School Leadership

Being Wrong Isn’t Always Bad—Sometimes It’s the Right Thing to Do

Guest post by Donald Gately

There is an event that every principal anticipates with varying degrees of trepidation. It is something students are excited and nervous about as well: the year-opening school letter telling kids who their teachers are going to be.  (more…)

Building School Culture by Starting Small

Guest post by Duane Kline

I have an admission to make. It turns out that after 31 years as a public school educator, I think school culture is the most important part of schooling. More important than curriculum, more important than assessment. Additionally, its importance is not solely for the benefit of students, but for the teachers and staff members who make the school what it is for the students. (more…)

Promoting Ownership of Learning Through Student-Led Conferences

Guest post by Mike King

Located on the rolling plains of Southwest Kansas, Dodge City is a town with Wild West roots where Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holliday used to rule the land. Today, Dodge City is less lawman and gunfighters and more meatpackers and manufacturers with Cargill Meat Solutions and National Beef as the community’s top employers. As principal of Dodge City Middle School (DCMS), I am on a constant mission to cultivate opportunities for our students to develop college and career readiness skills and help them take ownership of their learning.  (more…)

10 Tips for Growing Your PLN—It’s Not Just Books and Conferences

Guest post by Heather Daubert

Several years ago, a colleague asked what professional book I was reading. I rattled off the name of a popular educational author and then shared that my greatest professional growth came through my professional learning network (PLN). The response from my colleague left me with feelings of inadequacy. Was I viewed as an ill-informed administrator because I sought professional growth from non-traditional avenues? Even though I could articulate the thinking of highly respected peers, because it did not come from a book, was it not valued?  (more…)

Prohibiting Student Protest Challenges the Very Purpose of School

By JoAnn Bartoletti

The current controversy over athletes taking a knee during the national anthem has reignited the debate over appropriate student expression. In terms of student rights, there seems little to discuss. Courts have affirmed and reaffirmed that students do not check their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate, and speech cannot be curtailed unless it creates a material disruption to the educational process. (more…)

School Leadership Starts at Home

Guest post by Steve Carlson

This year, the Carlson family finally all takes the same path in the morning. Now that my youngest is in kindergarten, my wife, three children, and I spend our days in the Sandusky Community School District. I know that many others have enjoyed this experience, but having it happen in our family has given me a new perspective. For starters, it is nice to know that the long hours I put in as Sandusky Junior/Senior High School principal have a direct impact on my family. More than this, having my entire family under the same “school roof” has motivated me to lead our school to benefit all families and taught me some valuable lessons. (more…)

My Conversation With Betsy DeVos

By JoAnn Bartoletti

Maybe it should have been enough that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos chose the 2017 NASSP Principals Institute for her first address at a major national education association event. But to maximize the opportunity, NASSP President Dan Kelley and I spoke privately with the secretary about a few top-of-mind issues for NASSP and for the school leaders we represent. (more…)

Build for Learning

Guest post by Darren Ellwein

Stanford’s d.school has had a major impact on how I view learning in my school. Founded in 2005, the d.school is an institute that brings students and faculty from different backgrounds together to tackle real-world challenges and develop innovative, human-centered solutions using design methodology.  (more…)

Creating Time for Teacher Collaboration 

Guest post by Scott Long

It is the sixth and final period, and I am in the midst of my third pep assembly of the day. Two-hundred seventh graders are shouting and raising their hands, hoping I will call their name for a 7-on-7 football-bowling competition. Beyond the high-octane atmosphere of the gym, there are eight seventh-grade teachers engaging in content-area-specific data protocol to help drive future instructional decisions. Although not nearly as fast-paced as football-bowling, these PLC meetings have a similar level of enthusiasm. As I facilitate the final assembly of the day, I take great comfort in knowing that we are supporting our teachers with the gift of time. (more…)

Why Getting Mugged by a Blockhead is a Good Thing for Teacher Retention

Guest post by Melissa D. Hensley

Central High School, an 800-student school in rural Woodstock, VA, has felt the effects of the national teacher shortage this year. We replaced a third of our staff as teachers left for higher paying jobs or relocated to take positions closer to their family. This high turnover rate alarmed us and caused our staff to discuss the impact of teacher turnover and develop a teacher-led strategic plan to increase retention. These efforts have led to a renewed commitment from our teachers to support each other and strengthen our school community.  (more…)