School Leadership

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…)

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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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…)

Helping Students Overcome Behavioral Issues: The RISE Intervention Program

Guest post by David Caruso

Though many students successfully navigate their middle school years, some students lose focus, have tremendous difficulty developing positive relationships, often avoid work, and engage in extremely disruptive behavior—all of which impede academic and social progress. As administrators, we know well that these are the students whose problematic behaviors, if not corrected, will result in frequent visits to the office for discipline.  (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…)