Enter PhillyPLUS: a program designed to take potential leaders and put them on the fast track to principal-ship of schools across Philadelphia. Participants, also known as "residents," will receive a six-week intensive summer training and then be placed in a high-needs school somewhere in the District. During their year in the school they will receive support through mentorship and once-per-month meetings in schools where residents are located. At the end of their year they receive PA certification and can get a job in the District as full-fledged principal.
One might ask: are there prerequisites for this program? Perhaps teaching experience? My understanding of this from years past was that each principal had to have at least five years of teaching under their belt before getting a job as an assistant principal and/or principal. Apparently these rules have changed as the PA Department of Education only requires three years of "professional experience in an educational setting that is related to the instructional process."
I find this trend in this country to be alarming: parents and community members are demanding more and better teachers while criticizing the profession and reducing requirements thereof. While there is a mixture of data on the effectiveness of Teach for America corps members, one thing is clear: overall they do not stay in the classroom much more then 2-3 years. Those who stay longer generally do better.
So what will happen with a program of this nature? Will these new principals really have the experience necessary to stay long-term? Since, like TfA, they are being placed in the highest-need schools, are we demanding too much without enough support? I hope this program does well and increases the supply of high-quality leaders but have serious concerns about this process.