When LAUNCH was created five years ago, its aim was to invigorate public school leadership by cultivating a pool of highly qualified principal candidates. At the time, the program was unique for combining management training with education courses, and for requiring participants to complete full-time internships.
The scene of scattered notebooks and crowded tables is typical for a Wednesday night meeting of TEAM, which stands for Tutoring to Educate for Aims and Motivation, an alternative tutoring and career counseling program run by the Erie Neighborhood House. TEAM is one of dozens of local programs run by non-profit groups that encourage low-income, mostly minority students to finish high school and go to college.
The Early Hiring program was launched last year to allow schools to make job offers earlier than usual, and to gain equal footing with competitive suburban districts, which often snap up the best candidates before a school term ends. In the past, CPS has not been able to extend offers to teachers until late in the summer because of difficulties with projecting the number of vacancies.
CPS joins a growing national trend where school districts and universities collaborate on teacher preparation. According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization that accredits schools of education, there are more than 170 professional development schools among the 556 teacher-training institutions.
New Leaders’ mission is to recruit former educators who wish to return to the field and train them to become certified principals. Among its graduates and current participants are a former mental health therapist, an education director for a non-profit policy group, a marketing manager and a game show producer.