Five Years In: New Leaders Chicago

There's a lot of publicity surrounding this Oprah/Gates show, including some updated stats from the good folks at New Leaders New Schools, Chicago division (see below).  Apparently, the Gates folks have given lots of money to NLNS for
their efforts. It's all good, as they say.  And NL Chicago has some stars and
standouts (Jarvis Sanford at Dodge and Pat Bacillieri at South Loop, for example). 

As some of you may know, I've written several times about NLNS since they arrived,
including this piece in Catalyst (Chicago, NY welcome new breed of principals) and this piece in Education Next (The Waiting Game),one of the first and only partly critical pieces that's been published on them. 

Generally, I'm a big fan, but I don't like hearing about their big events after the fact (where was the Obama invite, folks?), and -- on a more serious note -- I'm still waiting for local councils, AIOs, and the Board to trust NL alums enough to put them in the toughest neighborhood schools so we can really see them shine. 

NLNS Press Release"

New Leaders for New Schools Chicago
in Brief

      Scale: 61
      New Leaders impacting 35,000 Chicago Public School students (including
      16 residents and 40 principals, principals-in-planning or assistant
      principals for the 2005-06 school year).

      Placement:
      Excluding residents, 66% of New Leaders in Chicago are currently
      serving as Principals and as Assistant Principals/other school leaders.

      Performance:
      Last year, Chicago schools led by first-year New Leaders principals
      averaged gains in reading achievement of
      6.6 percentage points, outperforming the district average by a margin
      of 1.8%.

Program Overview

The mission of New Leaders
for New Schools is to promote high academic achievement for every child
by attracting, preparing, and supporting the next generation of outstanding
leaders for our nations urban public schools. Established in 2001,
the Chicago program now has 61 New Leaders impacting the academic achievement
of more than 35,000 Chicago Public School children. In partnership with
the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), New Leaders for New Schools Chicago
is committed to increasing the quality of public education for all children
of Chicago.

Direct Impact

The 61 New Leaders in
Chicago are working in some of the most challenging schools in the city
and are dedicated to increasing student achievement for each and every
child in their schools.  The direct impact of the New Leaders for New
Schools model is evident in the gains that they have already begun to
see in their schools.  Below, please find two examples of this student
progress:

    Mr. Patrick
    Baccellieri, Principal South Loop Elementary (New Leader 2001)

    In his two years
    as principal of South Loop Elementary, Mr. Baccellieri has led significant
    increases in academic achievement.  This success was highlighted in a Chicago
    Tribune article (dated August 5, 2004), which explained that South
    Loop Elementary, saw an extraordinary gain in 3
    rd
    grade scores - from 19% passing reading to 63%, and from 18% passing
    math to 77%.

    Dr. Jarvis Sanford, Principal
    Dodge Renaissance Academy (New Leader 2002)

    Dr. Sanford took
    the helm of the Dodge Renaissance Academy in 2003.  Over the past two
    years, he implemented an intensive professional development program
    for the teachers at Dodge, with a particular focus on reading and literacy.
    The result of this targeted improvement effort has been tremendous:
    Dodge students increased their reading scores on the Iowa Test of Basic
    Skills by ten percentage points in the 2004-2005 school year
    alone
    .  As U.S. Senator Barack Obama recently observed in a speech
    at the Center for American Progress, one thing I kept hearing when
    I visited Dodge Elementary School in Chicago is how much an encouraging
    principalcan make a difference. 

Results like these reconfirm
that New Leaders for New Schools is making a tremendous difference in
the lives of Chicago public school children.

New School Development

In 2004, Mayor Daley
and CPS announced an initiative to create 100 new Chicago schools by
the year 2010.  New Leaders for New Schools Chicago is already playing
an integral role in this effort.  To date, New Leaders Chicago Principals
represent 30% of the current principal leadership of all Renaissance
2010 schools.
  Additionally, the program has established partnerships
with school management organizations that will be opening and replicating
new schools over the next several years.  These partnerships will ensure
that future New Leaders have a clear pathway into school leadership opportunities
and that the new schools have a pipeline of high quality leaders committed
to student achievement.

Systemic Impact

In addition to the Chicago
programs direct work in selecting, preparing, and strong instructional
leaders, our work in Chicago also continues to serve as one catalyst
to a crucial change in the Chicago Public Schools approach to school
leadership. During the past four years, New Leaders for New Schools
Chicago has seen the systemic impact of our model within CPS and on
other principal development programs.  We have been instrumental in encouraging
others involved in principal training programs to rethink and restructure
principal preparation. 

Over the past several
years, the district has consistently increased its focus on principal
preparation and quality.  Last year, CPS substantially revised its qualifying
criteria to be on the approved selection list for principals to be based
much more on demonstrated competency in instructional leadership.  In
2004, CPS formed the Office of Principal Preparation and Development
(OPPD), headed by Nancy Laho, as further evidence of their commitment
to developing high quality school leadership capacity in the district. 
In addition, both of the other principal preparation programs in Chicago
have revised and expanded their school leader training programs to resemble
our full-year, practiced based coaching model. 

By impacting both the
district and the other principal preparation programs within the district,
New Leaders for New Schools Chicago is further contributing to the academic
achievement of children in Chicago Public Schools.

Summary

New Leaders for New Schools
Chicago has grown tremendously over the past five years, directly impacting
student achievement in the schools, and indirectly impacting the overall
quality of school leadership within the district.  Still, an enormous amount
of work remains before each and every Chicago public school student is
receiving the quality education that they deserve.  With the support
of the Chicago Public Schools and a variety of funders and partners in
the community, New Leaders for New Schools Chicago is taking on this
challenge - developing a growing cohort of Chicago school leaders with
the beliefs, skills, and experiences necessary to improve student achievement
for every child in their schools.

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