The Principalship

Meet the Principal of the Year Finalists

NASSP is pleased to announce the 2020 NASSP National Principal of the Year (POY) finalists! The selected principals represent Georgia, Maryland, and Massachusetts and have shown their commitment to Building Culture and Leading Learning—the two domains of NASSP’s Building Ranks™ framework that is newly aligned with the POY application process—within their schools. These three principals exemplify how essential the school leader is to the success and well-being of each student and adult in their learning communities. (more…)

After the Hire: Steps to Onboard New Teachers

It’s now the middle of July, and most principals have completed the hiring process—the most important job for administrators. However, I contend the hiring process extends beyond interviews and job offers. In fact, the steps we take after assembling our team are critical to teacher retention. With most schools feeling the impact of a nationwide teacher shortage, supporting newly hired teachers through effective onboarding is the best way to ensure a successful transition and to increase the likelihood your new hires will remain in your building throughout their career. (more…)

A Sweet Way to Infuse Career Education

Every principal wants to make career readiness a priority. The problem many schools face is that there aren’t easy ways to fit it into an already packed array of required courses and subjects. I have seen schools push career programming into classes such as family and consumer science, technology, or even health. Unfortunately, each of those courses have other standards and objectives that lead to difficult curriculum decisions to fit it all in. (more…)

Waist High in Sand: Staying Focused on What’s Important

At first, the image of being surrounded by sand might be appealing. Personally, being on any beach with loved ones is one of my favorite places to be. But in the era of high stakes testing and the burden of ultimate accountability for a school’s success or failure resting squarely on the shoulders of the building leadership, not sweating the small stuff can make it difficult to stay out of the sand some days, weeks, or longer. Let this serve as a reminder about staying focused on what is truly important. (more…)

Reflections on Exceptional Teachers

When I think back on my teachers who were most effective, there is something they all had in common: They seemed excited to be teaching us. Teachers should always be aware of the attitude and energy they bring into class. I promise you—the students are aware of it. (more…)

Dive Into Deeper Learning Through Make-A-Thons

A key focus at LaCreole Middle School has been deeper learning, both what it is and what it looks like. We explore deeper learning by finding ways to immerse our entire school community in innovative experiences so that they can engage as a learner again. One of our best experiences is the make-a-thon, which we use in both professional development sessions and special community engagement events. (more…)

Build Relationships with Students in 3 Seconds

Every day in schools, educators have quick breaks during instruction, between class changes, and in hallways where the focus isn’t on learning. I believe that these three-second moments are important opportunities to build relationships between students and staff that contribute to a school’s positive culture. What are you doing with the three-second moments you have with each student you encounter? (more…)

Leveraging Technology to Bring Homebound Students into Classrooms

Two teachers at our school both have Kevin, a sixth grader, as a student in their class. Kevin went to one of the elementary schools that many of our kids attended. They know him. He’s registered and has a student ID number. His particulars, even his photo, are in the student management system. He’s been assigned to a sixth-grade middle school team of two teachers, Lauren and Bess. But Kevin has an illness that prevents him from coming to school for the present time. He’s going to get better, but he has yet to step foot in our school building. Consider how difficult that must be for this boy. (more…)

Digital Resources to Use for Immediate Growth

Whether you’re an experienced educator or just getting started, you will always have moments of self-doubt that may leave you confused or unable to make the important decisions we as educational leaders must make. I will admit, when I first started out in administration, self-doubt happened more often than I desired. As I began to expand my Personal Learning Network (PLN), my doubts as a leader began to diminish. One of the ways my PLN helped me was by sharing a wealth of digital resources that guided me through a variety of daily situations that principals encounter. (more…)

Look to the Future and Break From Tradition for Student Success

This month I oversee my 13th graduation ceremony as a New Hampshire high school principal. Between the tones of the bagpipers that usher my graduates to the stage to the tears of joy from family and friends, I see nothing but hope, drive, and optimism in my students’ eyes as they wait for the moment their teachers have been talking about for many years. My students, like so many across the nation, are about to enter a brave new world. It is one in which their ability to engage in soft skills such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management will determine the extent of their success. These skills, according to the World Economic Forum, are the most in-demand skills companies are looking for today. (more…)