NASSP and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have partnered to highlight the important role that principals have in striving for educational equity, with a focus on safety and inclusion for LGBTQ students.
The need for culturally responsive practices that promote each student’s academic well-being is especially critical in this politically charged time. HRC’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report found that only 26 percent of LGBTQ students feel safe in their classrooms, with only 5 percent stating that they feel their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people. This heartfelt video clip spotlights just some of these experiences faced by LGBTQ students. At the same time, according to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), 83 percent of educators felt they should provide safe classrooms for LGBTQ students, though only half have actually taken action to do so. (more…)
It was the Fourth of July, and I was doing what I love to do in summertime: using my barbeque smoker to make pulled pork sliders for dinner. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. to get it started so that it would be ready in time; after all, you’ve got to get up early in the morning if you’re going to make great food (I went back to sleep for a couple of hours once I got it going). (more…)
When I was awarded the honor of being named the Assistant Principal of the Year in the state of Illinois, my local newspaper did a story on me. When they asked my principal about what made me a worthy recipient of this award, he responded, “[Tim] has a great ability to make connections with people, to relate to people.” His words caused me to reflect. Making connections with others always seemed natural to me, and I never really gave it much thought. But then the teacher in me kicked in and I started to wonder, can people learn to be better at making connections? How would we teach it? (more…)
Through NHS, my students learned that the more you give to the world, the more you get back.
By teaching upper level students, I’m able to get to know them inside the classroom. When the chance came for me to work with them outside the classroom as a National Honor Society (NHS) adviser, it was a no-brainer. (more…)
As we get ready to welcome students back to school, it seems like there is never enough time to get everything done. When I’m running around nonstop, sometimes it helps to have a quick checklist to help guide me through the day. Here are some of the key things I always try to remember as I strive to be the best principal I can be:
If your staff didn’t have to attend your next in-service training, would they?
If the training covers the 54-slide overview of ESSA changes or a new literacy initiative, I’m sure we can all guess the answer. There’s never a shortage of initiatives, mandates, or policy changes to review—I used to be the guy who had all my ducks in a row, with my all-important PowerPoints and handouts ready for in-service day. In retrospect, I know my teachers would rather have been somewhere else than “listening” to me give them information that I could have relayed at another time and in another way. (more…)
The students at Graham High School in St. Paris, OH, participate in our Career Gears program. As I shared in a previous post, Career Gears aims to create relevant experiences that help students identify career interests and build professional skills and relationships for the future. (more…)
Once upon a time, I had the greatest summer job ever: working at Seven Ranges Scout Reservation in east central Ohio. We were a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings who got to exercise almost total creative control for the camp and its programming. Before the campers or full staff arrived on the reservation, leadership would sit down in front of a whiteboard and simply list all the needs, wants, and dreams for the year—and then go make it happen. (more…)
When I first arrived, Lake Shore Middle School (LSMS) was on the verge of a state takeover. With an F grade for two straight years on the state report card, LSMS was plagued with a host of problems including discipline issues, an unclear academic focus, a discouraged staff, and students who had embraced a failing attitude. Where was I to begin, and how was I going to turn this school around? (more…)