The Elgin Children's Foundation's Principal Support Program: An Early Program Assessment
The school principal plays a significant role in a school’s success, and research highlights the importance of principals learning through others (Smylie, Murphy, & Louis, 2020). Unfortunately, principals often work alone. In rural settings, this circumstance is heightened, as principals have reported feeling isolated in their leadership role. The Elgin Children’s Foundation, which is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for children living in rural Southern Appalachia, launched its Principal Support Program (PSP) in 2017 to support the development of effective school leaders with the ultimate goal of improving student academic achievement. We partnered with the Foundation to design and oversee an early evaluation of the PSP centered on three research questions: 1. What is the impact of the PSP on principal mindsets and practices as related to school climate and culture, instructional leadership, and organizational management? 2. How do the mindsets and practices of PSP principals compare to non-PSP principals in similarly situated schools? 3. What components of the PSP are most beneficial for principal development?