FHI 360’s Bush School Leadership Development project in Minnesota, funded by the Bush Foundation, assists the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in supporting effective implementation of the state’s new principal evaluation system, which went statewide in 2013. The project provides assistance in the following areas:
- Developing online toolkits to help principals and evaluators better understand principal performance measures
- Designing, implementing and refining a procedure to identify and vet promising practices related to principal evaluation in Minnesota
- Documenting and analyzing promising practices that emerge from a sample of the nine regional communities of practice on principal evaluation that MDE will launch in the 2014–2015 school year
- Helping MDE to share promising practices on principal evaluation in effective ways, such as through an annual conference and on the MDE website
This work builds on a strategic collaboration between FHI 360 and a state education agency, MDE, to strengthen Minnesota’s legislatively mandated principal evaluation system and provide technical assistance to districts. Over the 2012–2013 school year, FHI 360 gathered feedback on the MDE’s pilot of the principal evaluation system and produced two reports analyzing progress and offering recommendations for improvement. MDE used these reports to inform its implementation strategies for the statewide rollout and to strengthen the knowledge and commitment of the state’s professional principal associations and regional centers.
FHI 360 also received an initial grant from the Bush Foundation to perform a scan of school leadership development in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The scan formed the foundation for this project with MDE.