Principals: What Are You Bringing to 2015–16 that’s “New”?

Guest post by Daisy Dyer Duerr, a 2014 NASSP Digital Principal and Ignite ’16 Speaker

I hear a gentle rumbling…it’s the sound of school buses starting and retailers unpacking school supplies. It’s back-to-school time! Most of our country’s schools will be in session within the next month.

Students will enter our schools for 2015–16 with many “new” ideas, perspectives, dreams, clothes, friends, and supplies. As principals and assistant principals you, too, should bring something “new” to your schools this year.

What’s the newest addition to your leadership toolkit this year? Maybe it’s a new digital tool you have mastered or a new way of communicating with parents. It could be something as simple as a concept from a great book or article you read over the summer. Or maybe you have changed your leadership structure and mantra completely. As a leader, you need to be evolving each year. Great principals want to continuously get better!

Successful principals are familiar with the latest trends in leadership, education, educational technology, teaching pedagogy, and professional learning. Most importantly, successful principals are adept at identifying tools that benefit their school communities and students.

Education Technology for School LeadersDigital Media Ideas for your 2015–16 Leadership Toolkit

  • “Bring Your Own Device” is a great means of providing access to the Internet for your students. I co-wrote an op-ed with Kerry Gallagher (@kerryhawk02) advocating for access to devices for students. It appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in July.
  • This video-streaming app is owned by and synced to Twitter. You can instantly video-stream live from anywhere at any event. Get to know this app—I see endless possibilities in education! This summer I’ve been able to view some great professional development live via
    Periscope. Even if you aren’t using it, you still need to know it, because your students/parents will.
  • This app allows users to talk to each other “walkie-talkie” style. For me this has been a further extension of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) from Twitter. Now educators who have been interacting on social media through text are actually connecting with real voices. See this recent blog about Voxer in education.
  • This app is a great tool for connecting parents, teachers, students, or community groups. Plus, it’s totally free and it’s easy to navigate. Check out their awesome blog, which includes many contributing educators and, yes, there is an administrators’ dashboard coming to make this tool even more useful to principals!
  • As a principal, why should you blog? Three reasons: 1) You need to share your genius with the world. We are all better when we share with each other. Personally, I would love to learn the amazing things you are doing at your school as an education leader. That’s where a blog comes in! 2) Reflection: The principalship can be one of the toughest and loneliest jobs. Do not allow yourself to be isolated. Use blogging for reflection. I blogged at daisydyerduerr.com through the last three years of my principalship, and it definitely made me a more reflective leader as well as increased transparency in my leadership. 3) Be a model for your students. Powerful learning takes place when students are able to publish their work. See kidblog.org, for example.

Looking for More?

NASSP’s Ignite ’16 will be the perfect opportunity to refill your leadership toolkit with outstanding presentations from the leaders in our field as well as many opportunities for actual conversations and hands-on demonstrations. I am honored to lead the first-ever Rural Perspective Session, “Defying Myths in Rural Education.” I’m looking forward to engaging with and learning from the best in secondary education in Orlando, February 25–27, 2016! I hope to connect with you there.

Daisy Dyer Duerr (@DaisyDyerDuerr) is a rural educator, speaker, writer, and consultant from St. Paul, AR.

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