Guest Blogs

Focus on the “BE” before the “DO”

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

Last year, my leadership team held a two-day retreat to focus on moving from our current school building into the new one we were building at the time. As you might imagine, moving a 230,000 square foot building, in addition to implementing a new educational model centered on college, career, and life readiness, can be quite stressful and taxing. Many details needed to be coordinated, including developing a communication plan, updating multiple forms with the new address, purchasing new furniture, and much more. My team and I worked diligently to put together a list of things that we needed to get done during our two-day hiatus away from the building, and we had every intention of getting them completed before the second semester started. Then the retreat happened. (more…)

When Things Get Personal

Guest post by Crystal Newby

With another college application season about to start once again, we know that one of your students’ main concerns is the admissions essay. That’s why the National Honor Society (NHS) recently launched a series of virtual college application essay writing workshops. In one such workshop, Crystal Newby, assistant director of education and training for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), presented “Perfecting the Personal Statement.” After the presentation, Crystal prepared some strategies for you to share with your students:

I’m sure you’ve heard your parents, grandparents, or family members say the phrases, “When I was your age…” or “I’ve been in your shoes.” When I heard mine say this, I used to roll my eyes (behind my mom’s back, of course). I used to think that they couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through. It wasn’t until later in life that I appreciated what they said and came to the realization that they really did understand. (more…)

Five Simple Ways to Boost Teacher Morale

Guest post by Tara Rosipal

Administrators spend lots of time and energy creating a positive and caring student culture. Although important, what about teacher culture? How do we as school leaders help teachers stay positive and keep their morale high? (more…)

A “Pineapple Program” for Principals

Guest post by Donald Gately

Teacher peer observation is a powerful tool for professional growth and school improvement. Whether done formally or informally, peer observations help teachers enhance their knowledge base, improve classroom practices, gain new ideas for instruction, and much more. For a principal, however, it’s rare to see another principal’s work or spend time observing other schools. How can principals get feedback from their leadership peers, like teachers do, to improve their schools and grow professionally? (more…)

The Benefits of Association Involvement for School Leaders

Guest post by Cameron Soester

Four years ago, I became the assistant principal at Milford Junior/Senior High School. It was September, and the principal in my building, Brandon Mowinkel, invited me to attend the Region 1 meeting of the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP). I was unsure exactly what I was getting into, why I was going, and what I was going to do at this meeting, but as it turns out, getting involved in my region has opened many doors for me. (more…)

Finishing Strong

Guest post by Duane Kline

I’m writing on a cross-country flight from Kentucky to San Francisco with my wife and daughter. It turns out that my 22 years of parenting have brought us to the point where (a) my daughter has her own interests and a career and (b) she feels the need to “see the world.” So, she’s preparing to move to Northern California.  (more…)

The Most Important Thing a Principal Can Do

Guest post by Dennis Barger

What makes you good at what you do? I was recently asked this question in an interview, and it gave me pause to think about how it is that I have come to experience success as a principal. Everyone I know, from students and parents to friends and family, all have strengths, but what are mine as a school principal? Why is my school successful?

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In Their Words: Reflections on the State Summit Experience

This academic year, students found their voice and discovered a new means of empowerment, thanks to the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society State Summit experience. Five locations hosted the State Summit in 2016–17: southern California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Mexico. This innovative leadership development experience will be coming to more locations in 2017–18. Here, two student delegates at the Texas State Summit reflect on the day, giving a glimpse into the summit from the student perspective.

Jaden Smith
NEHS member
Fourth Grade
Holy Trinity Episcopal School, Houston, TX

During the Texas State Summit I enjoyed learning about conservation and social justice efforts. The State Summit helped me understand my relationship with the environment. The State Summit also helped me develop leadership skills and more. (more…)

Court Is Now In Session: The Collaborative Team Approach to Curbing Discipline Problems

Guest post by Andrea Dennis

Do you often feel that the bulk of your day is spent as judge, jury, and executioner? Do you recall those roles being outlined in your job description? Administrators are regarded as the chief disciplinarians within schools. When classroom instructors routinely defer to administration on myriad minor student transgressions, assistant principals drown under the tidal wave of referrals and fail to evolve into the transformative instructional leaders needed for schools to thrive. Modifying policies with innovation and cooperative methodology, however, can make redirecting student behavior a shared task and curtail office referrals schoolwide.  (more…)

Makerspaces: Learning Through Play at Portage High School 

Guest post by Robin Kvalo

As the principal of Portage High School, the term “makerspace” came into my world when I brought Naomi Harm, innovative educator consultant, to Portage High School for staff development workshops. Initially, I wasn’t sure where makerspaces would fit in a high school. However, after attending Naomi’s makerspace workshop Make Room for Makerspaces at the School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education (SLATE) convention in Wisconsin, I was hooked.  (more…)