The LSC will meet in July to outline our next steps forward in finding our next principal. Before we thoughtfully consider our options and get back to that work, it feels important to recap the search process so far.
At the onset, we committed to a community-inclusive process. We also committed to prioritizing a candidate with a vision and urgency to see all students succeed, and someone committed to Ravenswood four pillars of inquiry, arts integration, social-emotional learning, and inclusion. There were tough questions and assignments at every step to evaluate how candidates might navigate our school’s challenges and celebrations. There were also opportunities for candidates to share their vision for our school, which we both love and want to see continue to grow.
Here’s a report of data about the search process.
We collected feedback from you. We heard your ideas, concerns and excitement over three meetings, and solicited family and faculty surveys with clipboards on the playground, at BAC and other meetings, and online.
We designed an inclusive process with a document that outlined what we heard from parents and staff. We opened a Principal Selection Advisory application that garnered 28 responses. We accepted all but one (ruled out due to a financial conflict of interest). The Principal Selection Advisory and LSC partnered up to facilitate the search process. We called 12 special meetings and many more working group meetings over eight weeks.
The combined PSA and LSC included 13 teachers and staff. Among those are two essentials teachers, three early childhood teachers, two primary teachers, two middle school teachers, one inclusion teacher, one counselor, one paraprofessional and the BASA director.
It also included 24 parents with students across all grade levels and ten parents who are professional educators.
We created a rubric to carry us through each part of the process and followed CPS-mandated search steps. Working groups managed specific steps, and we convened as a wider council to assess which candidates excelled in the four pillars, showed deep commitment to school equity, and who we wanted to learn more about in the next round.
We investigated candidates thoroughly. We conducted a resume screen, phone screens, extensive reference checks, two rounds of in-person interviews, site visits, and a culminating community forum day. Candidates were required to do an on-site writing sample on equity in schools, and finalists were required to submit a budget and transition plan.
In-person interviews were open to the entire PSA, based on sign-up. Our first-round was administered by 17 interviewers and three writing prompt proctors and assessors. Our second-round included 21 interviewers set up in teacher, parent, and budget rooms, plus two tour guides to usher candidates through the day. Many thanks to those who committed more than 25 hours over two Saturdays to make that happen!
Our site visit working group traveled approximately 200 miles in total to tour finalist candidate’s schools in Chicago, the suburbs, and Milwaukee.
We began with 17 CPS-eligible candidates and narrowed down to three who were invited to site visits and our community forum. Days before the forum, one candidate withdrew, telling us he realized he was not a good fit for the position. A second withdrew after accepting a position at a faith-based school he said he felt called to serve.
The community forum introduced you to our remaining candidate. We opened the day with a wider staff Q&A session and a student Q&A session with 22 students ranging in age from pre-K to eighth grade graduates. Approximately 140 people were in the audience for our community forum, which was also live-streamed on Facebook.
After a great deal of deliberation and consideration of feedback from our PSA, the LSC did not approve awarding the final candidate a contract.
This part of the search did not get the outcome we anticipated or hoped for, and that is difficult. Ultimately, LSCs are charged with hiring a principal, and your LSC is intent on and committed to awarding a contract to a leader who will lift our students and community up, guide us in finding real solutions to our challenges, and keep us growing academically, socially, emotionally, and toward being remarkable citizens of the city and the world. While we are disappointed that this part of the search did not lead to our next principal, we are confident we will find the right candidate soon.
Here’s what’s next.
The LSC will meet and map a plan for the next part of this search. Our LSC Relations Office facilitator will continue to offer us guidance. Together, we will garner best practices and lessons from the past few months, create a timeline, and then, in the same spirit of transparency, let all of you know.
An interim principal will be placed after Mr. Manaen’s last day by the network chief. The interim will act as administrator of our school until a contract is awarded.
We will get there, together. Until then, we will keep working diligently and with care to serve Ravenswood students, families, and staff. Thank you for all of your support for our community and investing in this school and our next chapter.