Guest post by Nathan Boyd
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a school principal is that children need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to perform at their full potential. If students’ physical and emotional needs are not being met, their minds will not be ready to engage. Sounds obvious, right? Actually, creating the right conditions for students to learn is one of the biggest challenges for us as educators, because so many factors are beyond our immediate control. (more…)
Guest post by Melissa King-Knowles
When I was a teacher, I started using feedback looping processes to survey my high school students about particular units and methods of assessment. I asked what they liked and didn’t like and sought input on my teaching practice. With their brutal (ahem, I mean beautiful) honesty, students brought me to my knees on a couple of occasions. (more…)
Guest post by Brandon Mowinkel
In a day and age where public schools seem to be under constant scrutiny, it is vital that principals become advocates for our schools and the students we serve, sharing our stories of success and the challenges we face. When I became an administrator, I would have never imagined that I would be in regular contact with my state and federal representatives to ensure a high-quality education for all students. Stories matter, and it is our responsibility to be sure they are being told. (more…)
Guest post by Carrie Jackson
Do you wonder whether or not all stakeholders on your campus clearly understand your expectations? For example, do all staff members, students, and families know your expectations for interactions with one another? For grading practices? For student arrival and dismissal? (more…)
Guest post by Amber Rudolph
Robin Williams once stated, “All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul, and they will never notice how broken you really are.” Sadly, these painful words mirrored Williams’ true feelings, as he succumbed to suicide after a long struggle with addiction and his mental health. Like Williams, many adolescents also mask their painful struggles with abuse, neglect, bullying, and other traumas. How do we as administrators create a supportive environment that addresses the often-hidden emotional lives of our students? (more…)
Guest post by Brian M. Stack
As school principals, most of us are measured by how many of our students “meet the standard” for getting to the next level, and therefore, we often focus first on making sure that failing students don’t fall too far behind. But what if this is the wrong metric and the wrong mentality? The fact is, the way we measure educational achievement today puts too much emphasis on staying above the bare minimum, rather than aiming as high as possible. And I’m not just talking about helping the most gifted students do even better. Too many of our students at all levels have figured out how to be “successful” without mastering all of the skills they actually need. If we are to truly advance learning in our schools, something needs to change, and it needs to change fast. (more…)
Guest post by Ryan Maxwell
Teachers these days are constantly being told that they must “take ownership” for all of their students to meet the standards and succeed. But at the same time, teachers often receive mixed messages from their own school leadership that raise doubts about whether the leaders above them really believe in these goals. At Sunnyside High School (SHS) in Sunnyside, WA , our school leadership focuses on supporting teachers so that they can fully support their students. When teachers’ efficacy is high, they are much more likely to support their own students. The manner in which SHS leadership builds teacher efficacy is through a unified message of teacher ownership. It begins with administrative leadership believing and internalizing the following quote from the distinguished educator and author Carl D. Glickman: (more…)
Guest post by Jethro Jones
We often give lip service to the idea of empowering students.
Yes, we all agree it is important, but the adults in the building are the ones who really know best.
Yes, kids’ ideas matter, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about.
Yes, kids have good ideas, but the adults still take credit for those ideas. (more…)
Guest post by Angela K. Doll
A parent request for hourly behavior updates.
A student sent to the office for repeatedly trying to staple himself to his chair.
A community member’s plan to improve the school by eliminating all technology. (more…)
Guest post by Robert Nolting
For many students, school seems to be done to them, not with them. At Victor J. Andrew High School (VJA) in Tinley Park, IL, we make it a point to raise a student’s voice not only as a spotlight, but a headlight—leading the way, we carry on throughout the year. At VJA, this starts with our Senior Leaders and Principal’s Advisory groups. (more…)