School Leadership

Safe Schools: Are You Ready?

Guest post by Jeff Simon

Many are concerned about the growing reports of school safety incidents. According to the Educator’s School Safety Network, U.S. schools experienced 745 bomb threats in the 2015–16 academic year. And since 2013, there have been 210 school shootings, as reported by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. This escalation of school threats and violence is generating fear and anxiety in students, parents, and educators and wasting precious learning time.

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Graduation: How Do We Get Students There?

Guest post by Ginni McDonald

Graduation is something every student should have the opportunity to experience. Aside from the indisputable benefits of a high school diploma, the preparations for graduation—the career action plans, the individualized academic plans, and the conferences—assist students in making choices that are right for them and their future. How do we connect with students to ensure they are on the road to graduation? There is no single answer to this question simply because each student is unique. (more…)

Using Restorative Circles to Build Accountability and Empathy

Guest post by Heberto Hinojosa, Jr.

In Texas and many other states across the country, school districts are abandoning or limiting the use of traditional exclusionary discipline practices such as detention, in-school suspension, and suspension to tackle student behavior issues that affect the learning process. Instead, many campuses are turning to restorative discipline to help teachers and administrators prevent and respond to behavior problems. (more…)

Changing Grading and Reporting Practices to Enhance Student Learning

Guest post by Tom Dodd

Three years ago, our teachers began changing the way they assess student progress at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. Standard/criterion/competency-based grading and reporting, as it’s commonly known, allows teachers to authentically evaluate student learning progress based on state academic standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), or in our case, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) Aims and Objectives to better communicate levels of academic performance and work habits. (more…)

The Model Classroom: A Makerspace for Teachers

Guest post by John Carder

By now, most educators have heard the term “makerspace.” The idea of a makerspace originated outside of the school setting as a place for community members to design and create manufactured work that wouldn’t be possible to create without the space. School makerspaces give students a place to work individually and collaboratively through hands-on creative projects that encourage them to design, experiment, repurpose, and innovate.  (more…)

This New Year, Resolve to Develop a Growth Mindset and Build an Instructional Identity

Guest post by Justin Cameron

Resolutions. Most of us make them. Personal resolutions and professional resolutions are too often prey to self-fulfilling prophecy resulting from a mindset that the resolution will be broken. Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth, architects of growth mindset and grit, can help shift that thinking. Their extensive work is worth exploring.

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Thinking Outside the Box with Student Leadership

Guest post by Clint Williams 

Skyridge Middle School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) program is an active organization that makes our school a great place to be. Our student leaders organize school celebrations and spirit weeks, plan assemblies and recognition luncheons, mentor our sixth-grade students, and much more. They are the face of our school and our best ambassadors. But there is one big problem with ASB: It is so popular that we have to turn away a large number of students each year who want to become leaders, because space is limited. I realize this is a great problem to have, but it is a challenge, nonetheless. What can we do to provide students more ways to get involved and lead?  (more…)

The Principal and Political Influence

Guest post by Jay R. Masterson

The saying “all politics is local” has special relevance when it comes to K–12 education policy. Communities care deeply about how their children are educated. Everyone wants great outcomes but there are always differences of opinion about how to get there. Too often decisions are made without input from the individuals best positioned to inform these choices—principals.

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Expanding on Student Passion: Getting Creative with Career and Technical Education

Guest post by Cameron Soester

Milford High School places great importance on non-core classes. Our career and technical education (CTE) courses and organizations have experienced tremendous success over the years. Much of this success is due to the dedicated staff members who do whatever it takes to allow students to explore their passions within the curriculum. To maintain the strength of these programs, we have devoted time and effort to renew and rejuvenate our CTE programs. (more…)

Every Student Matters

Guest post by John C. Bartlett

When I woke up the morning after Election Day, my to-do list had a new priority: a visit to my English language learner classroom and a conversation with our 50 students who were getting their first taste of American democracy at work. What did these students want and need from me and their teachers? These students wanted to know that they matter, that someone cared about them, and that they were safe. Essentially, they wanted to know what every student needs to know when they walk through the front door of our schools every day. (more…)