NASSP

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…)

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…)

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?

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Start the New Year Right With Breakfast After the Bell

Guest post by Alison Maurice

What better way for principals to welcome their students back for the new year than by offering them a nutritious, balanced breakfast at the beginning of their school day. With the help of your nutrition department, you can pilot a Breakfast After the Bell program in your school and make sure your students are ready to learn. (more…)

Student Success Starts with Strong Teacher Support 

Guest post by Ryan Maxwell 

Teachers these days are constantly being told that they must “take ownership” for all of their students to meet the standards and succeed. But at the same time, teachers often receive mixed messages from their own school leadership that raise doubts about whether the leaders above them really believe in these goals. At Sunnyside High School (SHS) in Sunnyside, WA , our school leadership focuses on supporting teachers so that they can fully support their students. When teachers’ efficacy is high, they are much more likely to support their own students. The manner in which SHS leadership builds teacher efficacy is through a unified message of teacher ownership. It begins with administrative leadership believing and internalizing the following quote from the distinguished educator and author Carl D. Glickman: (more…)

Get Your Leadership Ego Out of the Way and Empower Your Students

Guest post by Jethro Jones

We often give lip service to the idea of empowering students.

Yes, we all agree it is important, but the adults in the building are the ones who really know best.

Yes, kids’ ideas matter, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Yes, kids have good ideas, but the adults still take credit for those ideas.  (more…)