Chicago Public Schools Celebrates National Principals Month
02 October 2023
District Expands Engagement and Development Programs that Serve to Empower Principals
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is celebrating the start of National Principals Month by highlighting the critical efforts made by principals across the District. Every October, the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) come together to recognize principals and their contributions to public education. This year, the Illinois Principals Association (IPA) will celebrate Principal Appreciation Week from October 15 through October 21, with official Principal Appreciation Day celebrations taking place on October 20. CPS joins schools across the country in recognizing the comprehensive role that principals play in supporting students, families, and educators.
“Empowering our principals is fundamental to our commitment to serving every CPS student and ensuring they receive the best academic, social, and emotional support possible,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “I am proud to honor and elevate the talented individuals who have chosen to dedicate so much to serving their school communities. CPS principals are some of the most talented and dedicated people I have had the pleasure of working with, and I want to express my deepest gratitude for the work that they do every day.”
In partnership with the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA), CPS works to uplift and support the important work principals do every day to provide an equitable and high-quality education to students in every part of Chicago. With the support of CPAA, Chicago Public Education Fund, university partners, and other community partners, CPS is strengthening recruitment, support, and retention in our principal pipeline by investing in new and expanded developmental opportunities, such as the Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC), Aspiring Assistant Principals Institute, and New Principals Institute 1.0 and 2.0. Through principal development programs like CLC, the District is developing, attracting and retaining high-quality, diverse principals and assistant principals, outpacing national trends with 69 percent of CPS principals identifying as female, compared to 54 percent nationwide. Principals in CPS are also more racially and ethnically diverse than the national average, among urban school districts.
CPS is fortunate to have over 1,000 dedicated principals and assistant principals leading schools across the District. In recognizing the immense value these leaders bring, CPS is focused on making intentional investments and strategies to engage and support school leaders. This includes:
- Monthly Engagement Calls. These calls are designed to engage directly with principals and to share important, District-wide updates to principals first as well as provide an opportunity for principals to provide input and share successes and challenges.
- Network Advisory Committees. These committees provide opportunities for principals to engage with Network leadership, participate in professional development, and connect with colleagues from throughout the District.
- The Department of Principal Quality. CPS’ Department of Principal Quality (DPQ) provides support for aspiring and current school leaders. Through professional development and engagement opportunities, DPQ is dedicated to the mission of identifying, developing, and supporting all school leaders in CPS.
- The Principal Advisory Council. Recently re-established, this council serves as a forum for direct communication and collaboration between CPS principals and District leadership.
“I know from experience how many hats our CPS principals wear,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova. “Principals are curriculum experts charged with successfully implementing our Instructional Core and they serve as trusted partners to our families, building bridges between our schools and the community. They set the emotional tone for our schools, creating climates where every child feels welcomed, valued, and supported, and where a student’s social and emotional needs are prioritized alongside their academic growth. I am committed to ensuring that our school leaders feel supported and empowered to fulfill our mission of creating a more just and equitable school District.”
CPS is partnering with several organizations to coordinate events across the District during National Principals Month. These events include:
- The Chicago Public Education Fund’s Chicago Bulls Principal Appreciation Night on Tuesday, October 12
- The Chicago Public Education Fund’s Principal Storytelling Event, taking place at the Field Museum on Thursday, October 19
Coinciding with the annual celebration of National Principals Month, CPS highlights Principal Game Changers from across the District. These principals are selected for their network leadership and their embodiment of the District’s core values. They stand out for their dedication, selflessness, and transformational leadership. These principals were featured in the latest meeting of the CPS Administrators’ Summit in August 2023, and they will be featured in the upcoming Fall issue of CPS’ School Leader Magazine.