The Fund team designed the third annual Principal Engagement Survey with input from principals and other partners. The National Business Research Institute (NBRI), a nationally-recognized research organization that helps ensure principal confidentiality, administered the survey.

In 2016, 482 principals participated in the survey. This represents a 14 percent increase in the number of respondents, and a corresponding eight percentage point increase in the response rate, over the 423 participants in 2015.

The 2016 respondents represent 73 percent of the 664 public school principals surveyed between May and July of the 2015-16 school year.


482 out of Chicago’s 664 public school principals responded to The Fund’s 2016 principal engagement survey.** This represents a diverse group of principals with varying experience in multiple school types and levels across the city.


More information

#The 2016 Principal Engagement Survey was sent to 664 principals who received our 2016 Principal Engagement Survey. To identify the 664, we assembled data on the 678 Chicago Public Schools based on demographic files found on the CPS School Data website. Of the 678, two schools did not enroll any students. 22 schools share 12 principals. These schools include: Camelot SAFE Garfield Elementary and High School; Camelot SAFE Elementary and High School; Disney II Magnet School Elementary and High School; Instituto – Justice Lozano High School and Instituto – Lozano Mastery High School; Louisa May Alcott Preparatory Academy Elementary and High School; Magic Johnson Brainerd High School, Magic Johnson North Lawndale High School, and Magic Johnson Roseland High School; The Noble Academy High School and Noble Pritzker College Prep; William B. Ogden Elementary and High School; Pathways in Education Ashburn High School, Pathways in Education Avondale High School and Pathways in Education Brighton Park High School; UNO Charter School PFC Omar E. Torres and UNO Charter School SPC Daniel Zizumbo.

*367 principal respondents in elementary schools serve students in grades K-8, including middle schools and combined K-12 schools.

+ 414 principal respondents serve in district schools, including those managed by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). These schools are bound by the same state laws and labor agreements as other district schools.

^ 6 principal respondents serve in other public schools, including those in SAFE schools, which allows students to be temporarily removed from their home school while receiving credit and those in ALOP schools, which offer personalized re-entry options to students who have become disengaged. The total sample size of these schools was too small to include in the individual question analysis while protecting confidentiality, so they were excluded from demographic breakdowns.


The survey uses a five-point Likert scale, except for two questions that ask principals to rank answer choices from greatest to least. When examining results shared here, answers that use the words “satisfied” or “agreed” include principal respondents who selected the top two categories on the scale. They exclude respondents who selected neutral and those who selected the lowest two categories. For ranked questions, responses reflect answer choices principals most frequently selected among their top four choices.

While the information shared here is valuable for many purposes, readers are strongly encouraged to talk to principals before taking any next steps.

Moreover, individual principal responses do vary, and readers should consider the overall response rate and sample sizes when drawing conclusions.