School of Thought

The Power of a Personalized Culture

There is a great deal of attention and focus in education today surrounding the idea of providing personalized instruction to every student. Providing instruction specific to each individual student can greatly enhance the educational experience. However, personalized instruction means little if students aren’t valued as individuals within the culture of the school. (more…)

The Multidimensional Impact of School Climate

Guest post by Cheryl Spittler

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 has ushered in a new paradigm for student achievement that now includes nonacademic indictors in addition to measuring proficiency in math, English language arts, and English-language proficiency (for English-language learners), as well as high school graduation rates. These nonacademic indicators are aimed at providing a broader measure of student performance and include:  (more…)

Fostering a Supportive School Community for Muslim Student Voices

Guest post by Holly Ripley

As school leaders, we are often expected to provide answers and guidance in times of uncertainty and transition. But what happens when we do not know the answers? I learned recently that sometimes the best response is to ask your students and encourage the community to share knowledge. Our job is not to have all of the answers but to help facilitate a collective search for greater understanding and help students leverage their own voices. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Comment on NASSP’s Position Statement on Teacher Shortage

One of the most difficult tasks principals face is staffing their schools with effective teachers who can help every student achieve to his or her greatest potential. Unfortunately, recent reports point to a growing teacher shortage nationwide. NASSP has released a new Teacher Shortage Position Statement to help address the problem and provide recommendations for policymakers and school leaders to help find new solutions.

The NASSP Board of Directors recently stated its intent to adopt this position statement and the 30-day public comment period is now open. If you would like to send a comment or recommendation regarding this statement, please contact Amanda Karhuse, NASSP Director of Advocacy, at karhusea@nassp.org by Friday, April 28.

Oppose Trump’s Budget and Support Educators!

Our nation’s principals play a unique and vital role in supporting student success. Research has shown that principals are the second most important factor in supporting student growth. Despite this fact, President Trump’s recent budget asked for a complete elimination of Title II, Part A funds for FY 2018 and to halve the amount of funds appropriated for FY 2017. However, Congress still has the ability to properly fund these programs that are meant to recruit, retain, and support teachers and principals. Take a stand with NASSP and participate in our newest action alert opposing President Trump’s cuts and asking Congress to fully fund Title II, Part A at the levels authorized under ESSA.

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Last week, President Trump officially signed legislation removing the ESSA accountability regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration. The final elimination completes the circle for the regulations since President Trump took office. He originally halted the accountability regulations from going into effect, which was then followed by the House of Representatives and Senate voting to eliminate them.

Also last week, amidst increasing concerns surrounding ESSA implementation, the NASSP Board of Directors visited Washington, D.C. for their quarterly board meeting and to join the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) at their National Leaders Conference. The board participated in the advocacy training portion of the conference and then joined elementary school principals from their state to visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Many of the meetings were successful, with members discussing an array of issues including funding for ESSA programs, as well as reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act and the Higher Education Act. To learn more about the meetings, check out the hashtag #PrincipalsAdvocate on Twitter.

Why Should Principals Care?

Eliminating these regulations creates more uncertainty for states as they draw nearer to finalizing their ESSA plans. ED has neglected to provide much guidance to states, leaving many state boards of education wondering what this new administration will actually require of a plan in order for it to be accepted. There is also growing concern from the education community that ED may just rubber stamp many plans without properly examining them. With no oversight from the federal government, some state plans that contain harmful regulations could be enacted with no pushback whatsoever.

 

In the Press

NASSP Partners with Others to Protect Funds for Principals, EdWeek

As noted above, the Trump administration has shown that one of its budget priorities is to eliminate funding that directly aids teachers and principals in better serving all students. That is why NASSP has partnered with a number of other organizations to call for the protection of these funds and to show the Trump administration the detrimental impact its efforts could have on our nation’s educators.

Secretary DeVos May Use ESSA Plans to Push Vouchers, U.S. News & World Report

Secretary DeVos has made it clear that one of her key objectives is to promote school choice policies that could prove detrimental for public education institutions. It seems that DeVos may use every avenue possible to pursue this failed policy, even encouraging states to adopt choice policies in their own ESSA state plans.

Making the Most of a Principal’s Time, Tasks, and Professional Development

Guest post by Donald Gately

I read with great interest the letter from NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti in this January’s issue of Principal Leadership. She references a report issued recently by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) about how principals spend their time. I want to react to the three key findings noted in JoAnn’s letter.

The first of these findings is completely unsurprising: The average principal spends 59 hours a week on the job. (more…)

21st-Century Learning Conferences: Innovating Authentic Learning

What if you turned off the bells in your school and threw away the traditional schedule for the day? What would you do for an entire day with students? How would students want to spend their time learning? (more…)

Advocacy Update

Oppose Trump’s Budget and Support Educators!

Research has shown that principals are the second most important factor in supporting student growth. Despite this fact, President Trump’s recent budget asks for a complete elimination of Title II, Part A funds, which are meant to recruit, retain, and support teachers and principals. However, Congress still has the ability to fund Title II, Part A. Take a stand with NASSP and participate in our newest action alert opposing President Trump’s cuts and asking Congress to fully fund Title II, Part A at the levels authorized under ESSA. (more…)

Instructional Collaborators: Guiding Teachers to Continuous Improvement

Guest post by Melissa D. Hensley

Throughout my tenure as a middle and high school principal, the consistent request from teachers has been for ongoing, non-evaluative feedback about their pedagogical practices. Early in my career, this meant completing classroom walkthroughs, collecting data about instructional strategies, and offering recommendations. Providing this general feedback took a lot of time and often failed to improve instruction. I wondered, how could I help teachers get the ongoing feedback they wanted in a more efficient and effective way? (more…)

Lessons Learned From a School Shooting: Information Sharing is Key Element

Guest post by Sarah Goodrum

Research on violence prevention in schools focuses on building positive climates and sharing information. A positive climate increases students’ willingness to report concerns to school staff. There is less research examining the climate among school staff; yet, this climate also shapes whether teachers report concerns about students and how administrators respond to concerns about those students. This qualitative case study provided lessons learned about information sharing among school staff following a tragic high school shooting.   (more…)

School Improvement: More Is Not More

Michael Schmoker will be a Thought Leader at the National Principals Conference in July 2017 and will provide more insight. Register today!

 

After decades of reform, schools across the country still haven’t learned to prioritize their improvement efforts. Instead of focusing on the most vital, game-changing actions, we are implementing an abundance of initiatives simultaneously—which often ultimately leads to failure. (more…)