Principal Difference

National Principals Month: #ThankAPrincipal Recap

National Principals Month made its mark across the country throughout the month of October. The annual celebration recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great.

On the national and state level, resolutions were passed in honor of the month, and more than 14 schools hosted Department of Education officials for shadowing visits. As a combined celebration for both National Principals Month and Connected Educators Month, a series of Twitter chats for connected principals (#CPchat) were held in October to provide school leaders with the opportunity to connect and learn from each other. (more…)

Alan Tenreiro Named 2016 NASSP National Principal of the Year

Alan TenreiroKicking off National Principals Month with a bang, NASSP named Principal Alan Tenreiro the 2016 National Principal of the Year today in a surprise assembly at his school.

Tenreiro has been principal of Cumberland High School in Cumberland, RI, since 2012, and has already made a huge impact.

Attending the ceremony today was Gov. Gina Raimondo, Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, numerous state and local officials, students, teachers, and Tenreiro’s family.

Under Tenreiro’s leadership, Cumberland High School has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students gaining admission to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. (more…)

Helping Tomorrow’s Principals Find Their Path to Leadership

The best principal preparation programs actively seek the best leadership talent, then cultivate that talent in a safe environment where aspiring leaders can make mistakes, consider their behavior, and try again.

These are consistent themes among the five principal-preparation programs awarded a Principals Path to Leadership grant, announced today by American Express and NASSP.

The winners—selected from more than 70 applicants—will receive a total of approximately $2.5 million to increase their capacity and impact over the next three years with an eye toward long-term sustainability. The grants are awarded at a time of heightened awareness of principals’ crucial roles in school improvements.

The five winning organizations and programs are: (more…)

Happy National Principals Month from NASSP!

To help kick off National Principals Month, some of us on the NASSP staff are sharing memories of and thanks to the principals who have had an impact on our lives. Share your story in the comments or on social media using #ThankAPrincipal!

Amanda Karhuse, Director of Advocacy:

“I had attended Montessori school and didn’t go to my neighborhood public school for kindergarten, so I was really nervous on my first day of 1st grade. The principal, Dr. Lionel Seitzer, was new to the school that year, and he met me at the school door and shared that he was also nervous because it was his first day too. He walked me to the classroom, and then introduced me to my teacher and the other students before heading back to his office. I just really remembered feeling comforted and thankful that he had taken the time out of his busy day to make one new student feel welcomed.” (more…)

What Is the Promise of Educational Technology?

Guest post by Chris Lehmann

Since the early 1980s, K-12 schools have been enamored with the promise of educational technology. Computers were going to revolutionize education, and yet, I’d argue that the changes we’ve seen in school due to technological innovation lag far behind what we have seen in the rest of society. In many ways, education has proven to be powerfully resistant to the changes we have seen in every other sector of our world.

I’d argue it’s because, too often, we’ve tried to make technology use in school allow us to do what we’ve always done, only slightly more efficiently.

And that’s a shame. If the best we can imagine technological innovation in our schools to be is the next generation VCR and Scantron, then the failure of our vision is both great and terrible. (more…)

Get Ready for National Principals Month

October is just around the corner and that means so is National Principals Month! Now is the time to start planning how you will celebrate your leadership. National Principals Month is our opportunity to shine a light on the important work that principals do every day to ensure the success of students and teachers in school buildings across the country. Here are some ideas for how you and your school can celebrate!

  • Contact your Member of Congress to arrange a shadowing visit. Give them a chance to see what you really do all day. Need a sample email to invite them? We have that. Congress is on recess and will be in their home districts October 12–October 16. This is a perfect time to have a member of Congress visit your school building.  (more…)

The Community Eligibility Provision: A Win for Everyone

Guest post by Mieka Sanderson

Hunger is a particular menace to students living in high-poverty neighborhoods and consequently places these youth at an academic disadvantage. Students experiencing hunger have lower math scores and are more likely to repeat a grade.

Fortunately, the Community Eligibility Provision, an option available nationwide to high-poverty schools, empowers school districts to ensure children do not go hungry during the school day by providing breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge—and now is the time for school districts to sign up for this powerful new provision. Interested school districts should apply by August 31 but may be able to apply throughout the 2015-2016 school year by contacting their state child nutrition agency.

Community eligibility has a history of success. In the 2014-15 school year, more than 14,000 schools participated in community eligibility, offering free, healthy school breakfasts and lunches to more than six million students. (more…)

Goals for Communicating with Grieving Families

It’s estimated that one in 20 children will lose a parent by the time he or she reaches age 16, with the vast majority of children experiencing a significant loss by the time they complete high school. Because loss during childhood is an all-too-common and underaddressed issue in our nation’s schools, NASSP has joined nine other partners in creating the Coalition to Support Grieving Students.

School professionals have a vital role to play in providing support to grieving students and their families. It is important to reach out and make contact with families after a death, and the coalition aims to provide better bereavement resources for all members of school communities across the U.S. to encourage and empower them in their ongoing support of grieving students.

The coalition has created the following nine goals for school leaders communicating with grieving families: (more…)

Your New Budget Workout—Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Guest post by Justin Barbeau, Director of Technical Assistance, Building Assets, Reducing Risks i3 Project; former Minnesota high school teacher

As next year’s school budgets turn over, administrators start the annual “new budget workout”: the challenge to maintain current programming and support services for students and their families. In order to balance the new budget, district and building leaders must do some heavy lifting, often making difficult curriculum, staffing and student support service decisions.

These decisions are based on: 1) reallocating existing funds or 2) tapping new “outside” funds. With diminishing opportunities for the latter, a school’s ability to stretch existing funds takes on ever increasing significance and scrutiny.

Administrators now need to leverage student performance data to calculate ROI, identify specific areas of inefficiency, and immediately act to make effective structural and procedural improvements.

With the administrators I work with, I specifically talk about the cost of student failures. (more…)

Poverty: A Reason NOT An Excuse

Top teachers say that poverty is the most important barrier facing them in their classrooms. Reformers insist that those teachers are merely making excuses for poor achievement of low-income students.

Having worked in and with many high-poverty schools I am, on the one hand, discouraged by the current fad du jour of ignoring poverty as a detractor, and on the other hand, inspired by the fact that I know that, if schools do the right things, the right way, long enough, their students can achieve at high levels. Every day, we learn that more and more schools are beating the odds.

While the mantra of education reformers continues to be ‘No excuses, because poverty is not destiny,’ researchers and practitioners know that “socio-economic circumstance matters to education outcomes.”

Blaming Only Hurts Those Most In Need (more…)