Principal Leadership

Our work began in 2006 by partnering with a group of high school principals, a focus that remains central to our efforts today. 
Our partner, the UChicago Consortium on School Research, has found that strong principal leadership is a primary catalyst for school improvement. Principals’ actions have direct and indirect effects on school environments and student achievement. Furthermore, the research indicates that effective principals provide focus and direction to curriculum and instruction. Their leadership is critical in whether schools can create equitable conditions under which learning improves. 
Each academic year, we partner with principals to create school environments that value and honor the brilliance of every student. We directly support principals to use continuous improvement to move the key levers for student success.
  • Improving teaching and learning
  • Ensuring students are On-Track during the ninth grade year
  • Increasing student GPA
  • Preparing students for college enrollment and persistence
Our approach also helps principals develop other leaders and high-functioning teams to create sustainable changes in the school building.

Network Convenings

We accomplish this work by bringing principals together in our partner schools for a professional learning community. During these convenings, school leaders center around key goals for school improvement. In addition, the sessions include discussions on research and ongoing analyses of each school's performance on critical indicators to improve student outcomes.
Meetings occasionally focus on a specific topic that all schools are working to improve, such as developing antiracist school practices and policies, building students' non-cognitive skills, or integrating the Common Core State Standards. We offer the space for principals to raise problems of practice and work with each other to problem solve. Sharing ideas and techniques from various schools transfers innovation—and we consistently hear from convening participants that it is both instrumental and a rare opportunity to collaborate with other school leaders. 

One-on-One Executive Coaching

Each principal has a dedicated NCS coach who visits the school at least twice a month to discuss the ideas and research shared in the convenings and help apply strategies to that school's unique context. Coaching sessions are structured to improve the principal's capacity to develop targeted teams at the school and create systems to implement plans with an equity lens.
From the start, we recognize each principal's essential and unique role in a school. Our integrated approach to school improvement gives these crucial school leaders new resources and ideas so they can be the primary source of improvement in their building. 
Click here to explore our other focus areas.