professional development

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.

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…)

Building Leadership Skills for Administrators Through ‘Manufactured’ Experience

Guest post by Ken Spero

There is a silent crisis undermining school reform. The data below paint a stark picture of the challenge facing the education space today. In any major organizational change effort, especially in a context as complex as the education system, leadership is a key ingredient to success.

Of course “leadership” can be defined in many different ways, and it is clear that different forms of leadership are required for different situations. However, the ability to communicate, coordinate, and make decisions is key under any circumstance. What makes the education leadership job so challenging is that those abilities are rife with “painful” trade-offs that make them difficult to do under the best of circumstances. (more…)