We hope you have enjoyed this edition of The Source. Want to learn more? We have compiled additional resources for your information.

Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters, by Linda Darling-Hammond, Marjorie Wechsler, Stephanie Levin and Melanie Leung-Gagné, and Steve Tozer. Research has found that high-quality preparation and professional development improve principals’ effectiveness and are associated with increased teacher retention and student achievement in the schools those principals serve. However, not all principals have sufficient access to high-quality learning, and differences across states reflect varied state policies. This brief examines how state and district policies influence principals’ access to high-quality learning opportunities during preparation and throughout their careers. It identifies a set of policy levers that states and districts can adopt to promote principal effectiveness. These include standards for leadership practices, preparation programs, and licensure and investments in induction programs, leadership pipeline programs, and professional development. The report on which this brief is based can be found online.

Empowering Education in Tennessee: Memphis-Shelby County Schools’ Hawkins Mill Elementary and Trezevant High are urban schools in underserved, low-income areas of Memphis, Tennessee. The two schools struggled with chronic absenteeism and their students’ academic performance ranked in the state’s bottom 5%. When Tennessee enacted its School Turnaround Pilot Program Act of 2021, Hawkins Mill and Trezevant were selected to be pilot schools. The four-year program required each school to select a state-approved external partner that would conduct a comprehensive school analysis, develop a school turnaround plan, and assist in implementing that plan. Each school selected Cognia to conduct a diagnostic review and engage in turnaround work. In 2022, the school exited Tennessee’s Priority status list and was named a 2022 Reward School, Tennessee’s designation for schools that show strong growth. Trezevant High met the state-required graduation rate of 67% during the 2021-22 school year, the highest in more than ten years.

Design for Improvement: The Case for a New Accountability System: In this Cognia white paper, CEO and President Dr. Mark Elgart calls for a new accountability system that leads to improved student learning. Rather than rank schools based on end-of-year tests, we need assessments given in more frequent intervals that give students and educators useful feedback on how they are doing with what students actually study. New curriculum-aligned assessments can lead the way.