School Leadership

Four Mindsets to LEAP Into Innovation 

Guest post by Bill Ziegler

How can principals lead learning in a way where students want to run to school rather than away from it? This challenge can be daunting, but it’s one that requires our full focus as we strive to design schools where students see a practical and relevant connection, creativity being nurtured, and real-world problems being solved. This requires school leaders to think differently, to innovate, and to lead with courage.  (more…)

The Importance of Staff “Floor Time” and Immersive School Leadership

Guest post by Chris Koch

As a parent of three young girls, I was introduced long ago to the concept of “floor time,” or getting down on the floor and playing with your kids. Through the years, I have been a student in my daughters’ classrooms, a customer at their homemade arts and crafts store, and a judge in a spontaneous dance off. Quality floor time is fun and helps me build deeper relationships with my daughters. It means so much more to my kids than just sitting on the couch and casually watching them play. (more…)

What an NFL Coach Can Teach High School Administrators

Guest post by Jay R. Townsend

What do NFL coaches and high school administrators have in common? Certainly not the pay or the publicity. But they both build people and teams. And you can learn a lot about how to build a winning school team from former NFL head coach Tony Dungy. I have been a huge fan of Dungy’s leadership style, and the lessons that I have learned from his book The Mentor Leader have helped me design a strong playbook for my students and staff. (more…)

Designing an After-School Program to Maximize Student Achievement

Guest post by Abbey Duggins

Saluda High School (SHS) works hard to ensure that all of our 600 students in rural South Carolina receive a high-quality education and possess the world-class knowledge and skills described in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. To accomplish this goal, we’ve expanded our academic programing so that all of our students—from the academically motivated to our most at risk—can access appropriate learning experiences that will help them realize their full potential.  (more…)

Strong Leaders Find Time to Take Care of Themselves

Guest post by Annette Wallace

Thirteen days into my principalship, at the age of 30, I suddenly and violently lost my father. He struggled with mental health issues and alcohol addiction for years  and tragically succumbed to suicide.

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Ten Tips to Build Stronger Relationships and Start the School Year Off Right 

Guest post by Amber Rudolph

It’s that time of year again when parents count down the days until school begins, while their children sleep until noon, fight with their siblings, and abuse their screen time. Kids might not tell you, but they too are ready for the school year to begin. They miss their friends and school life.  (more…)

Making Sense of the Data Madness

Guest post Ryan Rismiller

 

As I make plans for the upcoming school year, I review our school data. Though we’ve made considerable progress, the data says we’re not where we need to be. Despite our school team’s tireless efforts, we need to do more to narrow the achievement gap, raise graduation rates, improve math and English proficiency, and more. Frustrated, I ask myself, what more can we do to move the needle when it comes to our data?  (more…)

Collateral Culture: The School You Didn’t Know You Were Building

Guest post by Danny Steele

We all know the culture of our school is important, and you understand that building a strong one is how school leaders can impact student achievement. You intuitively understand that schools need to be safe; they need to foster collaboration; and they need to stay focused on the needs of the students. But don’t ever underestimate the small things you do on a daily basis that contribute to the strength of your school culture. (more…)

Systematic Intervention Placement for Incoming Ninth Graders

Guest post by Beth Middendorf

What else could I have done to support that freshman academically in the first six weeks of school? I found myself asking this question each time I transitioned a freshman class to Parkway West High School. By the time we had sufficient in-progress data to review, too many freshmen were already struggling academically. Repeatedly, I observed students’ confidence and effort levels decrease when I needed them to be open-minded to academic interventions. Because of our reactive approach to intervention placement, some freshmen were not able to recover and experience success. (more…)

Quarter Deposits and Dollar Withdrawals

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

I am wrapping up what has been the most difficult year of my professional life. It was filled with a myriad of emotions, events, and circumstances that most people never get to experience in a lifetime, let alone in a single year. Between opening a new high school, having a staff member pass away as the school year started, and losing multiple students to suicide and other unfortunate accidents, I can honestly say that this year has been like no other. As principal, it is difficult to lead in circumstances like these because it ravages your school culture. Walking the halls and seeing students and staff struggling is painful. You want to put your arm around everyone and tell them that it is going to be OK, but at the same time, you are struggling too and questioning if things can return to normal. You are left wondering if your school culture can ever rebound. (more…)