School of Thought

Make the Most of Your Next Staff Meeting

Do you dread staff meetings as the principal? Does your staff audibly groan when you discuss policy changes or district minutia? Do you see your teachers watching the clock and counting down the minutes until they can leave? A few years ago, staff meetings at Harrisburg South Middle School were just this way, tedious gatherings that both the staff and I wished would just end as soon as possible. (more…)

I Spent a Day in the Life of Principal—Here’s What I Saw

As National Principals Month came to close in October, the staff on the Advocacy team here at NASSP decided we needed to get out of the office—away from the politics on Capitol Hill for a moment—and spend a day reminding ourselves why we do the work that we do. We reached out to several principals in Northern Virginia and asked if we could shadow them for a day, hoping that the experience would enhance our perspective on the current successes and challenges faced by principals and public schools so we might better advocate for the resources they need in 2019 and beyond. To my delight, I got all of that and more from my visit with Carole Kihm, principal of Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, VA. (more…)

Setting Collaborative Teaching Expectations for Student Success

Like many schools, Sparks High School wanted to implement collaborative, co-taught classes with the goal of providing a supportive learning environment for all students to achieve. Each of our collaborative classes in language arts, social studies, math, and science was designed to include a content-area teacher and an intervention specialist or English Learner teacher who would work in tandem to lead course instruction and student learning. (more…)

Midterm Wrap-Up: What Happened, and What to Expect

On Tuesday, November 7, citizens across the nation took to the polls for midterm elections. Much was at stake, and many considered the 2018 midterm election to be a direct review of President Trump’s first two years in office. If that’s the case, there were definitely some mixed results after the dust settled and, in many races, it still continues to do so. This post will examine the results of the election and provide insight into how the results may affect education policy moving forward.

Results (more…)

That’s a Wrap: National Principals Month Comes to a Close

This October, NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) continued the annual tradition of highlighting principals across the nation during National Principals Month. All month long, students, parents, teachers, fellow school leaders, and even entire states—with 29 of them submitting congressional resolutions, along with the House and Senate—celebrated the impact that principals have on their students and school communities and thanked them for their unrelenting commitment and hard work. (more…)

Building Positive School Culture Through Senior Interviews

Guest post by Chuck Rinkes

When I became principal of River View High School (RVHS) in 2007, our building met the academic excellence standards, and our community was pleased by our high ranking. But despite these achievements, neither our superintendent nor I were happy with the overall building culture. We witnessed unhealthy interactions between our stakeholders, students expressed negative feelings about our school, and there was an overall sense of stress and anxiety amongst the staff. In order to rise to the next level and become a great school, we needed to improve our overall culture. (more…)

Three Qualities to Look for in a Mentor

In a recent Q&A I host weekly with Danny Bauer, we talked about the importance of having a coach, or mentor, to help you become a better leader. (more…)

How Transition Meetings Can Help Schools Understand the Whole Student

Have you ever wondered what the new students in your school will be like? Will they be good at math? Will they be able to navigate technology effectively? Do they have proper parental support and guidance at home? If these questions cross your mind, then you may want to conduct meaningful transition meetings for your incoming students. (more…)

What’s the Forecast in Your School?

I am agnostic when it comes to weather. I acknowledge that it exists. But I don’t favor any one season. Some people like winter, some like summer. Each season offers unique rewards. I experience weather, but I have no great affinity for one climate over another. (more…)

3 More Days of National Principals Month

With October winding down and November just around the corner, we prepare for the end of the 2018 National Principals Month. However, that doesn’t mean the month will end quietly! We still have some very exciting events left before November 1.

October 30, 3:00–4:00 p.m. (ET): Avoiding School Leadership Burnout (more…)