One of the ways I like to provide meaningful feedback to teachers is by observing the “unobservables” outside of the classroom. A classroom observation is just a glimmer of the real work that teachers do behind the scenes to prepare for each daily lesson. In order to obtain valuable insights into how a teacher approaches lesson planning, evaluates student performance, and collaborates with colleagues, I routinely conduct observations during professional learning team (PLT) meetings. In this environment, I am able to truly understand how a teacher plans a lesson, supports the achievement goals necessary for each student, and contributes to the school’s overall success. (more…)
Guest post by Nathan Boyd, director, African American Student and Parent Services for South Bend Community School Corporation
Whether it’s Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, or the app du jour, our kids are digitally connected to one another in more ways than I can count. Despite their virtual connectedness, kids seem to be more isolated and alone these days. Their sense of belonging and esteem is lacking, which has detrimental effects on their personal and academic success. How can school leaders help students connect to one another in the real world? (more…)
Guest post by Brian McCann
It’s taken me nearly 15 years to get the opening of school “right.”
And in all of the summer planning I did for more than a decade: the refreshing of the building, the supplies ordering, the school’s master schedule, I forgot the most important stakeholder of all: the children.
It wasn’t until I was engaged in a summer Twitter chat a few summer’s back that Craig Vroom, an Ohio middle school principal, introduced me to the #1st3days.
The philosophy of #1st3days has a laser focus on relationship-building and brands from the opening bell that people are the heart of this high school.
Guest post by Abbey Duggins
During an informal conversation with a veteran teacher who was grappling with a problem of practice in her language arts class, I asked her why she didn’t take her problem to her learning community for support. She responded, “We don’t have time. We pretty much know what we need to do from here on out is help the new teachers understand the standards. The sixth-grade team has been very, Help, we’re clueless. Tell us what to do.” (more…)
Guest post by Donald F. Gately, principal, Jericho Middle School, Jericho, NY
I recently prepared introductory remarks for our end-of-the-year concert. Using the same “concert introductions” document that I’ve used since I became a principal, I cut and pasted the elements that need to be repeated every year: Turn off your cell phone, don’t yell out your kid’s name, stay until the end of the concert, thanks to our dignitaries for attending.
Despite the canned reminders, I always craft different remarks as part of my introductions. At this event, I referenced a study done by the renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks about the positive effects that learning to play a musical instrument has on the brain. My mentor taught me that any time you address a large gathering of people in your role as principal, it is an opportunity to reinforce the vision and mission of the school. (more…)
Guest post by Danny Steele, principal, Thompson Sixth Grade Center, Alabaster, AL
Teachers are hungry for inspiration. They are committed to their work and see the value in it… but it can still be draining. They want leaders who will refill their bucket. In my experience, these three strategies can go a long way toward energizing teachers:
1. Support them.Over the years, it has become clear to me that support is the number one quality that teachers desire in their administrators. (more…)
In a powerful opening speech at the 2018 NASSP National Principals Conference in July, Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti once again reinforced NASSP’s commitment to equity and support of public education with a strong statement directed at U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. (more…)
Guest post by Eric Sheninger
In my last post, we explored the importance of demonstrating efficacy to build support for, and ensure the success of, your school’s digital transformation. The Rigor/Relevance Framework offers a strong overall framework to reinforce pedagogical foundations while also moving practice from isolated pockets of excellence to systemic elements that are scaled throughout the learning culture. With that context in place, the next challenge is putting in place the right structures and supports to ensure success.
Below are five key areas (essential questions, research, practicality, evidence/accountability, reflection) that can put your classroom, school, district, or organization on a path to digital efficacy. (more…)
Guest post by Paul Hermes
Now that the end of the year is upon us and many of us are taking a well-deserved break from our demanding jobs as school administrators, I find myself thinking about summer vacation and the many lessons all of us have learned from the various excursions we have taken throughout our lives. Traveling helps us gain new perspectives and understandings of people, places, and cultures. My travel has included experiences led by tour guides and those arranged by travel agents that were self-guided. Both ways have offered me exciting experiences that expanded my knowledge and broadened my worldview.
As I think ahead to the coming school year, I imagine what it would be like if teachers led students through a year of travel. But which type of travel leader is best: a tour guide or a travel agent? (more…)
Starting in July of 2018, NASSP Policy & Advocacy Center 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 policymakers and their ability to organize grassroots support behind NASSP advocacy initiatives. (more…)