Principal's Policy

Every Student Matters

Guest post by John C. Bartlett

When I woke up the morning after Election Day, my to-do list had a new priority: a visit to my English language learner classroom and a conversation with our 50 students who were getting their first taste of American democracy at work. What did these students want and need from me and their teachers? These students wanted to know that they matter, that someone cared about them, and that they were safe. Essentially, they wanted to know what every student needs to know when they walk through the front door of our schools every day. (more…)

Leveraging Title IV, Part A to Create Safe and Supportive Schools

Guest post by Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach

Principals have a responsibility to ensure student safety while also providing a supportive environment that is conducive to learning. This requires a careful balance of addressing physical safety while also addressing the psychological safety of students. Despite the current focus on arming teachers and other school personnel, this tactic does not improve school safety, carries significant risk, and can actually undermine the learning environment. Rather, reasonable physical security measures include: (more…)

Safe Schools: Are You Ready?

Guest post by Jeff Simon

Many are concerned about the growing reports of school safety incidents. According to the Educator’s School Safety Network, U.S. schools experienced 745 bomb threats in the 2015–16 academic year. And since 2013, there have been 210 school shootings, as reported by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. This escalation of school threats and violence is generating fear and anxiety in students, parents, and educators and wasting precious learning time.

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Recovery After a School Shooting: There Is No Manual

Guest post by George Roberts

August 27, 2012. The first day of school for the 2012–13 school year. The sun was shining; the sky was a brilliant blue; the air was thick with the smell of freshly cut grass; the students were wearing their best back-to-school clothes; and the schoolhouse was filled with a palpable sense of excitement that only the first day of school can bring. Little did I know that three hours later the smell of gunpowder would fill the cafeteria, the smiles would turn to tears, and the excitement flipped to fear.

Any principal, teacher, or student who has faced the trauma of a school shooting event will understand these descriptions and rapid change of emotions. For me, it was all of these things and so much more as principal of the largest high school in my district and the one responsible for the well-being and safety of more than 2,000 students and 200 staff.  (more…)

FY 2018 Omnibus a Major Victory for Education Advocates

Last week, the House and Senate passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill which will fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2018. This funding package comes after several short-term funding packages, one government shutdown, and a two-year spending deal. There were major concerns that a funding bill wouldn’t get passed before the March 23 deadline due to several controversial riders, but they were ultimately excluded from the legislation to ensure its passage. (more…)

Advocating For School Safety

Less than two weeks ago, we watched in horror as one of the worst school shootings in American history unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—17 students and educators were killed and another 14 were wounded. Sadly, what should be a unique and isolated tragedy is just one more heartbreaking entry in our nation’s long and rapidly growing list of school shootings. At NASSP, one of our guiding principles is that school leaders and staff members, along with community members and leaders, have a shared responsibility to ensure that schools are safe. Our students have a right to attend schools without fear of violence, and we must do more to support a holistic approach to violence intervention and prevention both inside the walls of our schools and out in the community. (more…)

Impacts the New Caps Deal Will Have on Education

For the second time in less than three weeks, the government shut down. At midnight on February 8, funding for the government officially lapsed after Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) refused to allow the Senate to hold a vote on another short-term funding package. Fortunately, none of the detrimental long-term impacts of a shutdown were felt, as Congress was able to pass the bill just hours later in the early morning of February 9. This new funding package carries with it greater hope to avoid more budget politics in the future though, as tied to it is a deal to raise the defense and nondefense discretionary spending caps for the next two years. Now that the Appropriations Committees have concrete numbers, they’re able to begin writing the rest of the FY 2018 budget. They have over a month to do so, as the current short-term funding package will expire on March 23. But how will this caps deal influence education, and what does it mean for the remaining FY 2018 budget process? (more…)

Advocacy Update: Government Shutdown

After months and months of short-term funding packages, time finally ran out. The Senate was unable to pass a continuing resolution before January 20 and because of this, the federal government has shut down for the first time since 2013.

Much of the impact K–12 education will face will depend on the length of the shutdown. Most education programs are forward funded, meaning dollars are already designated to go out to programs, regardless of a shutdown. However, the longer the shutdown, the greater the impact that will be felt by schools and districts. Overall, we can break down a shutdown’s impact into three main areas for K–12 education: (more…)

Answering the Call: A Journey in Advocacy

Guest post by Brandon Mowinkel

In a day and age where public schools seem to be under constant scrutiny, it is vital that principals become advocates for our schools and the students we serve, sharing our stories of success and the challenges we face. When I became an administrator, I would have never imagined that I would be in regular contact with my state and federal representatives to ensure a high-quality education for all students. Stories matter, and it is our responsibility to be sure they are being told. (more…)