professional learning

My Experience with Powerful Professional Development

Guest post by Daniel Kelley

Principals across the country may face their own set of unique challenges, but one fact applies to all of them: They need greater support and training.

I say this for many reasons, but the top one is this: School leadership is one of the most important influences on student achievement, second only to quality instruction. This is huge. And if principals don’t receive quality professional development (PD) on a regular basis, it is the students who will suffer. (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…)

Edcamp Leadership: A One-of-a-kind Professional Learning Experience

If you’re like most school leaders, you have sat through countless hours of presentations and videos—some compulsory, some of your own choosing—that bear the broad label professional development. Typically, you’re talked at, given a few minutes to discuss, then talked at some more. This still-pervasive model reinforces a few damaging assumptions about professional learning. The first is the assumption that your professional learning is a passive activity—something that happens to you, not something you control and direct. The second is that professional learning is an information dump—the transfer of knowledge from an illuminated sage to, well, the rest of us. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Apply for the CTE Makeover Challenge

Your high school could be eligible for $20,000 in cash and additional in-kind prizes to start a makerspace in your building! The U.S. Department of Education invites schools to enter the CTE Makeover Challenge by submitting a design for a CTE makerspace. All schools will gain access to a six-week CTE Makeover Bootcamp that will provide resources and training in makerspace design and planning. Up to 10 schools will receive the $20,000 cash prize. You can view the notice in the Federal Register here. (more…)

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Today’s Principalship

Guest post by Frederick Brown, director of strategy and development for Learning Forward, and a former senior program officer for the Wallace Foundation

It has been almost 20 years since I began my principalship, and it’s incredible to me how much has changed in what we expect from our school leaders.

I was trained as a building manager, and my success was often measured by keeping operations and procedures running smoothly. Someone once told me, “Just make sure your school isn’t on the front page of the newspaper because of something negative, and you’ll be seen as a good principal.” Yes, I was expected to know instruction and support teachers, but my main work was focused on things like budgets and making sure the central office received their completed reports on time. Indeed, so much has changed! (more…)

A Leader’s Resolution: Professional Fitness in the New Year

Guest post by Jared Wastler, assistant principal, Liberty High School, Eldersburg, MD

It is that time of year again­—time to set resolutions for the New Year. Eating healthier? Using technology less? Exercising more? Those are the popular ones. However, this year I challenge you to consider a different type of resolution. My challenge to each and every one of you is to resolve to become more professionally fit.

Professional fitness does not refer to how many stairs you can climb throughout your building during the day or the number of steps you take during bus and lunch duty. Instead, professional fitness refers to your aptitude as a continual learner. Ignite ’15 Thought Leader Michael Fullan uses a key term in his book The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact: lead learner. (more…)