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A Comprehensive Evaluation of a School System's Grow Your Own Principal Preparation Program Open Access

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American school systems face the daunting challenge of recruiting and preparing quality candidates for the demands of the secondary principalship. In a time when qualified principal candidates are difficult to find, school districts are beginning to develop district level "grow your own" principal preparation programs. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of one school district's secondary "grow your own" principal preparation program. Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to collect and analyze data for this study. Daniel Stufflebeam's CIPP model of evaluation was used to formulate six research questions to guide the research. Data were collected to address each component of this model--context, input, process, and product. Personal interviews were conducted with the school district's executive staff, former executive staff, the director of secondary leadership development, the administrative union president, and administrative interns (AP 3s). Focus group interviews were conducted with principals, principal consultants, and second-year participants of the program (AP 2s). Documents were also analyzed. The Leadership Practices Inventory-Self (LPI-Self) was also administered to 88 former participants of the program with a response rate of 67%. An ANCOVA was used to analyze the quantitative data in this study. The findings indicated that the secondary leadership development program increased the quantity of principal candidates within the school district, and participants of the program perceived themselves to have moderately high levels of leadership behaviors. In addition, the school system needed to establish clearer, more objective criteria to determine the degree in which the program improved principal candidates' quality. The program did help participants understand the administrative culture of the school system. Another finding was that the program was cost effective. Inconsistencies were found with the implementation of the program's components which required a more collaborative, systematic approach to address. The scope of the program, access to executive staff members, cohort groups of study, and the developmental team meeting were identified as strengths of the program. The content of monthly seminars, communication between the program and stakeholders, and the professional development team meetings were identified as areas of the program that needed to be improved.

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