Principal Difference

Focus on the “BE” before the “DO”

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

Last year, my leadership team held a two-day retreat to focus on moving from our current school building into the new one we were building at the time. As you might imagine, moving a 230,000 square foot building, in addition to implementing a new educational model centered on college, career, and life readiness, can be quite stressful and taxing. Many details needed to be coordinated, including developing a communication plan, updating multiple forms with the new address, purchasing new furniture, and much more. My team and I worked diligently to put together a list of things that we needed to get done during our two-day hiatus away from the building, and we had every intention of getting them completed before the second semester started. Then the retreat happened. (more…)

Five Simple Ways to Boost Teacher Morale

Guest post by Tara Rosipal

Administrators spend lots of time and energy creating a positive and caring student culture. Although important, what about teacher culture? How do we as school leaders help teachers stay positive and keep their morale high? (more…)

A “Pineapple Program” for Principals

Guest post by Donald Gately

Teacher peer observation is a powerful tool for professional growth and school improvement. Whether done formally or informally, peer observations help teachers enhance their knowledge base, improve classroom practices, gain new ideas for instruction, and much more. For a principal, however, it’s rare to see another principal’s work or spend time observing other schools. How can principals get feedback from their leadership peers, like teachers do, to improve their schools and grow professionally? (more…)

The Benefits of Association Involvement for School Leaders

Guest post by Cameron Soester

Four years ago, I became the assistant principal at Milford Junior/Senior High School. It was September, and the principal in my building, Brandon Mowinkel, invited me to attend the Region 1 meeting of the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP). I was unsure exactly what I was getting into, why I was going, and what I was going to do at this meeting, but as it turns out, getting involved in my region has opened many doors for me. (more…)

Finishing Strong

Guest post by Duane Kline

I’m writing on a cross-country flight from Kentucky to San Francisco with my wife and daughter. It turns out that my 22 years of parenting have brought us to the point where (a) my daughter has her own interests and a career and (b) she feels the need to “see the world.” So, she’s preparing to move to Northern California.  (more…)

The Most Important Thing a Principal Can Do

Guest post by Dennis Barger

What makes you good at what you do? I was recently asked this question in an interview, and it gave me pause to think about how it is that I have come to experience success as a principal. Everyone I know, from students and parents to friends and family, all have strengths, but what are mine as a school principal? Why is my school successful?

(more…)

Advocacy Update

Wrap-Up of the 2017 Advocacy Conference

Last week, NASSP hosted its 2017 Advocacy Conference, attended by more than 130 principals from across the country. During the conference, attendees engaged with panels focusing on school choice and higher education, heard and provided feedback on key policy issues directly to ED officials, and received in-depth training on how to advocate elected officials at all levels of government. The conference concluded with participants visiting their federal representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of career and technical education programs, Title II funding, and a variety of other issues. For more information on the conference, visit Twitter and search for #PrincipalsAdvocate.

Register for the National Principals Conference!

Do you want to be part of the largest gathering of elementary and secondary school principals in the nation? Then join us for the first-ever joint National Principals Conference, hosted by NASSP and NAESP on July 9–11 in Philadelphia.

The conference will offer a variety of ways in which school leaders can further their professional development and find solutions for problems facing their schools. There will be opportunities to network with peers from across the nation, sit in on sessions that highlight problems facing today’s students and educators, and attend exhibitions that examine new ways principals can serve their schools and students. Don’t miss this opportunity, register now!

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Budget talks have taken over Congress as they attempt to avoid any potential government shutdown. The original budget for FY 2017 was set to expire on April 28, but Congress averted a shutdown by passing a one week continuing resolution (CR) to give them more time to hash out a longer agreement. A bipartisan agreement was eventually reached, which will fund the federal government through the end of September. Congress is set to vote and pass the bill later this week.

Why Should Principals Care?

While the new budget agreement features cuts to many education programs, these cuts are far less severe than proposed in President Trump’s original “skinny budget” for FY 2018. Total spending for K–12 programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) would fall by $60 million from FY 2016. Unfortunately, Title II of ESSA would also be cut—by $294 million—although this is not nearly as large a cut as previously proposed by Trump, who originally requested the program be cut in half for FY 2017 and completely eliminated by FY 2018.

Another key program to highlight is the Student Support for Academic Enrichment Grant program, or Title IV, Part A of ESSA. This new program would actually receive $400 million in the agreement, but would now be a competitive grant program rather than a block grant program as originally authorized. For a more thorough overview of the budget agreement, you can visit here or here.

 

In the Press

Examining Teacher Shortages in the United States, The Hamilton Project

A new study from The Hamilton Project examines different causes of teacher shortages and offers potential solutions to recruiting and retaining teachers. The report specifically highlights the quality of a principal’s leadership as a high indicator of teacher satisfaction and retention.

Study Finds the D.C. Voucher Program Has a Negative Impact, National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance

A new study of Washington, D.C.’s federally funded voucher program found that vouchers had a negative impact on the reading and math scores of elementary students. The study also found that students in grades 6–12 did not see any statistical improvement in their test scores compared to their peers in public schools. Despite this recent information, the new budget agreement being voted on by Congress this week would actually reauthorize this program through 2019.

Court Is Now In Session: The Collaborative Team Approach to Curbing Discipline Problems

Guest post by Andrea Dennis

Do you often feel that the bulk of your day is spent as judge, jury, and executioner? Do you recall those roles being outlined in your job description? Administrators are regarded as the chief disciplinarians within schools. When classroom instructors routinely defer to administration on myriad minor student transgressions, assistant principals drown under the tidal wave of referrals and fail to evolve into the transformative instructional leaders needed for schools to thrive. Modifying policies with innovation and cooperative methodology, however, can make redirecting student behavior a shared task and curtail office referrals schoolwide.  (more…)

Makerspaces: Learning Through Play at Portage High School 

Guest post by Robin Kvalo

As the principal of Portage High School, the term “makerspace” came into my world when I brought Naomi Harm, innovative educator consultant, to Portage High School for staff development workshops. Initially, I wasn’t sure where makerspaces would fit in a high school. However, after attending Naomi’s makerspace workshop Make Room for Makerspaces at the School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education (SLATE) convention in Wisconsin, I was hooked.  (more…)

Helping Students Overcome Behavioral Issues: The RISE Intervention Program

Guest post by David Caruso

Though many students successfully navigate their middle school years, some students lose focus, have tremendous difficulty developing positive relationships, often avoid work, and engage in extremely disruptive behavior—all of which impede academic and social progress. As administrators, we know well that these are the students whose problematic behaviors, if not corrected, will result in frequent visits to the office for discipline.  (more…)