This research brief is the second of a four-part series on decentralization in the Houston Independent School District. This study examines HISD’s principals’ self-reported perceptions of their ability to make campus decisions to benefit students based on their degree training, support and autonomy.

HISD principals who elected to participate in the survey on average expressed positive statements about their degree program training and current level of efficacy related to their ability to: use data to identify student needs; communicate with teachers to identify student needs; and make staffing decisions to support student needs. They reported having autonomy over making the scheduling, instructional, and staffing decisions that are best for their students. They further reported being supported by HISD central administration in the fundamental roles that principals are expected to fulfill in the current decentralized model: analyzing the data to best determine their students’ needs; making staffing, instructional and scheduling decisions based on that analysis; and preparing a budget that reflects those needs.

Findings do suggest possible opportunities including professional development for first year principals about how to make staffing decisions to support student needs and a review of the budget analyst protocols and/or an efficiency study of the support provided by budget analysts to each campus.