school improvement

Bringing Light to a Dark Month

Darkness, cold weather, and a continued lack of daylight can bring the winter blues to many of us. While February is considered the shortest month of the year, for some it seems to be the longest; students and staff are longing for warmer weather, increased daylight, and spring break! (more…)

Creating a School for All Students: Our Story of Inclusion

There are no restaurants, banks, grocery stores, or other everyday establishments or public places specifically for people with special needs, different education levels, or specific skin tones. Thankfully those places are there for everyone’s use. Shouldn’t students be educated the same way, with all their peers, as much as possible? That would be a great start to teaching and learning acceptance, care, empathy, and respect for others while creating a foundation to help students navigate life. (more…)

Crowdfunding the Right Way: NASSP and DonorsChoose.org release Principal Toolkit

DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit built exclusively to support K–12 public schools and address educational inequities, and DonorsChoose.org has helped teachers in 4 out of 5 U.S. public schools request items for their classroom. Our founder and CEO Charles Best launched the nonprofit 19 years ago out of his Bronx high school history classroom—since then, DonorsChoose.org has generated $775 million from over 3 million donors of all stripes for public school classrooms. We’ve teamed up with NASSP to create a new Principal Toolkit, and show how you too can help teachers get resources for their classroom that line up with your school priorities. (more…)

Lessons Learned from a Decade of RTI/MTSS Implementation

At Centennial Middle School (CtMS), incoming students arrive typically two to three levels behind on academic standards. Every year, 60 percent of the population in math and 55 percent of the population in English/language arts (ELA) need additional academic support. In a building of 600 students, with a 50 percent free and reduced rate, it’s a clear focus of ours to provide that extra support in math and ELA in an effort to help close that gap without taking away from core instruction. (more…)

Supporting Students through PBIS: A School Community Endeavor

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, is a system with long-standing results. PBIS aims to teach core skills as they pertain to behavioral expectations, similar to how schools teach core curriculum expectations. Whaley School, a separate day school for students with acute behavior needs, has been using the PBIS model for five years in the Anchorage School District. We believe that much of our PBIS success is due to the work we have done in four key groups: students, staff, families, and community.  (more…)

You’ve Found Your “Why?” But What’s Your “How?”

If you’re reading this, my guess is that you and your school have crystallized a vision for why you do what you do—student learning outcomes, career pathway discovery, etc. In the case of Elk Grove High School (EGHS), our vision is to solidify America’s middle class by educating a generation of highly ethical, civic-minded, economically successful citizens who create a better future for all of us. (more…)

Streamlining Professional Growth through Micro-Credentialing and Badging

I was a bit fearful at the beginning of this school year. Budget reduction days loomed ahead, which—understandably—would be carved out of our non-student contact days, or our professional development in-service days. I worried that we would not be able to continue to make the great strides we have made in recent years in developing teacher leaders through our PD days. (more…)

Carrying on the Tradition: Why I Became an Adviser

I knew the importance of NHS from my days as a student, and participating as an adviser is even more rewarding.

When I first came to my high school, I was asked to be a National Honor Society (NHS) adviser. I jumped at the chance, as I remembered being an NHS member myself and how it connected me to the community. I knew I wanted to make an impact with our chapter and put us on the map in our school—many of the students didn’t know what NHS was, let alone want to join. Now, 12 years later, we’re ingrained in our school’s culture, and younger students aspire to become members. (more…)

High School Academies: Finding a Place for Everyone

As an administrator at Lancaster High School, I am always seeking to help students find their place. In my experience, students perform at higher levels when they feel comfortable and a part of the school community. To provide these opportunities, our school has created academies that are tailored to certain career paths. We offer a variety of experiences so that students can choose an area that best fits the vocation they have in mind. (more…)

Character Education: It’s Not Something Added to The Plate. It Is the Plate

It was my first year teaching, and I was tidying up my classroom. I picked up trash under a desk and threw it away. The next day I noticed more trash under a desk. I watched for several days as the culprit would place trash under his desk and then leave it.  The next day, when my classroom offender got up to leave, once again leaving trash on the floor, I stopped him and asked him why he would leave his trash, he stated, “Oh, that’s the janitor’s job.” (more…)