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CPS unveils new principal evaluations

Starting this spring, CPS will launch new principal evaluations that are based half on a school’s progress-- including students’ improvement on test scores--and half on observations by district administrators.

Principals will be judged based on a new indicator CPS is developing for 3rd through 12th grade students that is meant to show how many students are “on track” to eventually graduate, based on their attendance, grades and number of student misconducts. The new indicator is currently being piloted at a number of schools.

The district aims to have 100 percent of its principals be “high-quality” by the 2014-2015 school year, but has not yet determined how that will be measured or what will happen to principals who score poorly.

Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett insisted the new state-mandated evaluation “is not about failure, it’s about support.”

The new evaluations also will factor in the progress made by English language learners and special education students; and a combination of graduation rates, dropout rates and attendance.

Elementary principals will be rated on student growth in math and reading on the NWEA test, as well as 8th-grade EXPLORE test scores. High school principals will be rated on students’ growth on the EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT tests. (EXPLORE and PLAN are precursor tests to the ACT.)

District officials haven’t decided yet how much weight will be assigned to each factor, but said principals will be rated most heavily on improvement among students who are considered “high-risk” and overall improvement in test scores. Overall, the different measures of student growth will add up to 50 percent of a principal’s evaluation.

The rest of a principal’s score will be based on an assessment of the district’s six “principal competencies”:  family and community engagement; a focus on continuous improvement of teachers and staff; creating professional learning systems; building a culture of college- and career- readiness; self-discipline; and vision.

Clarice Berry, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, says a draft version of the new system that she saw earlier this week indicated that in elementary schools, special education and English language learner student growth would account for 15 percent of a principal’s rating; student attendance, grades and misconduct for 10 percent; NWEA reading and math gains for 10 percent each; and 8th-grade EXPLORE scores for 5 percent.

“I am pleased in the sense that it is not one single high-stakes test,” Berry says. “I am concerned that [student growth] is such a large percentage of the principal’s evaluation.”

She adds that principals are concerned about the district having time to train network chiefs in the new evaluation system, and with the number of new initiatives CPS is rolling out.

“The principals are telling me they are drowning, just drowning,” Berry says. “It is just too much coming out too fast, with too little training. Everybody is overwhelmed.”

In recent years, CPS has aimed to make its principal eligibility process more selective, including a new component that requires candidates to undergo interactive role-playing to “demonstrate their skills in managing family and community.” The district also wants to improve training for principals through the Chicago Leadership Collaborative, and offer bonuses for performance and to recruit top candidates from outside Chicago.

Several principals contacted by Catalyst Chicago said they did not yet know enough about the evaluation system to form an opinion. One called the email from the district announcing the system “rather vague” and noted that “they are rolling this out late, which is not unusual.”

But Tatia Beckwith, the principal at Ray Elementary, said she was glad to see the district’s announcement.

“I am glad the principal evaluation tool is coming out. I am also happy to see it is paralleling the teacher evaluation tool, so we are all moving in the same direction – looking at similar procedures and similar data,” she said.

Elaine Allensworth, interim executive director of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, said in November that CPS had asked the Consortium to weigh in on it.

 “We sent them some research we have in progress so they could see the relationship, for example, between middle grades attendance, grades and test scores, and high school success,” Allensworth said. “Student grades in middle school are the best way to predict their grades in high school; attendance in middle school is the best way to predict their attendance in high school.”

What’s more, she added, researchers don’t know yet with certainty if schools that improve the Consortium’s much-researched freshman on-track rate will see improved student achievement down the line. “Does it encourage bad practice? Do we see more rampant grade inflation?” she asked.

Researchers at the Consortium are currently tackling those questions.


Yes! wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago


Wheee! Karma! What goes around comes around. We'll see which principals howl the loudest. Some of the bad actors who have targeted teachers for personal agenda reasons may finally understand justice. Waiting and watching and smiling.

Tom Miller wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

It is only fair. Because there are some unfair ones out there; and a lot of the LSC members(who have relatives working at the schools) just cover up for Principals and let them slide along the cracks. BBB came and and could see the the scores some Principals were getting from the LSC members did not add up. Now she is going to right it. After all; Brizard said that there were about 400 lousy Principals out there; and that good performing schools had high performing Principals. That poor performing schools had low performing Principals. Yes is correct. It is about time. BBB knows that she has to start at the top to correct the problems that have been allowed at these poor performing schools. A lot of stuff has been hidden; and again; a lot of teachers lost their jobs from no fault of their own; but because those Principals did wrong in giving them unsatisfactory ratings. Now guess what. Those Principals are going to be rated; and a lot of them are going to shine as unsatisfactory. How can a school be on probation and continue to have a Principal as a leader and probation goes on for 5, 6, 7, 8 and etc years with out something being done. Some Principals used to work downtown; and their big ike friends down there just patted them on the back; even though they knew the ship was sinking. BBB didn't come from here; and when she saw all those terrible scores and underutilized schools and how money was being wasted; she jumped right on it. Yes; Principals need monitoring; and scores need to be analyzed. And if it is not working; they need replacing. This is the only way the wrong will be righted.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

did i miss

Is there a Student or teacher survey.......honestly. evaluations at cps on anyone is like taking a shower on the last hour on the titanic.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Who evaluates the chief of schools?-what performance tasks

Who evaluates the chief of schools?-what performance tasks must they accomplish? If a principal fails in a network-does the chief of that network have no responsibility for this? look at the large amount of employees the chiefs have to help them. Freed employees--who should be working in the very schools-every day- that need help.
will principals have input on the chief's evaluation? Commenting on how supportive/non-supportive a chief is/is not? (Bet the chiefs would balk at this suggestion.)
What if the chief’s instructional protocol is wrong for the school; against the principal's wishes and scores go down? Will the chief be negatively evaluated--no. The principal will be.
All the CPS mandated testing hurts instruction--yet CPS MAKES principals make their teachers test, test, test. mClass take a full week away from instruction as the teacher must test their students instead of teach.
Ms. Berry is correct--principals are drowning and getting no help. It is clear that central office is purposely putting more and more burden on principals and schools-with budgets coming up--CPS will put more financial burden on the schools. With 33 children in second grade classrooms--CPS expects Explore test to rise by 8th grade?
BBB-please get this--principals have no control over subs, no control over teachers taking leaves--esp. with the new disability program, no control over great teachers who do not want to work in lower scoring schools. No control over great teachers who leave CPS and go to the suburbs or other careers. No control over students who have parents that will NOT send their children to school. No truant officers--No control over many students who are seriously ill--especially our low incidence children. What credit will principals get for this?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

BBB --will you be fair, supportive?

Principals will now be judged when CPS makes rules that continually and negatively affect schools.
Not one network chief has evaluated teachers using the REACH process. Not one chief has been principal in a CPS over crowded or turnaround school and turned it around!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

bbb, are you aware that CPS principals esp with full-school day,

are doing recess duty, outdoor duty, traffic duty, lunch duty, even custodial duty-no subs coming for custodians as well as filling in for absent teachers everyday?
None of the network chiefs have worked the full school day.
Until CPS allows and supports principals to be, to work as instructional leaders, your principal evaluation system will be inaccurate and unfair.
CPS will lose good princials--including bonus and out of town ones.
Then add that central office employees are telling principals that they do not have time or the staff to do what they are required to do, so they are putting it on the schools to do it. CPS has taken the fun out of being a principal or assitant principal.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

then bbb

The principals will blame and make every teachers life miserable.....they already are..i wish the principals would unite with the teachers. Rather than scapegoat and lower our ratings......the morale is at zero for me and most teacher , esps and volunteers i know...reallly. you think a rit score is more important than the gentle words of a kind teacher and principal.....kidss are doing to suffer too. The love of learning is a fragile thing.... i truly feel obama has ruined our schools more than before...

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

NCLB for principals? What, me worry?

I'll just direct you to this post above, a grand slam: "Who evaluates the chief of schools?-what performance tasks"
What could possibly go wrong with all this? Soon, there will be no time for anything but testing and evaluations, how will that work when the only thing to evaluate is rooms full of kids not being taught, but taking tests? As I read somewhere recently, if you find a malnourished dog and want to save it's life, you feed it, you don't weigh it every five minutes. In closing, where are the evaluations for those at the top, for BBB and crew, for the mayor? Are they "too big to evaluate"? When all this implodes as it must, will we get our money back from those who sold us this pantsload of testing snake oil or are they "too big to evaluate" as well? Rahmpulstiltskin failed Chicago's Burnham test, he didn't "make no small plans". He should have used his connections at the White House to have the president add another 150 days to the year so there would still be enough actual instructional time for the kids to learn something in between the tests.

Lee James wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

Seems like there is fear in the Principal evaluation from some Principals. When you throw a rock in a crowd of dogs the one that gets hit; will holler. Now the crooked ones will be exposed. They will see how it feels to be really evaluated. And your school is on probation for 5 or more years in a row. That is too long. Something should have been done a long time ago.

urbanteach wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Measure, Measure, Measure

Holding everyone accountable to test data! How can we work in the lunchroom lady and bus attendants to the RIT scores? Bravo to our colleagues in Seattle who have said ENOUGH!!!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

There Is a Flaw in the US

There Is a Flaw in the US Student Sample Taking PISA that Depressed Scores

The US would be 4th in Reading, and 10th in Math if high-poverty students were not overrepresented in the sample who last took the PISA tests, according to a study by Stanford Graduate School of Education and Economic Policy Institute.

In the last test, 40 per cent of students who took the PISA were drawn from high-poverty schools, where 50% or more of the children are eligible for the free lunch program. In actuality, 23% of US children nationwide attend such schools, the study released yesterday found.

That is a surprising and sizable increase in the percentage of students from high-poverty US schools taking PISA compared with other countries, with serious consequences for policy makers.

From Mike Klonsky

A new report released yesterday shows that in fact, shows that U.S. schools ARE NOT being outpaced by international competition. What the report, "What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?"  really shows is that social and economic inequality in the U.S. is the real culprit and what's really putting this country at a disadvantage globally.

As part of the study, researchers Martin Carnoy, a professor of education at Stanford, and Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)  calculated how international rankings on the most recent PISA exams might change if this country had a social class composition similar to that of top-ranking nations: U.S. rankings would rise to fourth from 14th in reading and to 10th from 25th in math. The gap between U.S. students and those from the highest-achieving countries would be cut in half in reading and by at least a third in math.

From Jonathan Rabinowitz

"You can't compare nations' test scores without looking at the social class characteristics of students who take the test in different countries," said (Stanford’s) Carnoy. "Nations with more lower social class students will have lower overall scores, because these students don't perform as well academically, even in good schools. Policymakers should understand how our lower and higher social class students perform in comparison to similar students in other countries before recommending sweeping school reforms."

The report also found:

There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.

Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.

But the highest social class students in United States do worse than their peers in other nations, and this gap widened from 2000 to 2009 on the PISA.

U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers.

About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 23 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.

Read more at:

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Don't Mind

I don't mind my evaluation being tied to test scores. But, I do want the opportunity to:

Allow my teachers to implement their curriculums without 5000 revisions that the Network thinks are immediate needs

Implement interim exams the appropriate way with the exams available at the beginning of the quarter and not two weeks before

Have a curriculum spine of objectives per quarter so teachers can plan what to teach and how teach it

Direct Network "support" to help my teachers improve instead of continually sharing with me how much work needs to be done

Quality PD and not regurgitation of workshops that CO and Network attended

Have my requests completed by HR, BSC, etc. without having to call back over and over to get simple tasks completed

Consideration of teacher evaluations in conjunction with their scores and if I help improve teacher performance

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

slow down!

I fail to understand why CPS lurches from one "solution" to another -- have they never heard of phasing things in? It is way too late in the 2012-2013 school year to create new systems. As an LSC member, I know that we are moving along in our evaluation of our principal and this just makes our work more difficult -- whereas if they were phasing in the new system for next year, we would have time to adjust and adapt.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation another way to make people leave the system

Again, CPS finds another process of elimination. It is impossible for teachers and principals to complete all of the new initiatives and tasks required of them. Every which way you turn, the set-up for failure is in place. The networks and the CPS leadership are a joke! They're not there to help but to humiliate and tell you in many different ways that you're not doing your job. You're not raising those test scores. Well, newsflash, "YOU'RE NOT HELPING!" PLEASE GET A CLUE!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

CPS is not interested in LSC evaluation

LSC evaluation of the principal is just a formality

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

To Anon principal

"I don't mind my evaluation being tied to test scores."

If you are actually a principal then I know you are absurdly busy, but has it escaped your notice that student growth as measured by test scores, aka VAM, is the biggest jug of rancid snake oil out there today? You might just as well be evaluated by a coin toss or phrenology. Are you really willing to bet your career on junk science?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

With the way education is going especially looking at what CPS is doing, I wonder if it is not negligence for any of the colleges to encourage their students to go to work for CPS. Of course the better students will stay away from CPS and that will lead the poorer teachers and even poorer principals and the cycle repeats itself. Perhaps law suits should be filed against any college that encourages their teachers to go to work for CPS. One other question do you really think the leaders at CPS really care about educating kids? If you believe that they do, you need to take agood hard look at the CPS leadership.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

I find it interesting that some principals got upwards of $20,000 in bonus money for what their teachers accomplished and did not even share any of it with the teachers or did not even give some of the money to the school. Perhaps this needs to be investigated and the parents made aware of what was happening. The kids are the ones that got cheated by the pricipals.

Michael R Butz wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

It is both fair and wise to

It is both fair and wise to hold principals to the same (or at least similarly strenuous) standards that we wish to hold our teachers to. Everyone involved in education should be proving their worth and being rewarded for it. Those that need assistance should be identified and helped to succeed, principals included...they are the CEOs of their school and should be responsible for the performance of same. This change continue to move us towards a true accountability paradigm in public education.

Sarah Howard wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Well said

This principal really hits the nail on the head. There is need for coherence at the school level - for teachers and principals. We are on the same side.

northside wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago


In my experience principals have absolute power. All decisions are final.No questioning or your job is toast. Other than our union, teachers have No one to help us deal with them . Very bad for morale...i don't quite see us on the same side......sorry....i don't try to get my principal fired.....however...cant say the same of her...petty reviews help no one

Anonymous wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

principal evaluations

To buttress your comment -- the evaluations for principals could be a little like showers at Auschwitz concentration camp...just one more ceremonial, opaque, and deceptive detail prior to the inevitable moment of mass extinction/assassination/extermination. Is karma a b___h? You bet.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Principals' Evaluation

The implementation of the new principal evaluation is going to destroy the morale of so many principals that are working day and night to improve teaching and learning at their schools. The adminsitration of CPS is punitive!! There main goal is to beat principals and teachers down; to get them to give up.
The Network's do not support principals or teachers. Support to improve schools is not part of their action plan!

Many of the current adminsitrator come from charter schools and their intent is to close schools and turn them into charter or hire their charter friend. CPS is joke, I have never experienced such a blatant and dysfunctional organization.
Just think that during the last few years they have reorganzied 3 times (Region, Area, Network). Some Areas or Networks have had four, AIOs, Chiefs in 5 years. Some of those leaders(Cheif, AIO) have never visited their schools. They send their people, that have no idea of what they should do. How sad, what a school system!!!!

Bill Thomas wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

Why are Principals running scared? they haven't been doing such a good job to let these school be in such bad shape. If the high performing school's worked hard with their staff and succeeded; then the low performing schools have been doing something wrong. Possibly demeaning and being to hard on their staff to the point they could not function. You have to have a pleasant working environment in order to succeed. You can't work under a lot of stress. It's named teamwork; whether it is at the school level or another level. So now Principals have to anty up. Maybe they would be more successful if the listened to their veteran teachers. After all; they are the ones with the experience. Maybe they could teach them.

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Blame the staff for low performing students?

High performing schools have high performing kids, kids who showed up at school ready that way thanks to their parents and the communities they live in. The same is not true for low performing schools in spite of the best efforts of many parents there. The negative, debilitating effects of poverty are well documented and beyond the control of both teachers and principals. Remember, poverty can NEVER be an excuse, but the truth that it ABSOLUTELY IS a diagnosis cannot be ignored. Pretending that schools alone are the place to confront this is ludicrous and is a recipe for failure. Success stories of outreach, of a much wider focus can be found in the link.

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Everyone can be accountable, BUT

It has to be real accountability, and the test score component is not a valid way to get there. When one of the founding fathers of VAM, the system used to process test scores for the purpose of ranking a teachers effectiveness says that VAM should not be used for that purpose since it was never designed nor intended to be used that way, I tend to believe him. He is not alone in this assertion by any stretch of the imagination. This policies focus on test scores rather than education is a direct threat to the collaborative environment needed between principals and teachers.

Michael R Butz wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Hello Chicago Dad, We agree

Hello Chicago Dad,

We agree that out of school factors in a kid's life are more impactful than anything that happens within the classroom (generally), but I wonder if you could expand on this statement: "Pretending that schools alone are the place to confront this is ludicrous and is a recipe for failure."

Who's pretending that "schools alone" are where we can combat the effects of poverty?

northside wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

to butz

Have you ever been to a cps nwea data review ....all scores are blamed 100 percent on the teacher and the teacher alo n e.

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

The first group to come to mind

Is the ironically named Students First. They acknowledge that out of school factors exist but insist that schools alone can cure poverty. Despite their considerable power and influence, they have made no effort to address this or get others to address this. They say curing poverty is not a part of their mission, a curious statement since their mission is supposedly to improve student outcomes. As far as I know, no one has asked them to cure it, just address it and show leadership on the issue. I've not heard of that happening from SF or any other similar reform group. I gave you a link to the BBA, the Bolder, Broader Approach. They have a plan for addressing the issue. What did you think of their ideas?

Chicago dad wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Also to Butz

"It is both fair and wise" to use a highly flawed evaluation system based on test scores to evaluate anyone?
You have said you measure things for a living, so I assume you'll be able to comment on the above criticism of VAM from that perspective? It's pretty concise, a quick read.

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