Principal Expert of the Week

Yesterday’s Video Gamers Are Today’s Engaged Learners

Guest post by Kathryn Procope

 

Whether it’s Madden NFL 17 and Call of Duty or Candy Crush and Words with Friends, both kids and adults today are spending countless hours playing video games. This time is generally regarded as unproductive or, worse yet, detrimental to one’s well-being.  (more…)

Career Academies: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Guest post by Darrin M. Peppard

Steve, a veteran math teacher, asked, “Why do we do our learning walks in classrooms that don’t match with our own content area?” With a confused look, I responded, “Because you don’t really teach content, Steve, you teach kids, and kids need transferable skills more than they need content.” (more…)

What I Learned in D.C.: Advocacy Matters

Guest post by Steve Carlson

A principal has many things to do—too many, in fact. This makes prioritizing crucial.
It can also mean that we also sometimes neglect things that just don’t have the urgency of a student crisis, a concerned parent, or a homecoming dance. But as I expand my personal learning network (PLN) I have increasingly come to realize that advocacy for education is something to which I needed to devote more energy. It’s important that we not only recognize the important work of principals but remember that advocacy—for our students and our schools—is part of that important work. (more…)

Cultivating Character: One School’s Story

Guest post by Bill Coon, Ed.D.

You enter a social studies classroom and are immediately greeted by a student who welcomes you and introduces himself. The student explains the learning target, or the tangible learning goal he or she can understand and work towards, and then he explains the Habits of Scholarship, or character, target. He shares that today’s Habit of Scholarship is, “I can work collaboratively with my peers to draft a thesis statement for an essay about Peter the Great.” The student invites you to sit down and enjoy the class. After you sit down at a table with three other students, the students unpack the learning targets together and then break into small groups to begin their work for the day. As an observer, you begin to see multiple examples of collaboration in each group.

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Always Remember … You Wanted This Job

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal, EdD

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. It was nine years ago, and I was just finishing up my first week as a brand-new assistant principal. I had been preparing myself to be an assistant principal for years and finally had landed the job I so desperately wanted. The excitement of the job was overwhelming, and I was overjoyed that I was going to be able to put my educational administration and supervision degree to work. (more…)

Making Student Character Development a Top Priority

Guest post by Carey Dahncke

Christel House Academy is a charter school that educates impoverished students in the urban core of Indianapolis, IN. Our faculty works hard to educate the whole child and help students grow not only academically, but also as people. To support this focus, we developed a program called Character & Habits of Work, or CHoW, which is an ongoing and deliberate effort to foster and examine these important traits in students.  (more…)

Student Voice: Empowering the Student Learner

Guest post by Ted Huff

Within our educational system, and at the heart of all that we do, exists the proverbial “student desk.” In that seat rests the most powerful, engaging, and often untapped school resource. By taking and making time to include student perspective and voice within the academic, social, and behavioral facets of the school day, you will witness increased student engagement, greater student buy-in, and decreased behavior concerns.

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Lining It Up: Using Principal Areas of Influence to Improve Student Performance

Guest post by Kevin Grawer

A school leader must know the answer to the following question: “What do I as the principal actually have control over?” Throughout my time as principal, I have had complete or partial “authority” over the following:

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Shifting Toward Proficiency-Based Grading—Two Key Strategies

Guest post by Alan Tenreiro

Like many schools, Cumberland High School in Rhode Island has been wrestling for years with the standards-era question: How do we shift our grading system to reflect genuine mastery and not just compliance? This question, reflected most recently in NASSP’s position statement on competency-based education, prompted us to design a proficiency-based grading system based on student performance levels, which is then translated into a numerical grade. The performance-level rubric promotes consistent scoring across all teachers in all disciplines, relying on moderate, strong, and distinguished command of the standard. And, perhaps most important, students also receive feedback on how they can improve their performance.

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