Principal Difference

Systematic Intervention Placement for Incoming Ninth Graders

Guest post by Beth Middendorf

What else could I have done to support that freshman academically in the first six weeks of school? I found myself asking this question each time I transitioned a freshman class to Parkway West High School. By the time we had sufficient in-progress data to review, too many freshmen were already struggling academically. Repeatedly, I observed students’ confidence and effort levels decrease when I needed them to be open-minded to academic interventions. Because of our reactive approach to intervention placement, some freshmen were not able to recover and experience success. (more…)

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…)

2018 Principal of the Year Finalists Named

Three principals—one from South Carolina, Illinois, and Georgia—have been named as finalists for NASSP’s 2018 National Principal of the Year (POY) award.

The NASSP Principal of the Year program honors state principals from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. Out of these exceptional school leaders, three are selected as finalists and one is ultimately selected for the National Principal of the Year award. Each year, the award is presented to an outstanding middle level or high school principal who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to their profession.

(more…)

Moving from Analysis to Action—Building Capacity through Conversation

Guest post by David Johns

Numerous tools exist to help Professional Learning Communities (PLC) grow. There are checklists to ensure that the right roles are assigned. There are accountability documents to ensure that teams meet on time and in a common location. There are even the four timeless guiding questions from Rick DuFour to keep PLCs focused on the work of improving achievement. So why then do most PLC conversations stall out once we’ve looked at student work? Why don’t we turn our attention to actions we need to take as educators to address what we see? (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…)

Decriminalize Misbehavior and End the Pipeline to Prison

Guest post by Amber Schroering

A teacher friend of mine recently wrote that a former student is under investigation for severely beating his girlfriend’s seven-month-old son, who is not expected to live. Upset and angry, my friend struggled to reconcile this terrible news with the memory of his student:  (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…)