School of Thought

2016 #ThankAPrincipal Video Contest Winners Announced

The results are in! Over 62 videos were submitted from schools across the country for the 2016 National Principals Month video contest, and we have three winners! The contest called for students to make a short video giving “props” to their principal—telling us why they love their principal and what he or she means to the students, school, and community. Each of the winning schools will receive a $200 Best Buy gift card.

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What I Learned in D.C.: Advocacy Matters

Guest post by Steve Carlson

A principal has many things to do—too many, in fact. This makes prioritizing crucial.
It can also mean that we also sometimes neglect things that just don’t have the urgency of a student crisis, a concerned parent, or a homecoming dance. But as I expand my personal learning network (PLN) I have increasingly come to realize that advocacy for education is something to which I needed to devote more energy. It’s important that we not only recognize the important work of principals but remember that advocacy—for our students and our schools—is part of that important work. (more…)

Teacher Evaluations—Creating a Comfort Zone

Guest post by Matthew Younghans

In the ever-changing world of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), significant value has been put on teacher evaluations. While once a narrative write-up process, our current systems are a far cry from the past. The power and control of such processes now lie within the domain of state regulation and at the collective bargaining table, which can even differ by district. I have found that creating a comfort zone regarding the process, inclusive of clear expectations, will help to defuse some of the normal teacher anxiety that can be present during these times.  (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) continues to draw nearer. Now is the time for principals to sit down at the negotiating table to make sure their voices are heard. However, effectively advocating for one’s cause is not always easy. (more…)

A Letter to the President-Elect

Reports from around the nation of individuals suffering harassment seem to have grown emboldened since Donald Trump’s victory. In schools, students are bullied for their race, religious beliefs, and many more issues concerning individual identity and expression. (more…)

Cultivating Character: One School’s Story

Guest post by Bill Coon, Ed.D.

You enter a social studies classroom and are immediately greeted by a student who welcomes you and introduces himself. The student explains the learning target, or the tangible learning goal he or she can understand and work towards, and then he explains the Habits of Scholarship, or character, target. He shares that today’s Habit of Scholarship is, “I can work collaboratively with my peers to draft a thesis statement for an essay about Peter the Great.” The student invites you to sit down and enjoy the class. After you sit down at a table with three other students, the students unpack the learning targets together and then break into small groups to begin their work for the day. As an observer, you begin to see multiple examples of collaboration in each group.

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Parental Influences and School Practices that Contribute to First-Generation Latino Student Success

Guest post by Heberto Hinojosa, Jr.

As we look toward equity in all aspects of our schools, the small representation of low-income Latino students in advanced courses is of note. Over the last four years, I have had an opportunity to conduct a qualitative study to investigate parental influences and their perception of effective school practices that contribute to low-income, first- and second-generation Latino student success across Texas. Middle school students who were enrolled in at least one pre-AP class and earned honor roll the previous semester are those considered successful for the purposes of the study. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

The implementation of ESSA has provided educators with a special opportunity to influence education policy. That is why it is important that school leaders make the most of this opportunity. To help ensure school leaders have all the information they need to effectively influence officials, NASSP recently introduced its ESSA Toolkit. (more…)

Always Remember … You Wanted This Job

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal, EdD

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. It was nine years ago, and I was just finishing up my first week as a brand-new assistant principal. I had been preparing myself to be an assistant principal for years and finally had landed the job I so desperately wanted. The excitement of the job was overwhelming, and I was overjoyed that I was going to be able to put my educational administration and supervision degree to work. (more…)

The Ever-Evolving Role of the Assistant Principal

 

Guest post by Holly Ripley

As you well know, the role of the assistant principal has changed dramatically since the days when our primary responsibility was to serve as the resident disciplinarian. Addressing poor student behavior is of course still a necessary part of the job, but I work to minimize the time I spend on it so I can do the important work of coaching teachers and—sometimes directly, often indirectly—guiding students. If all students are in classes where they feel cared about, comfortable, and confident in learning, then we ultimately have very little misbehavior to deal with.  (more…)