Principal Expert of the Week

Do Your School Rituals Reflect Your School’s Most Noble Aims?

Guest post by Derek Pierce

What are the annual events at your school that get your students the most excited? Does your faculty feel the same way? What do your school’s biggest traditions say about what your school most values?  (more…)

The Power of a Personalized Culture

There is a great deal of attention and focus in education today surrounding the idea of providing personalized instruction to every student. Providing instruction specific to each individual student can greatly enhance the educational experience. However, personalized instruction means little if students aren’t valued as individuals within the culture of the school. (more…)

Making the Most of a Principal’s Time, Tasks, and Professional Development

Guest post by Donald Gately

I read with great interest the letter from NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti in this January’s issue of Principal Leadership. She references a report issued recently by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) about how principals spend their time. I want to react to the three key findings noted in JoAnn’s letter.

The first of these findings is completely unsurprising: The average principal spends 59 hours a week on the job. (more…)

Instructional Collaborators: Guiding Teachers to Continuous Improvement

Guest post by Melissa D. Hensley

Throughout my tenure as a middle and high school principal, the consistent request from teachers has been for ongoing, non-evaluative feedback about their pedagogical practices. Early in my career, this meant completing classroom walkthroughs, collecting data about instructional strategies, and offering recommendations. Providing this general feedback took a lot of time and often failed to improve instruction. I wondered, how could I help teachers get the ongoing feedback they wanted in a more efficient and effective way? (more…)

100%: Fantasy or Reality?

Guest post by Margaret Calvert

As school leaders, we define success in numerous ways. Higher attendance rates. Improved reading and math proficiency. Increased achievement on assessments. But the ultimate measure in high school is graduation. In this measure, we strive to earn a 100 percent, like any good student. However, most of us believe that this exemplary standard exists only in the realm of our imagination and is impossibly beyond our reach. But what if we change our thinking? What if we make our goal to reach 100 percent and expect that all of our students find success? (more…)

Less is More: Shifting to a Trimester Schedule

Guest post by Britton Hart

We had a problem at Emporia High School—failure rates were going up but the time and money available to address student needs stayed the same. For several years, there had been a steady increase in economically disadvantaged and ELL populations. Our leadership team needed to find a solution using existing resources that helped us address the educational challenges of our evolving student population. (more…)

Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

Guest post by Danny Steele 

Dear Principal: I suspect you’re tired. It is easy to get discouraged. Some principals may even be disillusioned. As Tim Messick noted, “Job descriptions are written in such a way that a principal needs to be a superhero. A principal needs to have the power and strength of Superman, the intelligence of Albert Einstein, the popularity of Princess Diana, the political savvy of a presidential candidate, and the care and compassion of Mother Teresa.” (more…)

Graduation: How Do We Get Students There?

Guest post by Ginni McDonald

Graduation is something every student should have the opportunity to experience. Aside from the indisputable benefits of a high school diploma, the preparations for graduation—the career action plans, the individualized academic plans, and the conferences—assist students in making choices that are right for them and their future. How do we connect with students to ensure they are on the road to graduation? There is no single answer to this question simply because each student is unique. (more…)

Changing Grading and Reporting Practices to Enhance Student Learning

Guest post by Tom Dodd

Three years ago, our teachers began changing the way they assess student progress at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. Standard/criterion/competency-based grading and reporting, as it’s commonly known, allows teachers to authentically evaluate student learning progress based on state academic standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), or in our case, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) Aims and Objectives to better communicate levels of academic performance and work habits. (more…)

This New Year, Resolve to Develop a Growth Mindset and Build an Instructional Identity

Guest post by Justin Cameron

Resolutions. Most of us make them. Personal resolutions and professional resolutions are too often prey to self-fulfilling prophecy resulting from a mindset that the resolution will be broken. Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth, architects of growth mindset and grit, can help shift that thinking. Their extensive work is worth exploring.

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