It’s Not Too Late—Get Ready to Meet these Members Making a Difference

Are you looking to connect with fellow NASSP members who found significant value from their membership? Ignite ’15 offers a perfect venue. Ahead of the conference—which starts Thursday, February 19—get acquainted with some of these participating members and make plans to meet.

You say you’re not registered for Ignite ’15, but have a last-minute craving for a no-regrets opportunity to network and grow professionally? No worries. You can register on-site! Alternatively, consider purchasing access to the live streaming portal if you or your team are unable to be there in person.

When you become familiar with these members’ stories you’ll discover more about the NASSP advantages that are making a difference in schools and with students nationwide:

School Improvement Strategies

Looking for school improvement tools? Eric Jones needed plenty when he took charge of a high-poverty high school in Tennessee. Thanks to NASSP, he was able to advance a culture of excellence and achievement to turn the tide.

When Eric first led Jackson Central-Merry (JCM) Academy, its graduation rate stood at about 55 percent. Four years later, the rate propelled to 92 percent following the schoolwide reform Eric put in place using NASSP’s renowned school improvement framework Breaking Ranks.

Eric and his staff also consulted with Dr. Mel Riddile, NASSP’s associate director for high school services. Working as a team, they created a new school culture focused on literacy. Higher-order thinking and real-world application became integral parts of daily instruction.

Student success “validated our work.” He remembers one “rough around the edges” JCM student who not only graduated, but also won a football scholarship to the Naval Academy. “Once you get the culture going in the right direction, our young people can succeed.” Now seeking to orchestrate a similar turnaround in Huntsville, AL, at J.O. Johnson High School, Eric says, “I am always going to be thankful for what NASSP has done for my school, my leaders, my career, and especially my students.”

See Eric (@etjones10) at Ignite ’15 at the High School Viewpoint session, “Turnaround by Turning Around.”

Knowledge Resources

Hungry for knowledge? NASSP delivers with online communities, social media, and members-only access to digital and print communications. As both a reader and contributor, Jared Wastler values NASSP’s publications as “by us and for us.” Jared is an assistant principal at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, MD.

In a recent issue of NASSP’s premier publication, Principal Leadership, he described how the conversational, interactive nature of the Ignite conference inspired a professional learning model at his school that increased student achievement, staff engagement, and collaboration. The article caused a buzz. “We’ve been contacted by a lot of schools because of it. So, our staff sees additional value” in the initiative.

As a reader of NASSP publications, he observes, “The articles are practitioner-based. There’s always something tangible we can use to make our schools better.” As co-founder of #APchat, a Twitter chat for assistant principals, he adds to the knowledge base NASSP members enjoy. He considers NASSP cutting edge. “When connectedness was a hot button thing, NASSP got it—early. NASSP has done incredible work promoting connected and collective professional learning.”

Join Jared (@jcwastler) as he co-moderates #APChat during a Google Hangout at Ignite ’15.

School Climate and Achievement

NASSP student programs—the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils—create a positive climate, foster engagement, and lead to academic success. Jimmy Casas credits these programs for helping him rebrand his Iowa high school.

Jimmy joined Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, IA, as principal 13 years ago and found “a teacher-centered environment.” Then, his school was seen as the “athletic” high school compared to the perceived “academic” school crosstown. How, he wondered, could he reboot both the climate and perception?

Enter NASSP’s student programs: National Honor Society and National Association of Student Councils membership organizations, and Raising Student Voice & Participation (RSVP), a leadership program. They are playing a significant role in student empowerment, while driving change and excellence. “Students are constantly presenting to our staff. In fact, our kids trained the staff in RSVP. Our kids get our staff involved in our biggest service initiative, the Quad Cities Hunger Drive. The kids just have so much energy.”

Today, a student-centered environment “is impacting the classroom and why I believe we’re learning at higher levels. The climate has changed, and—with significantly higher AP and ACT scores and AP and Honors class enrollments—perceptions have too. “We’ve been rated nationally as a top high school by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.”

Get energized about the difference NASSP’s student programs can make in your school. Jimmy (@casas_jimmy) will share more of his success during his Ignite ’15 session “Leading Change in Schools.”

Professional Development

Remove the isolation. Network with peers. NASSP makes it easy with online communities, customizable workshops, Ignite, and convenient webinars. Discover how one of those webinars helped Carrie Jackson break out of her office, literally. 

Carrie is a principal without an office—and that’s a good thing. It was an idea inspired by an NASSP webinar, when a fellow principal talked about jettisoning his physical office to further his visibility among students and staff. “I thought, ‘Wow! What a cool idea.’ ”

Now one year into her office-less life, Carrie says, “It’s been a really healthy thing.” She adds as both a facilitator and participant in NASSP webinars, “It’s nice just having the opportunity to glean some ideas” from fellow school leaders.

The fact this innovative educator abandoned her office should come as no surprise. She helped open Timberview Middle School in Fort Worth, TX, in 2010, crafting a technology-rich facility that supports 21st-century, personalized learning and teacher collaboration. This 2013 NASSP Digital Principal guides campus “Tweet-alongs” to engage students and teachers in creative learning experiences.

“NASSP provides the opportunity to network with people who are like-minded or even not like-minded … with similar issues or maybe different issues. You have the opportunity to compare notes, whether in person or virtually.”

Get tips from Carrie (@jackson_carrie) during her session “Next Steps in Digital Leadership: Where Do We Go from Here?” at Ignite ’15.

Making Connections

Regardless of how you connect with fellow members—whether at Ignite, through a professional development program, or simply by sending a tweet or email—you’ll hopefully be able to sum up your NASSP membership as Erik Burmeister, principal at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park, CA, has: “NASSP has allowed me to forge really meaningful relationships with other principals around the country. I can’t say enough about the opportunities that membership has afforded me. I feel indebted to NASSP for expanding my perspective, network, and impact.”

Meet Erik in person at Ignite ’15 when he presents “The Power of Yes!” or tweet him @mrbprincipal.

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