The Principalship

Raising Student Voices to Strengthen School Communities

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…)

Building Your School Leader Tribe

Guest post by Annette Wallace

My professional learning network—or as I like to call them, my tribe—is a group of people whose ideas, opinions, and research inform and motivate me as a school leader. I found most of these people online, but I also have used my online presence to develop more educationally meaningful relationships with educators in my district who I often don’t have time to work with face-to-face. I’ve come to appreciate that professional development is my responsibility and taking charge of my own learning has helped me improve as a leader in my own school and district, as well as the wider education community.  (more…)

Change the Preposition: No More Choice “of” Schools, Choice IN Schools

Guest post by Kevin Lein

Throughout my career in education, various school choice initiatives have come and gone, but now school choice has the backing of our current political administration and Secretary DeVos. As a staunch advocate of public education, I am deeply troubled by these efforts to undermine and dismantle the progress we have made in our public schools. I believe that the solution to the question of school choice lies not in offering choices between schools, but rather in promoting choice initiatives within our public schools.  (more…)

Take Time Out to Learn from Your Peers—and Help Your School in the Process

Guest post by Lenore M. Kingsmore

When I received the call that I was the New Jersey Principal of the Year, I was elated. Receiving my award in the nation’s capital would be a highlight of my career—and it was —but what was more important were the rich professional development opportunities I received that I had not imagined were possible. The NASSP Principals Institute breathed new life into me as a school leader, expanded my vision of leadership, and catapulted me into the 21st century of professional learning.  (more…)

Cooling Down and Perking Up: Restorative Practices for Student Success

Guest post by John Bartlett

It was a normal morning during my second year as a teacher. I got to school early and went to the office to get my second cup of coffee before school started. On the way back to class, it happened—a girl fight. As an educator, you know what I am talking about. You also know that generally girl fights are much more difficult to separate than boy fights. As I stepped in between the two female combatants as their hands clutched at each other’s hair, one of the duelists knocked my coffee cup out of my hand to meet its ultimate demise on the tile floor. Coffee went everywhere including on the two girls. Long story short, their parents were not happy. They reported to the principal that I had poured coffee all over their “innocent” young ladies.  (more…)

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…)

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…)