Guest Blogs

Know What Matters and Make It Work 

Guest post by Angela K. Doll

A parent request for hourly behavior updates.

A student sent to the office for repeatedly trying to staple himself to his chair.

A community member’s plan to improve the school by eliminating all technology. (more…)

Raising Student Voices to Strengthen School Communities

Guest post by Robert Nolting

For many students, school seems to be done to them, not with them. At Victor J. Andrew High School (VJA) in Tinley Park, IL, we make it a point to raise a student’s voice not only as a spotlight, but a headlight—leading the way, we carry on throughout the year. At VJA, this starts with our Senior Leaders and Principal’s Advisory groups.  (more…)

Digital Leaders Read to Succeed

Guest post by Bobby Dodd

 

I will always remember the first leadership book I read as an administrator. I had recently read Diane Coutu’s piece, “Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln” in the Harvard Business Review, discussing the greatest leadership characteristics of Lincoln. As I began to do more research on Lincoln and read more about his legacy, my wife purchased the book Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips. I can still remember the stories from Lincoln’s days as president and the knowledge I gained on leadership throughout the book. (more…)

Creating a Culture of Leadership in Schools

Guest post by Doug Crowley

As a principal, an assistant principal, or a director at a district office, leadership is sort of “there” for your taking; you are viewed as a leader by virtue of your title. At DeForest Area High School in Wisconsin, our “titled” leaders work hard to create a culture where staff and students feel comfortable and, dare say, entitled to find ways to lead. How can school leaders create this same culture of leadership and encourage their staff and students to take the lead? (more…)

Building Your School Leader Tribe

Guest post by Annette Wallace

My professional learning network—or as I like to call them, my tribe—is a group of people whose ideas, opinions, and research inform and motivate me as a school leader. I found most of these people online, but I also have used my online presence to develop more educationally meaningful relationships with educators in my district who I often don’t have time to work with face-to-face. I’ve come to appreciate that professional development is my responsibility and taking charge of my own learning has helped me improve as a leader in my own school and district, as well as the wider education community.  (more…)

Career Gears: Preparing Students Today for Tomorrow’s Opportunities

Guest post by Ryan Rismiller

With so much going on in education policy these days, it’s easy sometimes to lose focus of what matters most—students. At Graham High School, we are using a program we call Career Gears to provide relevant opportunities for our students district-wide. Working with stakeholders throughout the community, we create relevant experiences that can help students identify their career interests and build professional skills and relationships for the future.  (more…)

Change the Preposition: No More Choice “of” Schools, Choice IN Schools

Guest post by Kevin Lein

Throughout my career in education, various school choice initiatives have come and gone, but now school choice has the backing of our current political administration and Secretary DeVos. As a staunch advocate of public education, I am deeply troubled by these efforts to undermine and dismantle the progress we have made in our public schools. I believe that the solution to the question of school choice lies not in offering choices between schools, but rather in promoting choice initiatives within our public schools.  (more…)

Tips to Build a Culture of Innovation

Guest post by Jamie Richardson

School leaders talk often about innovation in education, but as much as we want it, we have to admit it’s hard to get past talking about it and actually change. Change is scary and uncomfortable. Even with well thought out plans, the outcome is unknown and the stakes are high. A far greater risk, though, is maintaining the status quo. But I have seen the power of change at LaCreole Middle School. Our stellar staff faces their fears, takes risks, and embraces new ideas so that we all work toward a true common goal. (more…)

Take Time Out to Learn from Your Peers—and Help Your School in the Process

Guest post by Lenore M. Kingsmore

When I received the call that I was the New Jersey Principal of the Year, I was elated. Receiving my award in the nation’s capital would be a highlight of my career—and it was —but what was more important were the rich professional development opportunities I received that I had not imagined were possible. The NASSP Principals Institute breathed new life into me as a school leader, expanded my vision of leadership, and catapulted me into the 21st century of professional learning.  (more…)

Three “Secret” Ingredients for Building Strong Classrooms

Guest post by Amber Schroering

Brownsburg East Middle School (BEMS) is a community that takes great pride in the achievements of its students and staff. For many years, BEMS has topped the rankings for academic excellence in all of the areas of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP). In fact, many visit our school and district to learn about our “secret sauce,” or how we consistently get high achievement from our students. One of our “secret ingredients” involves a commitment from our faculty to incorporate three classroom management techniques that ensure a strong culture conducive to high levels of learning.  (more…)