Professional Development

The Multidimensional Impact of School Climate

Guest post by Cheryl Spittler

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 has ushered in a new paradigm for student achievement that now includes nonacademic indictors in addition to measuring proficiency in math, English language arts, and English-language proficiency (for English-language learners), as well as high school graduation rates. These nonacademic indicators are aimed at providing a broader measure of student performance and include:  (more…)

See Your School Through the Eyes of a Student

To discover new ways to make our schools ever better places to learn, we have to understand the school experience—but as the students see it, not as we believe it to be.

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My Experience with Powerful Professional Development

Guest post by Daniel Kelley

Principals across the country may face their own set of unique challenges, but one fact applies to all of them: They need greater support and training.

I say this for many reasons, but the top one is this: School leadership is one of the most important influences on student achievement, second only to quality instruction. This is huge. And if principals don’t receive quality professional development (PD) on a regular basis, it is the students who will suffer. (more…)

Edcamp Leadership: A One-of-a-kind Professional Learning Experience

If you’re like most school leaders, you have sat through countless hours of presentations and videos—some compulsory, some of your own choosing—that bear the broad label professional development. Typically, you’re talked at, given a few minutes to discuss, then talked at some more. This still-pervasive model reinforces a few damaging assumptions about professional learning. The first is the assumption that your professional learning is a passive activity—something that happens to you, not something you control and direct. The second is that professional learning is an information dump—the transfer of knowledge from an illuminated sage to, well, the rest of us. (more…)

New CTE and High School Redesign Bill Introduced in Senate

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced a new bipartisan bill on Thursday called the CTE Excellence and Equity Act. The act is intended to amend Title II of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to support innovative approaches to career and technical education, and redesign the high school experience for students. The goal is for students to engage in real-world, relevant education through partnerships with businesses and higher education so that they enroll in postsecondary education without the need for remediation and with a set of 21st-century skills. (more…)

Sign of the Times: Webinars Tackle Terrorism

As we all know, your school’s success is tied to much more than student academic performance. School security, and the emotional and physical well being of your students, staff, and community, are examples of other important issues that must be managed well in our present educational and societal climate. To that end, in December, educators from around the country had the opportunity to tune in to two webinars, courtesy of NASSP, on terrorism—an all too relevant topic today.

Throughout the year, NASSP offers free professional development webinars that provide discussion and instruction on timely topics and tools for education leaders. (Fees for nonmembers vary.) (more…)

Principals, School Counselors, and U.S. Army Gather for Leadership, Professional Development

It was a meeting of great minds in education this past fall at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Thirty-seven secondary school principals and school counselors joined senior Army leaders and education experts for the third annual U.S. Army Leadership and Professional Development Symposium, a collaboration between the U.S. Army and NASSP. During the three-day meeting, Army and education leaders (including former NASSP president G.A. Buie) discussed best practices in leadership development and exchanged ideas about improving the state of education for students and schools.

New to the 2015 symposium were representatives from the American School Counselor Association. As the school counselors joined the ranks of their principal colleagues, the group of educators drew energy and new ideas from their peers, also drawing on the perspective and experiences of Army leaders in attendance. (more…)

Edcamp Leadership: A Rich Professional Development Experience

Guest post by Larry Rother

If you haven’t attended an Edcamp or even heard of an Edcamp, you’re not alone. These “unconferences” bring together K–12 educators for a day of collaboration and learning with no preset agenda. NASSP was the first organization to include an EdCamp in their national conference at Ignite ’15, and supported the Edcamp Leadership event this past summer.

On July 13, 2015, this Edcamp Leadership event was hosted in 17 cities across the nation and was attended by 1,500+ school leaders comprised of principals, assistant principals, lead teachers, department chairs, and more. And for most of us, it was our first time attending an Edcamp.

Yes, if you caught that last part, I said “our first time” because prior to Edcamp Leadership Phoenix, I hadn’t attended a full Edcamp. Despite my inexperience, I actually hosted the Edcamp Leadership event in Phoenix with my good friend and colleague Dan Kelley, Principal of Smithfield High School in Rhode Island.  (more…)

Rallying Support for #PD4Principals

We know that the principalship is important, but only in recent years have we been able to quantify just how important. More than a decade of rigorous research by the Wallace Foundation has confirmed that the quality of leadership is second only to the quality of instruction in school-based factors that affect student learning. But do not let that “second” label lead you to believe schools can do without effective leadership. The Wallace Foundation was unable to identify a single instance of a school turning around to become high achieving without a strong, skillful leader. To further quantify the principal’s impact, a research project led by Robert Marzano calculated that a full 25 percent of schoolwide achievement can be attributed to how the principal chooses to dedicate time, what the principal emphasizes, and the culture the principal fosters. (more…)