Graduates of the New York City Aspiring Principals Program (APP) have successfully increased English test scores at traditionally low-performing schools, says a study released August 24 by the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University. APP is part of the New York City Leadership Academy, which was formed in 2003 to recruit, prepare, and support the professional development of aspiring principals in the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The Leadership Academy is particularly focused on improving leadership in historically high-poverty, low-performing schools. APP has 390 graduates who comprise approximately 15 percent of NYCDOE’s principals.
The report studied student outcomes at schools led by APP graduates and at comparison schools led by other new principals. Prior to the arrival of a new principal, the average elementary and middle school students at APP principals’ schools performed significantly below their citywide grade level in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. In contrast, students at the comparison principals’ schools scored approximately at citywide grade-level average. According to the study, in “the initial years of their leadership, elementary and middle school APP principals had comparable or better growth trends than comparison principals” in ELA. Additionally, while comparison schools’ scores dropped behind citywide averages in their third and fourth years, APP schools remained stable.
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