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Stronger Principal Preparation Leads to Better Student Outcomes, RAND Researcher Tells Conference Attendees

The panel for “Redesigning University Preparation Programs” on Thursday. Photo by Brianna Driver.

Five panelists addressed the importance for principals to be ready to take on their role as leaders  and the process  to be prepared for the job.

At a Thought Leaders session titled “Redesigning University Preparation Programs,” Rebecca (Becki) Herman, a senior policy researcher for the RAND Corporation, spoke as the lead presenter about the recent changes in the recruitment and preparation process all principals to undergo to be fully prepared on day one as a principal.

Herman’s four main partners that played the biggest role in the redesign process were university, state, district and mentor programs. They provided multiple forms of data to ensure the building of a high-quality curriculum.

Each panelist focused on the same main concept of the preparation pipeline, which helped bookmark specific achievements in the process to insure growth as a school leader. The pipeline explains the steps the aspiring leadership candidates should undergo to make sure they are provided with the proper tools and training to successfully move up.

Panelist Guadalupe Guerrero, superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Portland Ore., spoke passionately about the importance and benefits of equity in school systems and why he’s so pleased to address diversity in his schools.

“We’re clear with our vision from this initiative. It’s about making sure these leaders do have critical racial equity to drive improved outcomes for our students. Although we’re at the onset of our journey were pleased but not totally satisfied,” Guerrero said. “We’re seeing early  signs that we’re on the right track as our graduation rates are three times the rate of improvement for our Black students.”

The panel further explained that investing more time and nurturing the process of becoming a principal or assistant principal is an investment for the students and the community. By properly supporting these candidates, the preparation process allows for stronger leaders to emerge, which greatly impacts the success rates of students and teachers.

(Isabella Sandoval is a reporting intern with the Conference Daily Online and a senior at Judson High School in Converse, Texas.)

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