Principals and restructuring

Principals will be central to U-46 restructuring process
By Tara Garcia Mathewson

Principals are central to their schools’ achievement.

Elgin Area School District U-46 is using University of Chicago’s “Five Essentials” model for success — which highlights effective leaders — as it transforms 10 elementary schools deemed failing under federal guidelines.

“As the leader of a school, it’s the principal’s expertise in teaching and learning and supporting and organizing teachers around instruction that really makes a difference for student results,” said Ushma Shah, superintendent of elementary schools, instruction and equity. Shah is leading the restructuring process in U-46 in a collaboration that has so far included administrators and Elgin Teachers Association leaders.

The district is required to make major changes to the governance and management, financing and staffing in the federally mandated restructuring process of 10 schools: Channing, Garfield, Highland, Hillcrest, Huff, Lords Park, Sheridan and Washington, all in Elgin, and Laurel Hill and Parkwood in Hanover Park.

Principals in those 10 schools were asked to make a written commitment to transformational change at the start of the restructuring process. Seven of them will remain at their schools next year as the changes take hold. Three schools will be led by new principals fresh out of training as administrative interns — effectively, assistant principals — in other U-46 schools.

Read the full article here.

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