The contracts of 236 principals are due to expire by the end of this school year. Based on the experience of previous years, however, as many as 220 could be renewed, leaving as few as 16 openings for newcomers. Here is an update on the marketplace, as of mid-September.

Principal Review Board (PRB)

Of the 464 candidates who have submitted their credentials to the PRB over the last 10 months, 258 have completed all the requirements to become a CPS principal, according to PRB board member Albert Bennett. The PRB certifies that the requirements have been met and then forwards candidates names to the board’s Human Resources Department.

A list of the requirements is posted on Catalyst’s Web site. It can be accessed through the principal page of the resource section: For more information on the PRB, call (312) 341-6485.

Partnership to Encourage the Next Century’s Leaders (PENCUL)

Screening sessions are scheduled for Oct. 3 and Nov. 7 for aspiring principals who want to go through the Principal Assessment Center offered by this public-private partnership. The screening involves a 100-question survey that asks candidates how they would respond in a variety of school situations. The top 200 scorers will be allowed to go through the more extensive assessment.

The assessment center, explains project manager Susanne Schnell, is a one-day “simulation where the candidates play the role of a CPS principal. They’re measured on the behaviors they demonstrate … and evaluated against an ideal standard of a CPS principal.” They may use the results as either “a marketing tool” with local school councils (LSCs) or “to identify the areas that they need to strengthen,” she adds.

Last spring, 300 people submitted applications, 132 went through the assessment, and another 29 postponed the assessment until fall, Schnell reports.

There is a $25 fee for the screening, and a $175 fee for the assessment center, which includes a confidential 10-page feedback report.

Assessment center participants also may add their names and a summary of their assessment results to a database that is available to all LSCs. At the beginning of the school year, the database included 55 candidates from within CPS and 46 from outside the Chicago school system.

In addition, PENCUL provides free training to LSCs on principal selection, including identifying priorities and evaluating candidates. Last year, 15 councils took advantage of the offer.

For more information about PENCUL, call (312) 853-3690.

Leadership Academy and Urban Network for Chicago

Recruitment will begin within the next couple months for the second round of this principal preparation program, reports Executive Director Ingrid Carney.

Also a public-private partnership, LAUNCH provides six weeks of courses over the summer at Northwestern University and then places participants in schools for a semester-long, paid internship. Those who land principal jobs are to receive additional support during their first year on the job. The first 36 participants are now serving their internships.

There is a $500 fee. For more information about LAUNCH, call (312) 263-7767.

Illinois Administrators Academy (IAA)

The courses required for aspiring principals are nearly full, but the demand has subsided since last winter, when 600 people wound up on a waiting list, reports IAA Chicago Director Dolores Gonzalez. She adds, however, that individuals who sign up frequently fail to show up.

Seventeen one-day or two-day workshops will be offered through Dec. 15. The School Board uses state administrator training funds to pay for the courses, which are free to participants.

For more information about IAA, call (312) 263-1976.

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