Principal Expert of the Week

Leverage the Three Ts: Talent, Transparency, and Timeline

Guest post by Robert Nolting

When I was hired as principal of Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, IL, in 2009, it was expected that I would bring needed changes to the school. Most of us in school leadership are hired under this same expectation, but principals succeed or fail based on one simple concept: Do they bring positive change to the school? If the changes we make are negative—or none at all—we tend to leave, either on our own or through the influence of others. So how can administrators be an agent for positive change in their schools? My advice for all school leaders is to leverage the Three Ts: talent, transparency, and timeline.  (more…)

A Recipe for Success: Embracing Schoolwide Strategies to Promote an Academic Culture

Guest post by Susan Harrison-Rollins

I’m often asked for the recipe to a high-performing school. It’s a question that’s hard to answer. Of course, the recipe begins with a dedicated staff ready to embrace the many changes that come with education. And it helps to have a motivated group of students who have accepted a culture of learning. A school becomes a high-performing school when it has, through a clear and shared focus, high standards and expectations for all students, effective school leadership, high levels of collaboration and communication, frequent monitoring (of both learning and teaching), focused professional development, and a supportive learning environment with high levels of family and community involvement. Beyond these things, and maybe most important, it is paramount to devise a set of schoolwide strategies that become embedded and essential to the academic culture.  (more…)

Changing Paradigms from Adult-Centered to Student-Centered Learning in Schools: A Powerful Shift and Catalyst for Change

Guest post by Autumn Pino

I will be the first to admit that what I am about to say might be a little controversial, and maybe even a bit daunting for some.  (more…)

The End is Near—But the Beginning is Right Around the Corner!

 

We’ve all heard folks grumble that time flies faster and faster as we age. With schedules governed by school calendars each year, that sentiment seems to be most aptly applied to principals! Each year seems to go more quickly than the last, and I’m likely not the only one wondering where all the time has gone. (more…)

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…)

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…)

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?

(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…)

Integrated STEM Program at Portage High School

Guest post by Robin Kvalo

Portage High School in Portage, WI, introduced a new STEM manufacturing program for selected sophomores this 2016-17 school year. The major highlight of the program is that the students will take English, math, and science credits in the technology education and engineering labs. The core classes are integrated with technology education projects and our new “Enterprise,” our in-house manufacturing business experience. Core content teachers share classroom space with technology educators, teaming up for academic success for these individual students. (more…)