School of Thought

Building Positive School Culture Through Service Activities

Middle level students are at a crucial age, consciously developing their identities while trying to understand how they fit in with their peers. Teachers, administrators, and staff have the opportunity to provide a compass for students navigating these difficult times. As middle level students develop their sense of self, they often begin looking for ways to make an impact in their community. This materializes in a desire to pursue a cause, do fundraising, and participate in charities. (more…)

5 Ways Principals Can Promote Student Voice and Self-Advocacy

In my time as principal of Aztec High School in New Mexico, one of my main goals has been to promote a culture centered on student voice. I’m proud to say that our school values student voice and actively seeks out input from students to shape our academics, extracurricular programming, and building culture. And when a school shooting took the lives of two students in December 2017, our commitment to student voice became a vital component to our school community’s recovery. (more…)

Announcing the 2nd Quarterly Principal Advocate Champion

Every quarter, the NASSP Policy & Advocacy Center recognizes outstanding volunteer advocates who dedicate their time to advancing the policy and civic priorities of school leaders, public education, and students across America. The Principal Advocate Champion is someone who has made a powerful impact on the direction of public education policy through their personal engagement with state and federal policymakers and their ability to organize grassroots support behind NASSP advocacy initiatives.

The NASSP Policy & Advocacy Center is excited to announce that Jason Mix has been named the second quarterly Principal Advocate Champion of 2019! (more…)

Use the 2019 National Principals Conference to Push Your School Forward

During the 2013–14 school year, I was in my third year as assistant principal/registrar at Dubuque Senior High School. Our principal, Dr. Dan Johnson, was in his first year as principal after serving many years as a counselor and assistant principal at the school. Good things were happening at Dubuque Senior, and school culture was positive. However, we needed a push forward to help make everything come together. The 2014 NASSP Ignite Conference provided that push. (more…)

Meghan Redmond Named 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year

Being an assistant principal takes dedication, determination, and grit—but it also takes compassion, innovation, and collaboration. All are qualities found in a National Assistant Principal of the Year, and Meghan Redmond, assistant principal at Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, AK, has been honored as this year’s winner. (more…)

Assistant Principals: The Difference Makers

I was an assistant principal for 10 years. Those were some of the hardest but most rewarding years of my career. It seems fitting that April is the month that has been designated to recognize assistant principals. It can often be the craziest month with standardized testing, extracurricular activities, and elevated energy levels in the school building that often accompany the arrival of warmer weather. And assistant principals are invaluable at helping schools navigate the most challenging times. (more…)

Out of the School and Into the Community: Why I Became an Adviser

Guest post by Natasha Schaefer, NHS adviser at Woodcreek High School in Roseville, CA. 

When I opened my inbox to find an email from my vice principal, I was relieved that it wasn’t about an upset parent or other administrative tasks. Instead, it was calling for volunteers. Our National Honor Society (NHS) adviser had moved to another school, and the position needed to be filled. While I normally worked with lower-achieving students—a satisfying duty in its own right—I decided I wanted to get to know the kids on the other end of the spectrum. (more…)

Happy National Assistant Principals Week!

Assistant principals work tirelessly to further the academic success and well-being of each student and adult in their learning community—and all week long, we’ll be giving them hard-earned recognition for their dedication. (more…)

How to Reduce After-School Detentions and Make Them Meaningful

Detention has been around for as long as I can remember, and some of us—myself included—have served a detention or two when we were students. When I became principal of Wilson West Middle School, I thought deeply about detention as part of our discipline practice. Do detention policies that have been around for decades work for today’s students? If the same students keep finding themselves in detention, what good do they serve? Are detentions effective and helping students learn from their mistakes or do schools keep them simply because they are so ingrained in our tradition? (more…)

Define a Collective Purpose to Guide Your School’s Culture

As school leaders, it is never too early to plan how you want to begin the next school year. In what manner can you galvanize your staff to start a new year? Many schools have a mission or a vision statement, but I want to challenge that notion. Why change or divert from this philosophy? Many of us in leadership could not recite our specific mission statements by memory. Many of us will have to dust off the document and read it again to refresh our memory. (more…)