School of Thought

Strengthening Connections Between Elementary and Secondary School Principals

For the first time ever, elementary and secondary school leaders will join together at the 2017 National Principals Conference. The event will provide opportunities to examine the challenges and benefits of primary-secondary relationships. As you prepare for the conference or to make meaningful connections with other school leaders on your own, consider the following to help build and sustain your professional connections: (more…)

Advocacy Update

Be Sure to Register for the National Principals Conference!

Do you want to be a 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 the National Association of Elementary School Principals, July 9–11 in Philadelphia. (more…)

Breakdown of the FY 2017 Omnibus

Earlier this month, the House and Senate passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill which will fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2017. This funding package comes after weeks of concern over a potential government shutdown due to President Trump’s demands over including funding for a border wall and other controversial policies. Congress was even forced to pass a one week continuing resolution to provide more time to strike a deal. In the end, the White House rescinded its earlier demands, which allowed appropriators on both sides of the aisle to come together with a long-term compromise. (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?

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In Their Words: Reflections on the State Summit Experience

This academic year, students found their voice and discovered a new means of empowerment, thanks to the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society State Summit experience. Five locations hosted the State Summit in 2016–17: southern California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Mexico. This innovative leadership development experience will be coming to more locations in 2017–18. Here, two student delegates at the Texas State Summit reflect on the day, giving a glimpse into the summit from the student perspective.

Jaden Smith
NEHS member
Fourth Grade
Holy Trinity Episcopal School, Houston, TX

During the Texas State Summit I enjoyed learning about conservation and social justice efforts. The State Summit helped me understand my relationship with the environment. The State Summit also helped me develop leadership skills and more. (more…)

Take Your Place at the Forefront of Change at the National Principals Conference

Having attended National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) annual conferences nearly every year since 1979, I can easily attest to the adaptive nature of our national organization to provide quality sessions that present innovative approaches, inspiring speakers, and valuable opportunities to network with diverse colleagues facing similar and different challenges. (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…)