math.
  • Closing the Achievement Gap: Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in reading and math for more than 50% of the school’s subgroups in the percent of students improving by a performance level or staying at exceeds on ISAT reading and math.

High School criterion for performance includes:

  • Growth in 9th Grade: Schools must rank in the 95th percentile or above compared to schools with similar incoming scale scores in the change in average scale score growth from EXPLORE to PLAN reading and math.
  • Growth in 10th and 11th Grade: Schools must rank in the 95th percentile or above compared to schools with similar incoming scale scores in the change in average scale score growth from PLAN to ACT in reading and math.
  • Improvement toward Graduation: Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in the reduction of the one-year dropout rate for grade 9-12 students who had not dropped out in the previous two years. Or maintain a dropout rate for grade 9-12 students who had not dropped out in the previous two years that is less than or equal to 0.5%.
  • Closing the Achievement Gap: Schools must rank in the 75th percentile or above in the change in the average composite ACT scale score OR maintain an ACT score of 21 or above for more than 50% of the school’s subgroups.

After a review by a steering committee, awards will be offered on a sliding scale based on the number of criteria the principal accomplished within their school. Principals at schools achieving two of the criteria will receive $5,000; principals at schools achieving three of the criteria will receive $10,000; and principals at schools achieving all four of the criteria will receive $20,000. Awards will be distributed in October 2012.

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