Leading the Change: A Comparison of the Principal Supervisor Role in Principal Supervisor Initiative Districts and Other Urban Districts

Publisher: Mathematica, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Utah
Jul 21, 2020
Authors
Ellen B. Goldring, Laura K. Rogers, and Melissa A. Clark

Key Findings:

  • Principal supervisors in PSI districts supervised fewer principals than those in other urban districts.
  • Principal supervisors in PSI districts were more likely than those in other urban districts to receive role-specific training and rated their training more highly.
  • PSI districts were more likely than other urban districts to offer programs for new and aspiring supervisors.
  • Principal supervisors in PSI and other urban districts had similar perceptions of central office support and structures.

In 2014, The Wallace Foundation launched the Principal Supervisor Initiative (PSI), a four-year, $24 million effort to redefine principal supervision in six urban school districts. The PSI aimed to help districts overhaul a position traditionally focused on administration, operations, and compliance to one dedicated to developing and supporting principals to be effective instructional leaders.

In this study report, researchers from Mathematica, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Utah compare the principal supervisor role in the PSI districts with the role in 48 other large districts that were not part of the initiative. The report findings are based on data from a 2018 survey of principal supervisors in districts that were members of the Council of the Great City Schools.