School of Thought

Advocacy Update: Government Shutdown

After months and months of short-term funding packages, time finally ran out. The Senate was unable to pass a continuing resolution before January 20 and because of this, the federal government has shut down for the first time since 2013.

Much of the impact K–12 education will face will depend on the length of the shutdown. Most education programs are forward funded, meaning dollars are already designated to go out to programs, regardless of a shutdown. However, the longer the shutdown, the greater the impact that will be felt by schools and districts. Overall, we can break down a shutdown’s impact into three main areas for K–12 education: (more…)

5 Ways to Create a Supportive School Community

Guest post by Nathan Boyd

One of the most important lessons I have learned as a school principal is that children need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to perform at their full potential. If students’ physical and emotional needs are not being met, their minds will not be ready to engage. Sounds obvious, right? Actually, creating the right conditions for students to learn is one of the biggest challenges for us as educators, because so many factors are beyond our immediate control. (more…)

Using Feedback to Foster a Collaborative Campus Culture

Guest post by Melissa King-Knowles

When I was a teacher, I started using feedback looping processes to survey my high school students about particular units and methods of assessment. I asked what they liked and didn’t like and sought input on my teaching practice. With their brutal (ahem, I mean beautiful) honesty, students brought me to my knees on a couple of occasions. (more…)

Answering the Call: A Journey in Advocacy

Guest post by Brandon Mowinkel

In a day and age where public schools seem to be under constant scrutiny, it is vital that principals become advocates for our schools and the students we serve, sharing our stories of success and the challenges we face. When I became an administrator, I would have never imagined that I would be in regular contact with my state and federal representatives to ensure a high-quality education for all students. Stories matter, and it is our responsibility to be sure they are being told. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Analysis of Tax Reform and Its Impact on Education

After months of debate, conferencing, and closed-door deals, Republicans in Congress passed a sweeping tax reform bill—H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—that was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017.

While the bill has implications that will undoubtedly affect all Americans, there are several components that may directly affect schools, educators, and students: (more…)

21st-Century School Communication: Vlogging and Virtual Faculty Meetings 

Guest post by Carrie Jackson

Do you wonder whether or not all stakeholders on your campus clearly understand your expectations? For example, do all staff members, students, and families know your expectations for interactions with one another? For grading practices? For student arrival and dismissal?  (more…)

Understanding the Hidden Struggles of our Students and How We Can Help Them

Guest post by Amber Rudolph

Robin Williams once stated, “All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul, and they will never notice how broken you really are.” Sadly, these painful words mirrored Williams’ true feelings, as he succumbed to suicide after a long struggle with addiction and his mental health. Like Williams, many adolescents also mask their painful struggles with abuse, neglect, bullying, and other traumas. How do we as administrators create a supportive environment that addresses the often-hidden emotional lives of our students? (more…)

When School Is a Game, Nobody Wins

Guest post by Brian M. Stack

As school principals, most of us are measured by how many of our students “meet the standard” for getting to the next level, and therefore, we often focus first on making sure that failing students don’t fall too far behind. But what if this is the wrong metric and the wrong mentality? The fact is, the way we measure educational achievement today puts too much emphasis on staying above the bare minimum, rather than aiming as high as possible. And I’m not just talking about helping the most gifted students do even better. Too many of our students at all levels have figured out how to be “successful” without mastering all of the skills they actually need. If we are to truly advance learning in our schools, something needs to change, and it needs to change fast. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown last week by passing a continuing resolution through January 19, 2018. Congress also passed a sweeping tax overhaul that was signed into law by President Trump.

Why Should Principals Care?

Congress avoided a government shutdown in December by passing a continuing resolution (CR) that provides level funding for the government through January 19. (more…)

Grow Teacher Leaders to Cultivate a Collaborative Climate: Tools to Use Today

Guest post by Brent Rowland 

 

Do you have a handful of rock star teachers who are your go-to people, so you keep going to them over, and over, and over?

Imagine finding that just-right leadership spot for all of your teachers—that place where school needs match teacher interest. What would that do to connect them to the school’s mission, distribute leadership, and develop teacher capacity?

(more…)