School of Thought

Four Ways That Student Leaders Can Improve School-Wide Attendance

Each year, our student leaders at Westwood Middle School focus on one goal within the area of school culture and climate to improve. During the 2017–18 school year, they chose to address improving school-wide attendance. So how does a group of eight middle-level student leaders take on chronic absenteeism within their school and within the families in their community? (more…)

Week 3 of National Principals Month

After two weeks, National Principals Month is hitting its stride! The third week of National Principals Month is the busiest yet, featuring some excellent webinars from partner organizations aimed at aiding principals in their mission to help all students succeed. This week is also the second ever National Principal Shadowing Week! Let’s dive into the details! (more…)

Three Ways to Find Work/Life Balance as a Principal

Of all the jobs in the world, there is no greater honor than to be a secondary school principal! The uniqueness of each day and the flurry of activity make it action-packed, and there never seems to be a dull moment. Whether it’s athletic events, concerts, homecoming, prom, classroom observations, lunch duty; the list of responsibilities is endless. It is important that we celebrate the work we do during National Principals Month and take time to reach out to our fellow colleagues from across the country and thank them for the jobs they do, day in, day out. (more…)

Four Ways to Expand Your Influence as a Principal

A principal’s influence spreads far and wide—impacting students, faculty, staff, parents, and the entire community. I have been blessed to serve as a school administrator for the past twenty years. As the principal of Pottsgrove High School, I take this responsibility seriously and value the power I have to make a positive impact. I am constantly looking for ways to increase my influence and to expand opportunities for our students. I grow so much as a leader when I learn what other leaders are doing. I encourage you to check out how these leaders are expanding their reach, work, and opportunities for students.

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A Big Impact on a Small School: Why I Became an Adviser

The Honor Societies are the best way for a student population of any size to learn how to connect with its community.

I was given the opportunity to take over the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) chapter at my school when the previous adviser had to go on maternity leave. That was 14 years ago, and I’m so glad I stepped into her shoes.

My members of NJHS are the cream of the crop; they are amazing. I feel so lucky to get to work with them and guide them in their leadership development. I try to promote good morals, and we focus on good communications skills and a sense of responsibility. Our chapter works to spread these values throughout the school. (more…)

Promoting an Inclusive School Environment

For students with disabilities or unique challenges, finding a source of understanding at the school level makes a profound difference. For Aubrey Bridges, a student with an intellectual and developmental disability, having a teacher who saw her ability made all the difference for her; however, the impact she had on me forever changed my capacity as an educator. Aubrey grew up with multiple disabilities that include autism, verbal apraxia, auditory processing disorder, and a Vein of Galen Malformation that required surgery at age three. Because it was difficult for her to talk, she learned sign language and uses communication devices. (more…)

Week 2 of National Principals Month

After wrapping up an eventful first week of National Principals Month (NPM), we continue by highlighting the great work of our nation’s school leaders. This includes a recording of our official Capitol Hill Event that was held on October 3. This week, we have a great webinar highlighting the importance of building and maintaining principal pipelines:

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Stick Around…It Gets Better!

This year marks the beginning of the seventh year of my second principalship. I’ve learned that years six through nine are where things really seem to come together for me as a school leader; it takes me that long to know the students, the community, and my staff to the depth that is needed to effect positive, long-term change and impact. The school culture at Owen County High School (OCHS) has really taken shape over the last half decade, and we look forward to “making hay while the sun shines” for the next few years. (more…)

Indiana Principal Steve Baker Named NASSP’s Next Principal Advocate Champion

Principal Advocate Champion 9:2018

Starting in July of 2018, the NASSP Policy & Advocacy began recognizing outstanding volunteer advocates who dedicate their time to advancing the policy and civic priorities of school leaders, public education, and students across America. Recognized quarterly, the Principal Advocate Champion is someone who has made a powerful impact on the direction of public education policy through their personal engagement with state and federal policy makers and their ability to organize grassroots support behind NASSP advocacy initiatives.

We are proud to announce Steve Baker as the quarterly Principal Advocate Champion for October–December 2018.
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Facing Professional Disappointments and Finding Peace in the “No”

“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.” —Mark Amend

How do you handle “no”?

You’re getting ready for dismissal. You have just survived yet another final interview for a principalship. You feel you have highlighted some of the qualities a principal should have and your plan to help the students and teachers move forward at the school. You have a clear vision, and you clearly outlined how to continue the mission already in place. When the phone call comes, you get a lump in your throat and chills. Once again, you hear not only that they have chosen another candidate who was a “better fit,” but you are being moved to another school. (more…)