School of Thought

College Application Essays: What a Principal Should Know

Guest post by Patrick O’Connor

One of the most interesting parts of being a school administrator is how many people expect you to know everything, and know it off the top of your head. This happened all the time when I was an assistant principal. In one quick walk down the front hallway, a parent would ask me what time the ninth grade volleyball game was next Thursday (6:00), a teacher would ask me when supply orders were due (last week), and a student would ask me what English teacher they should take next year (nice try). (more…)

Making Sense of the Data Madness

Guest post Ryan Rismiller

 

As I make plans for the upcoming school year, I review our school data. Though we’ve made considerable progress, the data says we’re not where we need to be. Despite our school team’s tireless efforts, we need to do more to narrow the achievement gap, raise graduation rates, improve math and English proficiency, and more. Frustrated, I ask myself, what more can we do to move the needle when it comes to our data?  (more…)

Advocacy Update

Learn How Investing in Educators Can Support Student Success

On August 28, NASSP will be co-hosting a webinar with several other national education organizations titled, “How Investing in Teacher and Leader Professional Development Can Support Student Success.” During this webinar, researchers will share findings from a new review on professional development that improves students’ academic outcomes. (more…)

Collateral Culture: The School You Didn’t Know You Were Building

Guest post by Danny Steele

We all know the culture of our school is important, and you understand that building a strong one is how school leaders can impact student achievement. You intuitively understand that schools need to be safe; they need to foster collaboration; and they need to stay focused on the needs of the students. But don’t ever underestimate the small things you do on a daily basis that contribute to the strength of your school culture. (more…)

Systematic Intervention Placement for Incoming Ninth Graders

Guest post by Beth Middendorf

What else could I have done to support that freshman academically in the first six weeks of school? I found myself asking this question each time I transitioned a freshman class to Parkway West High School. By the time we had sufficient in-progress data to review, too many freshmen were already struggling academically. Repeatedly, I observed students’ confidence and effort levels decrease when I needed them to be open-minded to academic interventions. Because of our reactive approach to intervention placement, some freshmen were not able to recover and experience success. (more…)

Quarter Deposits and Dollar Withdrawals

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

I am wrapping up what has been the most difficult year of my professional life. It was filled with a myriad of emotions, events, and circumstances that most people never get to experience in a lifetime, let alone in a single year. Between opening a new high school, having a staff member pass away as the school year started, and losing multiple students to suicide and other unfortunate accidents, I can honestly say that this year has been like no other. As principal, it is difficult to lead in circumstances like these because it ravages your school culture. Walking the halls and seeing students and staff struggling is painful. You want to put your arm around everyone and tell them that it is going to be OK, but at the same time, you are struggling too and questioning if things can return to normal. You are left wondering if your school culture can ever rebound. (more…)

2018 Principal of the Year Finalists Named

Three principals—one from South Carolina, Illinois, and Georgia—have been named as finalists for NASSP’s 2018 National Principal of the Year (POY) award.

The NASSP Principal of the Year program honors state principals from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. Out of these exceptional school leaders, three are selected as finalists and one is ultimately selected for the National Principal of the Year award. Each year, the award is presented to an outstanding middle level or high school principal who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to their profession.

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Moving from Analysis to Action—Building Capacity through Conversation

Guest post by David Johns

Numerous tools exist to help Professional Learning Communities (PLC) grow. There are checklists to ensure that the right roles are assigned. There are accountability documents to ensure that teams meet on time and in a common location. There are even the four timeless guiding questions from Rick DuFour to keep PLCs focused on the work of improving achievement. So why then do most PLC conversations stall out once we’ve looked at student work? Why don’t we turn our attention to actions we need to take as educators to address what we see? (more…)

Advocacy Update

Time to Gear Up for this Year’s National Principals Month!

This October, join NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators in honoring our nation’s principals during National Principals Month! Throughout the month, we urge schools, states, and government officials to make a concerted effort to recognize the impact principals have on student achievement and school success, and to show their appreciation for these tireless leaders. There are countless ways to participate and show your support for school leaders! (more…)

Hey, High School Principal: Take a Hint from Your Students

Guest post by Annette Wallace

Like many high school principals, I find myself always thinking about how I can be a better leader. I read books, stalk amazing principals’ social media accounts, and pick the brains of great principals about ways to be a more effective leader. I am obsessed with being the best principal I can be! As I was walking down the hallway today, the thought occurred to me: What if I stopped, looked, and listened to the hints and lessons my students were giving me on how to be better principal? (more…)