School of Thought

When School Is a Game, Nobody Wins

Guest post by Brian M. Stack

As school principals, most of us are measured by how many of our students “meet the standard” for getting to the next level, and therefore, we often focus first on making sure that failing students don’t fall too far behind. But what if this is the wrong metric and the wrong mentality? The fact is, the way we measure educational achievement today puts too much emphasis on staying above the bare minimum, rather than aiming as high as possible. And I’m not just talking about helping the most gifted students do even better. Too many of our students at all levels have figured out how to be “successful” without mastering all of the skills they actually need. If we are to truly advance learning in our schools, something needs to change, and it needs to change fast. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown last week by passing a continuing resolution through January 19, 2018. Congress also passed a sweeping tax overhaul that was signed into law by President Trump.

Why Should Principals Care?

Congress avoided a government shutdown in December by passing a continuing resolution (CR) that provides level funding for the government through January 19. (more…)

Grow Teacher Leaders to Cultivate a Collaborative Climate: Tools to Use Today

Guest post by Brent Rowland 

 

Do you have a handful of rock star teachers who are your go-to people, so you keep going to them over, and over, and over?

Imagine finding that just-right leadership spot for all of your teachers—that place where school needs match teacher interest. What would that do to connect them to the school’s mission, distribute leadership, and develop teacher capacity?

(more…)

Start the New Year Right With Breakfast After the Bell

Guest post by Alison Maurice

What better way for principals to welcome their students back for the new year than by offering them a nutritious, balanced breakfast at the beginning of their school day. With the help of your nutrition department, you can pilot a Breakfast After the Bell program in your school and make sure your students are ready to learn. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Don’t Miss the 2018 Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.!

Join principals from across the nation in Washington, D.C., March 19–21, for the 2018 NASSP Advocacy Conference. At this conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s foremost education thought leaders. You will also take part in federal advocacy training and will use that training on Capitol Hill in meetings with your elected representatives in Congress.

Registration is available to Federal Grassroots Network (FGN) members and is free, but attendees will be responsible for their hotel and travel costs. (more…)

Student Success Starts with Strong Teacher Support 

Guest post by Ryan Maxwell 

Teachers these days are constantly being told that they must “take ownership” for all of their students to meet the standards and succeed. But at the same time, teachers often receive mixed messages from their own school leadership that raise doubts about whether the leaders above them really believe in these goals. At Sunnyside High School (SHS) in Sunnyside, WA , our school leadership focuses on supporting teachers so that they can fully support their students. When teachers’ efficacy is high, they are much more likely to support their own students. The manner in which SHS leadership builds teacher efficacy is through a unified message of teacher ownership. It begins with administrative leadership believing and internalizing the following quote from the distinguished educator and author Carl D. Glickman: (more…)

Get Your Leadership Ego Out of the Way and Empower Your Students

Guest post by Jethro Jones

We often give lip service to the idea of empowering students.

Yes, we all agree it is important, but the adults in the building are the ones who really know best.

Yes, kids’ ideas matter, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Yes, kids have good ideas, but the adults still take credit for those ideas.  (more…)

Know What Matters and Make It Work 

Guest post by Angela K. Doll

A parent request for hourly behavior updates.

A student sent to the office for repeatedly trying to staple himself to his chair.

A community member’s plan to improve the school by eliminating all technology. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Don’t Miss the 2018 Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.!

Join principals from across the nation in Washington, D.C., March 19–21, for the 2018 NASSP Advocacy Conference. At this conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s foremost education thought leaders. You will also receive federal advocacy training and the chance to use that training on Capitol Hill in meetings with your congressional representatives. (more…)

Raising Student Voices to Strengthen School Communities

Guest post by Robert Nolting

For many students, school seems to be done to them, not with them. At Victor J. Andrew High School (VJA) in Tinley Park, IL, we make it a point to raise a student’s voice not only as a spotlight, but a headlight—leading the way, we carry on throughout the year. At VJA, this starts with our Senior Leaders and Principal’s Advisory groups.  (more…)