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Mayor Emanuel, CPS, The Fund and The Schwartz Ward Family Foundation Launch New Principal Leadership Program

01 February 2018

The Master Principal Mentorship Program Pairs Experienced Principals with Newer Principals to Help Drive School Transformation

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Thursday, February 1, 2018

CHICAGO - Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools and The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund), in partnership with the Schwartz Ward Family Foundation, today announced the formation of the Master Principal Program, a mentorship program that pairs experienced principals with newer principals to provide hands-on support and guidance to help drive school improvement and provide experienced principals with additional leadership opportunities. This initiative is the latest addition to Chicago's innovative principal leadership model, which has gained widespread recognition for bolstering principal quality and driving academic gains. The Master Principal three-year grant was made possible by a generous donation of more than $600,000 from the Schwartz Ward Family Foundation.

“Principals are critical to driving the success of CPS. They provide mentorship to teachers and guidance to students, which is why they are the most qualified to support fellow principals,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By sharing the lessons they have learned throughout their careers, our students will continue to shatter more academic records.”

The Master Principal Program is a hands-on, formalized mentorship program designed to refine and develop the leadership skills of newer principals, while simultaneously empowering experienced principals with additional leadership opportunities and responsibilities. This highly selective program is designed to provide intensive, individualized mentoring that will help mentees strengthen school supports and structures and drive school improvement. Master Principals will spend at least one day a week at school with their mentee and participants will receive stipends for participation in the program. CPS will begin accepting applications this spring and will launch the first cohort this fall with three Master Principals. By School Year 2020-21, CPS will have 12 Master Principals working in the district.

“A strong principal is the hallmark of a great school, which is why we’re launching this program to cultivate the skills of emerging leaders and empower experienced, high-performing principals with additional leadership opportunities,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “As a former principal, I understand how important it is to have someone experienced in your corner, and this formalized program will provide newer principals with unparalleled guidance as they navigate the complexities of school leadership. We are grateful for the support from the Schwartz Ward Foundation and The Fund to be able to execute this innovative program.”

“Our family is thrilled to support Chicago Public Schools’ efforts to develop strong leaders that transform schools and communities,” said Tracy Ward, Executive Director of the Schwartz Ward Family Foundation and Principal at Schwartz Capital Group, an organization co-led by her and her brother, Todd Schwartz, and father, Ted Schwartz, a proud alumnus of Lane Technical High School. “This unique program will support and empower principals at all levels and accelerate the academic gains being made district-wide.”

To serve as a Master Principal, school leaders must have at least five years of experience as a CPS principal and lead a school with a Level 1+ school rating, positive school climate indicators, and strong systems and structures, among other requirements. The role also requires the Master Principal to have a deep knowledge of leadership development and a proven record of success.

Principals interested in participating in the program as mentees must be newer principals who have expressed interest in refining their leadership skills and working one-on-one with a more experienced principal to drive improvement in a challenging environment. In order to guide and inform the program components, CPS enlisted the help of Kenwood Principal Greg Jones and Corliss Principal Ali Muhammad earlier this school year to trial the partnership arrangement and provide feedback to help refine program elements.

The Master Principal Program is the latest addition to the city’s vanguard principal leadership programs: the Independent Schools Principals (ISP), the Chicago Principals Fellowship and the Cahn Fellowship, which together help develop professional capacity and allow the city’s top education leaders to drive success at the school level. The principal fellowship programs and ISP network have supported more than 100 principals over four years.

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.