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First-Year Principals in Urban School Districts

First-Year Principals in Urban School Districts: How Actions and Working Conditions Relate to Outcomes

Susan Burkhauser
Susan M. Gates
Laura S. Hamilton
Gina Schuyler Ikemoto
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 74
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  • Book Info
    First-Year Principals in Urban School Districts
    Book Description:

    Principals new to their school face a variety of challenges that can influence their likelihood of improving their schools’ performance and their likelihood of remaining the principal. The authors present research on first-year principals’ experiences, actions, working conditions, and outcomes. The research is intended to inform efforts to promote school improvement and principal retention.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7942-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Principals who are new to their school (first-year principals) are usually expected to improve or at least maintain prior levels of student achievement. In pursing this objective, first-year principals face a variety of potential challenges and opportunities, the nature of which vary by school and by district or CMO. First-year principals make decisions about how to allocate their time and what strategies to emphasize, and these decisions will influence principals’ likelihood of improving their school’s performance. A principal’s ability to overcome challenges and improve performance in that first year will likely influence whether he or she remains at the school....

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Background
    (pp. 1-6)

    When principals enter new positions, they face a range of settings or working conditions. Principals entering high-poverty schools in large, urban districts, for instance, are likely to encounter different challenges than those faced by principals leading more affluent schools in suburban districts. Once in place, principals make choices about what to focus on, which results in specific actions that they take to address the school’s challenges and goals. The ultimate student outcomes that a principal is able to achieve reflect not only the principal’s level of proficiency on various dimensions of leadership but also whether the principal chooses to focus...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Data Sources
    (pp. 7-24)

    This report draws on data that have been collected for a formative and summative evaluation of New Leaders being conducted by RAND.¹ We rely on three primary data sources: data from six major urban school districts on principal placements and student-level achievement that allow us to calculate school-level achievement gains, a web-based survey administered to principals in the spring of 2008, and a set of school case studies conducted during the 2008–2009 SY. In this chapter, we describe the data sources and methods for collecting and assembling these data.

    Each data source includes both principals who completed the New...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Experiences and Outcomes of First-Year Principals
    (pp. 25-46)

    In this chapter, we present findings from analyses addressing each research question. Where the analyses are more than just descriptive tabulations, we describe the analytical methods used.

    The first set of analyses addresses the hypothesis that principal retention and survival is related to student achievement. To examine this question, we summarized the data for all first-year principals in the six districts. The patterns reported here are similar to retention patterns for the group of first-year principals who responded to the survey (which are not reported here).

    Our analysis indicates that many new principals leave their schools after one or two...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Conclusion
    (pp. 47-50)

    There is mounting research evidence showing that principals not new to their school perform more effectively than first-year principals. At the same time, evidence suggests that schools serving low-income children have a harder time retaining their principals and thus tend to have principals with less in-school experience. Effective policy solutions to this retention problem require a deeper understanding of its causes and the effects of principal turnover on schools. In this report, we examine several sources of qualitative and quantitative data to explore the experiences of newly placed principals. Our examination identifies some potential contributors to the retention challenges facing...

  13. References
    (pp. 51-54)