First-Year Principals in Urban Districts: How Actions and Working Conditions Relate to Outcomes

This RAND report examines the actions and working conditions experienced by first-year principals and connects these factors to subsequent school achievement and principal retention. By researching the experiences of first-year principals in six districts, the report seeks to understand relationships among student achievement outcomes, new principals’ likelihood of staying at their schools and their reports about school conditions, attitudes, and their own practices. Key findings from the report include that more than one fifth of new principals leave within two years and that those placed in schools that failed to meet adequate yearly progress targets are more likely to leave. Furthermore, schools that lose a principal after one year underperform in the subsequent year, research finds.