The Principalship

Quarter Deposits and Dollar Withdrawals

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

I am wrapping up what has been the most difficult year of my professional life. It was filled with a myriad of emotions, events, and circumstances that most people never get to experience in a lifetime, let alone in a single year. Between opening a new high school, having a staff member pass away as the school year started, and losing multiple students to suicide and other unfortunate accidents, I can honestly say that this year has been like no other. As principal, it is difficult to lead in circumstances like these because it ravages your school culture. Walking the halls and seeing students and staff struggling is painful. You want to put your arm around everyone and tell them that it is going to be OK, but at the same time, you are struggling too and questioning if things can return to normal. You are left wondering if your school culture can ever rebound. (more…)

Hey, High School Principal: Take a Hint from Your Students

Guest post by Annette Wallace

Like many high school principals, I find myself always thinking about how I can be a better leader. I read books, stalk amazing principals’ social media accounts, and pick the brains of great principals about ways to be a more effective leader. I am obsessed with being the best principal I can be! As I was walking down the hallway today, the thought occurred to me: What if I stopped, looked, and listened to the hints and lessons my students were giving me on how to be better principal? (more…)

Words Matter

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

A friend and colleague of mine recently shared a project that another school did and I was overcome with emotions after watching it. I challenge you to view it and not feel the heartstrings being pulled as you see the looks on the faces of each of these kids. It inspired me to do the project at my own school and the results, in my opinion, were even more powerful because they were my kids. (more…)

Ten Tips for Public Education Advocacy

Guest post by Mark Whitaker

Politics and public education have an interesting relationship. Various political groups use the public schools as a battleground to sort out legal and social issues, politicians champion or decry public education as part of a larger political platform, and state and federal legislatures pass laws and allocate funds based on their perceptions and opinions of public education. (more…)

Promoting Positive Behavior through the PARRT Program

Guest post by Jeff Schneekloth

One of the best ways school leaders can encourage positive behavior is by recognizing it when we see it. Too often, we spend so much time documenting student misbehaviors that we forget to acknowledge students when they are doing something right. Since 2011, I have had the privilege of leading Taft Middle School’s PARRT Program, which works to identify all of the positive acts and accomplishments our students do.  (more…)

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize—But Give the Rest to the Players

Guest post by Robert Nolting

 

Great coaches have a notebook, clipboard, or corkboard in their office with the big picture written down. Then, they let the players, assistant coaches, and others run with great ideas to make it happen. Principals should take cue. It is our job to create a vision for our school, but it is our teachers, students, and parents who develop the details and make our vision a reality.  (more…)

Leverage the Three Ts: Talent, Transparency, and Timeline

Guest post by Robert Nolting

When I was hired as principal of Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, IL, in 2009, it was expected that I would bring needed changes to the school. Most of us in school leadership are hired under this same expectation, but principals succeed or fail based on one simple concept: Do they bring positive change to the school? If the changes we make are negative—or none at all—we tend to leave, either on our own or through the influence of others. So how can administrators be an agent for positive change in their schools? My advice for all school leaders is to leverage the Three Ts: talent, transparency, and timeline.  (more…)

A Recipe for Success: Embracing Schoolwide Strategies to Promote an Academic Culture

Guest post by Susan Harrison-Rollins

I’m often asked for the recipe to a high-performing school. It’s a question that’s hard to answer. Of course, the recipe begins with a dedicated staff ready to embrace the many changes that come with education. And it helps to have a motivated group of students who have accepted a culture of learning. A school becomes a high-performing school when it has, through a clear and shared focus, high standards and expectations for all students, effective school leadership, high levels of collaboration and communication, frequent monitoring (of both learning and teaching), focused professional development, and a supportive learning environment with high levels of family and community involvement. Beyond these things, and maybe most important, it is paramount to devise a set of schoolwide strategies that become embedded and essential to the academic culture.  (more…)

Changing Paradigms from Adult-Centered to Student-Centered Learning in Schools: A Powerful Shift and Catalyst for Change

Guest post by Autumn Pino

I will be the first to admit that what I am about to say might be a little controversial, and maybe even a bit daunting for some.  (more…)

The End is Near—But the Beginning is Right Around the Corner!

 

We’ve all heard folks grumble that time flies faster and faster as we age. With schedules governed by school calendars each year, that sentiment seems to be most aptly applied to principals! Each year seems to go more quickly than the last, and I’m likely not the only one wondering where all the time has gone. (more…)