After 12 years focused on developing school leaders who act as change agents for educational equity, the Principal Residency Network (PRN) partnered with Johnson and Wales University’s Center for Research and Evaluation to conduct a utilization-focused (Patton, 2002) program evaluation funded by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. The PRN is a principal preparation program of the non-profit organization, the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity. This sequential explanatory mixed methods study explored PRN graduates’ outcomes and perceptions of the program, with an overarching purpose of creating a coherent data collection and inquiry process to be used by program staff on an ongoing basis. Following the development of an evaluation framework, Phase I of the study consisted of collecting assessment data and feedback from current PRN participants, as well as administering a survey questionnaire to recent graduates of the program (N=14), previously administered in 2005 (N=21) and 2009 (N=6). Phase II of this evaluation was designed to further explore recent graduates’ perceptions of the nature and relevancy of the program in developing their commitment and skill to lead for equity in order to recommend program improvements; N=7 participated in a 90 minute focus group. Findings indicated four conclusions from which recommendations were drawn: the program is achieving strong results, participants perceive the program to have an interconnected and coherent focus on preparing them to be equity-oriented leaders, the mentor is a critical component, and modeling the cycle of inquiry created through this evaluative study is important.
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