professional development

Advocacy Update

Tell Your Senators to Protect the Nation’s Most Vulnerable Children

Last month, congressional leaders unveiled their Affordable Care Act repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Under this proposed legislation, dramatic cuts to the Medicaid program will prevent schools from providing comprehensive services for students. (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. (more…)

School Leaders Joining Hands Across All Levels

Remember when student learning took place in a one-room school (think “Little House on the Prairie”)? There was a time when all students were together—learning in one culture and one environment.

But as communities got bigger, we started separating students by developmental stages. As a result, students now have to transition from school to school—experiencing different cultures and curriculums each time. And there is no doubt that those transitions can be difficult. (more…)

Teacher Evaluations—Creating a Comfort Zone

Guest post by Matthew Younghans

In the ever-changing world of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), significant value has been put on teacher evaluations. While once a narrative write-up process, our current systems are a far cry from the past. The power and control of such processes now lie within the domain of state regulation and at the collective bargaining table, which can even differ by district. I have found that creating a comfort zone regarding the process, inclusive of clear expectations, will help to defuse some of the normal teacher anxiety that can be present during these times.  (more…)

Lining It Up: Using Principal Areas of Influence to Improve Student Performance

Guest post by Kevin Grawer

A school leader must know the answer to the following question: “What do I as the principal actually have control over?” Throughout my time as principal, I have had complete or partial “authority” over the following:

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Fostering an Environment for Teacher Growth

Guest post by Michele Paine

An area of passion for me as a school leader involves facilitating teacher growth. One way I work on this is by hosting several professional book studies during the school year.

Our district pays teachers for two days of flexible professional development time each contract year. Teachers can choose from a variety of options, including conferences, regional training, and state-led events. With all of these choices, however, I feel it is important to foster collegial discussion and professional reading. (more…)

Strengthening Our Capacity to Lead

Guest post by Michele Paine

On the Fourth of July, I had the opportunity to reconnect with a colleague who had just finished her first year as a K–6 principal in a small rural partner school in the Greater Flathead Valley area, where I serve as assistant principal in one of its high schools. Over margaritas, we laughed about our school year, each of us sharing “lessons learned” during the year. While she serves an elementary school and I serve a high school, we found that our lessons could apply universally. (more…)

Getting New Teachers off to the Right Start: The New Teacher Jump Start

Guest post by Rachel Heide

What support can districts provide to new teachers to help them adjust to the school community and the demands of the profession?

Two vital components for producing positive student outcomes are recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers. According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Education study on public school teacher attrition and mobility rates, as new teachers move toward their fifth year of teaching, the rate of attrition nears 20 percent (IES, 2015). When nearly one in five teachers is leaving the profession by his or her fifth year of teaching, schools run the risk of losing talented teachers who could be making the needed impact toward positive student outcomes. Finding ways to retain the talented teachers we hire has become an imperative, and this was identified as a key ingredient for meeting the needs of students during a period of population growth at Erie Middle School.

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30 Questions from Principal Interviews (Plus More)

Guest post by William D. Parker

Each year, I partner with other school leaders through our state principal association to work with aspiring principals or new principals as they begin their journeys in school administration. After one workshop, a participant asked, “What kinds of questions can I expect in an interview for assistant principal or principal?”

I gave a few examples, but as I thought about the question later, I began to write down the questions I remember answering in my own interviews. (more…)