school leadership

Creating an Environment for Innovation Though Evaluation and Feedback: 8 Tips and Warnings

Guest post by Anthony Scannella and Sharon McCarthy:

Which do you think helps individuals and systems flourish during these transformational times: a bit of risk, a bit of failure and a good deal of feedback–or safely doing what has always been done? If you favor risk, failure and feedback, please read on. If you choose safety in complacency, save yourself some time and make a different decision.

We define effective feedback as a tool that supports professional growth in your school or system. But before we talk about what makes feedback effective, it is essential to consider the much celebrated belief that “there is no such thing as failure—only feedback.” In theory, this is supposed to help our egos cope with our mistakes. In reality, most of us secretly hope to be told how amazing our teaching or leading is, and hearing otherwise makes us both uncomfortable and defensive. Keep that very real human tendency in mind when sharing feedback.

Below are 8 suggestions for leaders whose focus is growth, in folks and in systems:

  1. Ask others how they prefer to receive the feedback. This is the baseline for respect.
  2. Know that while sharing feedback will help you and your colleagues improve, it will also cause most folks to squirm a bit—that is OK.
  3. Differentiate feedback based on the rating of the performance. (Please see: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-15/the-ideal-praise-to-criticism-ratio.html)
  4. Provide feedback in a way that caters to the receiver’s value system. People pay attention more to things they find important.
  5. Follow feedback basics: Feedback should be timely, specific, actionable, and connected to goals and practice.
  6. Create a structure for feedback—one that consistently communicates how things are going.
  7. Keep in mind that people generally change their behavior when provided with an environment that encourages change and specific cognitive maps that outline a “plan” in their heads. Therefore, the onus is on the leader/evaluator to ensure that the environment and maps, which Art Costa refers to as “mental rehearsals,” are clearly communicated in a culture of high expectations. (Costa, Arthur & Garmston, R. Cognitive Coaching. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, 1994.)
  8. Remain keenly aware of the fact that the meaning of your communication is the response that it elicits, regardless of your intentions. As many have experienced, the intended message is not always the received message.

How educational leaders model the practice of effective feedback for teachers not only helps teachers in improving their own performance but also provides mental models of effective practices for teachers to use with their own students. Feedback matters in every relationship in the schoolhouse! Synthesizing more than 900 educational meta-analyses, researcher John Hattie has found that effective feedback is among the most powerful influences on how people learn. (John Hattie, Know Thy Impact. Educational Leadership, Feedback for Learning, September 2012, Vol. 70, No. 1.)

Please join us at Ignite’14 to share thoughts and practices regarding this most fundamental of educational practices for positive transformation.

Anthony Scannella (@edufea, scannella.anthony@gmail.com) and Sharon McCarthy (@ienvision, ienvision@mac.com) will present Sustainable Results for Great Schools on Saturday, February 8 at Ignite ’14. For more information visit www.nasspconference.org.

Read their article “Teacher Evaluation: Adversity or Opportunity?” online in the January 2014 issue of Principal Leadership.

New Family Tours: Do They Get What They Expect?

Jimmy Casas

Guest post by Jimmy Casas:

I still remember the day I received the phone call offering me the principal position at my current school.  That was twelve years ago!  I can honestly say, like many of you, I have invested my life into our school community in many ways.  Growing up, my parents demanded hard work. They expected it, they modeled it, and they lived it.  They convinced me that hard work was the key to success.  They took immense pride in the fact that what they lacked in education, they made up for it in terms of work ethic.  My father would often holler at me, “You get out of it what you put into it!”

Ironic how the things our parents said to us when we were children often return full circle, not only in our expectations, but in how we behave.  They even get passed down from generation to generation at the expense of our own children sometimes, which I am sure my kids would attest to. His words have hung with me all of my life, sometimes to a fault. Sometimes though, his words move me in a way that makes me proud to be his son because his words make up a part of who I am.

Last week I had the distinct privilege of touring three new families who were trying to decide which school to enroll their children in.  Like the hiring process (of someone wanting to teach in our school), the idea of a family possibly wanting to enroll their student in our school gets me jacked up! It is something I look forward to so much that at times I literally cannot sleep the night before because I cannot wait to get to school the next day and share our school community with them.  I do not apologize for my energy, my passion, or the excitement I share with the families when they visit. I am proud! I am proud of what our school has to offer our students, our staff, our families, and our community.  I once had a visiting superintendent tell me that although the school was a large school, it had a small school feel to it. That was the biggest compliment anyone could have given us because to me it meant that it felt like a caring community. I have never forgotten that comment and to this day aspire to maintain that same feeling in our school.

I am always honored when I am able to take time and showcase our school community.  Here are a few examples of our best and next practices in touring new families:

  1. Schedule the building tours with the principal – In many high schools, this practice is often delegated to a school counselor or other building administrator.   I have always wondered why any principal would not take advantage of the opportunity to be the first person to welcome a new visiting family or more importantly, to spend time getting to know a potential new student.  Think about the message you are sending when you won’t give a new family and student 90 minutes of your time.  Mindset:  Models to student and family they are the most important people walking through our doors every day.
  2. Office secretaries can make or break the deal before a new family ever walks in the door – Don’t ever underestimate the importance of the impact your office secretaries can have on a new family regarding their choice for a new school when they are calling to inquire about a visit/tour.  A positive first impression goes a long way with parents and a negative first impression will quickly decrease the chance of a new family selecting your school ten-fold.  Trust me. I have had many families tell me they crossed off school XYZ because of the way they were treated by the Principal’s secretary.  Mindset:  No student or family who calls or enters the main office is an inconvenience. In fact, they are the purpose of why we are here.  Never forget that.
  3. Tours should be scheduled during the school day – If at all possible, I would encourage you to schedule all visits during the school day.  It is critical for the visiting student and his/her parents to get a feel of the climate in our school and what #BettPride is all about.  This is nearly impossible to simulate without students in the building. I want them to experience first-hand how welcoming our students & staff are to new students.  I want them to see how our school community cares for one another and values the teaching and learning that transpires throughout the building on a daily basis.  Mindset:  Be proud of the school community in which you spend most of your waking hours and deliver your message with passion, purpose and with a humbled spirit.
  4. Spend time getting to know the student – I will often spend the first 15-20 minutes talking to potential new students one on one in my office before a tour in order to learn as much as I can about their talents, strengths and areas of interest.  Two questions I ask new students are, “What part of school do you value most and why?” and “How do you want to be remembered when you leave your high school?”  Mindset:  Want to show students that this is an environment of great expectations that will challenge their inner core and expect them to leave a positive footprint on their school community long after graduation.
  5. Always be yourself – Be sure when giving a tour you conduct yourself in the same manner you would if you were walking the building on a normal day.  In other words, be you.  This is not the time to try and portray a side of you that is not genuine.  By doing so, you will quickly lose the trust of your new family and send the wrong message to your current students and staff. Mindset:  Rather than be disingenuous, use these opportunities to recognize areas for potential growth in your own leadership style and then establish a plan to make a needed change.
  6. Encourage them to visit other schools – Believe it or not, I always encourage new families to visit the surrounding school districts. I emphasize to new parents that there are many good schools in our area to choose from and that it is important for them to contact other schools to schedule visits.  Honestly, I tell them they need to walk into different schools and determine for themselves, which school community “feels right.”  I want a new student (and their parents) to feel good about his/her choice in a new school knowing full well I may lose them, but in the long run it is the best measure of success.  If they do not select us, then it wasn’t the right fit.  Mindset:  I believe the most critical factor in determining the success of any student is the culture and climate of a school.  My attitude going into any meeting with a new family has to be one of quiet confidence and trust that we have cultivated the right culture for kids to be successful and that new families will feel that this is a special place.
  7. Let them ask questions of the students and staff – I always encourage our new families to ask students and staff questions as we tour.  In fact, I will often purposefully distance myself so our students and staff can have an open and honest discussion with new families free from my presence.  In addition, I tell families before we begin the tour that they are welcome to enter any classroom they choose and that our students and staff do not know they will be visiting. Mindset:   I never want to give the impression that I am somehow trying to influence the responses or comments from my students and staff.  I want them to know that what they see is what they get; this is who we are every day.
  8. Show new families where to find your school/district data – At the conclusion of the tour, I always return to the main office to give the student and family time to digest what they have just observed and to provide an opportunity for any follow up questions.  This is also the time I provide families our school profile data information or walk them through on how to access the information from our district/building website.  Mindset:  I want to be transparent with our school data, although I find most families have already accessed it long before ever setting up a visit.
  9. Share your personal information with them – Parents always appreciate when I hand them a business card and take time to inscribe my personal cell phone number on the card and encourage them to contact me day, night or weekend.  I share with them that I recognize that choosing a school can be very stressful on not only their student, but the entire family as well. Mindset:  I want parents to know I care about them and their student and am accessible 24/7 should a need arise sooner than later.  The message I want to send is that being a school principal is not a job, but my life.
  10. Invite them to a school function – One of most positive steps we take to encourage new families to select our school is to invite them to attend an evening event as our special guest.  This is especially true if the event they attend is an event in which the student has a personal interest. This is one area that we added on as part of our practice this year after seeing tremendous results of families selecting our school after attending one of our events.  Giving a new student an opportunity to see and feel what it would be like to be part of a club, group, or team is a powerful way to let them experience the pride and spirit of our school community. Mindset:  Allows students and families to see up front the value we place on our co-curricular activities. We want our students to not only feel connected, but be connected beyond the bell schedule.

I approach every student/family visit with the intention of giving of my time and more importantly, of myself.  I have tremendously high expectations of myself and of my staff when it comes to cultivating a culture that places a significant value on giving of our time to others in a positive and caring way. My mindset is simple; in the words of my father, we as a school community will get out of it what we put into it.

As leaders, we are responsible for raising the bar to exceptionally high levels when it comes to how we want both new and existing families to feel about their school community.  I am honored to be a part of this wonderful community we call Bettendorf and I am extremely proud because I know that although I have invested my life in our school community, I am just a guest like everyone else until the next principal comes along.

So I challenge you to reflect…do your new families get what they expect?

Or do they walk out of your school receiving so much more than they ever expected?

This entry is a cross-post from Jimmy Casas‘s blog. (@casas_jimmy) Principal of Bettendorf High School, will present Building Community Through Social Media on Friday, February 7, 2014 at Ignite ’14 in Dallas.  For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.

A is for Autism: Strategies for Success

Guest post by LaChan V Hannon:

If most educators are anything like me, we experience a range of emotions on any given day. Sometimes, we are confident. Sometimes, we need the collaboration of our peers to make sure we are on track, and sometimes, our efficacy leaves much to be desired. And when we pause long enough to exit our own minds, we remember… our students. They are the reason why we fret. They are the reason why we learn. They are the reason why we grow. We want to make every student feel the way we do about learning. That simple thought is inspiring. It rejuvenates us, confirms our purpose, and drives our goals.

Each of our approaches to learning is different. Maybe you can remember the exact moment you realized a teacher was teaching just for you. Maybe you can remember the moment you realized your learning difference was no different at all. Or maybe you can remember a moment when all was right in the world because your teacher knew and understood something about you that others often misunderstood.

That moment of realization and understanding reshapes the experience our students on the autism spectrum have when they encounter a teacher that is flexible in his/her approach, strength-based in his/her perspective, student-centered in his/her practices, and supported by his/her team. Someone once told me, “when you meet one student with autism, you’ve met ONE student with autism.” Their complexities, idiosyncrasies, learning styles, and personalities are as varied as the myriad colors of human faces.

But how do I, as a regular education teacher, best support my the student with autism or Asperger’s—the one that tests too high for pull-out replacement, yet struggles with the inferential skills needed for text complexity and the nuances of language? The one whose parents insist he can be successful if the teacher would just… (fill in the blank)? The one whose disruptive behaviors require more attention than the school day allows?

Here’s how:
I must first remember that I am not alone in my classroom; my classroom is full of students; that all students have needs; that all their needs are different; that different needs represent diverse levels of understanding; that diverse levels of understanding require multiple strategies of instruction; and that mastering understanding demands various demonstrations of learning.

What learning—the process and the outcomes—looks like differs from one student to the next. And so might our expectations. I would argue that if a regular education teacher is able to meet the needs of a student with autism in his/her classroom, he/she is prepared to meet the needs of all the students in the regular ed classroom. From where I sit, both traditional and vocational institutions could benefit from learning about and from our awesome students on the autism spectrum.

LaChan Hannon (@LaChanHannon) and Rose Mary Pirozzi will come together on Friday, February 7 to present Strategies for Success: Supporting Teachers of Students with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms at Ignite ’14 in Dallas. For more information and to register, visit www.nasspconference.org.

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Make the Most of Your Opportunity to Connect

Guest post by Carrie Jackson:

One of the greatest benefits connected educators and leaders enjoy is the opportunity to share with one another and have others push our own learning. Through Twitter and other media, school leaders have become more connected and reflective than ever before. However, the very best part of being a connected leader, in my opinion, is the opportunity to interact face-to-face with our online colleagues. This is one reason I eagerly anticipate NASSP’s Ignite ’14 in my beloved state of Texas.

Ignite ’14 captures the spirit of collaboration and brings it to life with personal interactions. NASSP intentionally built office hours and networking sessions into the schedule so that participants can easily find and converse with nationally-recognized authors, speakers, and practitioners. Learning labs and Technology Showcase sessions offer brief small-group discussions on topics of interest and direct application to professional practice.

Most impressive, in my opinion, is the way social media interactions on Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and more blend seamlessly with in-person learning events. Live-streaming conversations bring participants closer together and enhance connections.

So how does the Ignite ’14 participant make the most of this year’s gathering in Dallas?

Engage with Twitter…now. If you are not already a connected learner, you will be surprised just how much your interaction with others on Twitter will enhance your experience. Set up your account, and start by following @NASSP. Then take a look at who NASSP follows and mentions. Those are good people to follow. Check out what these folks are saying, and chime in when you are ready. By the time you get to Dallas, you will feel as though you know quite a few of the Ignite ’14 participants already.

Visit the networking sessions. You are missing out on something special if you pass up the speaker office hours, the Technology Showcase sessions, and the learning labs. These are great ways to extend your learning, capitalize on new strategies, and connect with new people personally.

Make time to connect with colleagues. Whether you hang out in the designated social lounge areas or hold informal Tweet-ups, capitalize on the opportunity to meet in person the colleagues you have come to know online. If you really appreciate a speaker, stop by and let him/her know during office hours. Engage with other learners and your experience (and theirs) will be better.

I look forward to seeing you at Ignite ’14, and I hope you enjoy your time in Dallas!

Carrie Jackson (@jackson_carrie) was named an NASSP Digital Principal in 2013. Carrie will be presenting Stylish New Social Tools for Schools on Saturday, February 8 at Ignite ’14. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.

Creating the Conditions for School Success

Guest post by Frederick Brown:

“Education research shows that most school variables, considered separately, have at most small effects on learning. The real payoff comes when individual variables combine to reach critical mass. Creating the conditions under which that can occur is the job of the principal.”

This statement serves as a powerful opening to the recently updated and expanded Wallace Foundation Perspective, The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. The field has come to depend on Wallace for sharing its learning as it continues a decade-long focus on leadership, and this most recent report doesn’t disappoint.

First, the perspective reminds us what Wallace has identified as the five key practices of effective principals:

•    Shaping a vision of academic success for all students
•    Creating a climate hospitable to education
•    Cultivating leadership in others
•    Improving instruction
•    Managing people, data, and processes to foster school improvement.

The perspective also answers a question rarely addressed in the literature: Why should teachers care about leadership? Linda Darling-Hammond addresses this principal-teacher connection in an interview with Wallace Director of Communications Lucas Held. Her response to the question of how principals and teachers work together to create a collaborative focus on learning is in complete alignment with Learning Forward’s Learning Communities Standard. “The principal functions as a principal teacher who is really focusing on instruction along with [and] by the side of teachers – not top down mandates and edicts,” she says. “When principals are trying to help create such a culture, [they] begin to open the doors and say, ‘Let’s talk about our practice. Let’s show our student work. Let’s go look at each other’s classrooms and see what we’re doing.'” In essence, what she is describing is a leader exhibiting the five key practices (Wallace 5).

During my NASSP session, participants will be delving into the Wallace 5 using a set of tools being developed by Learning Forward that are aligned to The Principal Story film documentary. Video segments from the film will be integrated into these online modules, and all of these free materials will be available for use by principals and those who support their development.

There are also some excellent videos on the Learning Forward website that provide a visual for these principal-led learning teams. While all of these videos show various “learning teams” committing to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment, the videos from Stults Road Elementary in particular show the principal actively engaged as both leader and learner. Like the vast library of Wallace Foundation knowledge products, these Learning Forward videos are free to download and use.

I look forward to joining many of you in Learning Forward’s hometown for the Ignite ’14 conference! Safe travels!

Frederick Brown is director of strategy and development at Learning Forward. Frederick will be presenting The Principal Story on Saturday, February 8 at Ignite ’14. For more information and to register, visit www.nasspconference.org.

Are We All Teachers of Reading? Maybe Yes. Maybe No.

Guest post by Judy Brunner:

The idea that everyone is a ‘teacher of reading’ is nothing new. As a middle and high school principal, I embraced the idea in an attempt to encourage teachers to use specific types of teaching methods. At the time, I believed it was a way to persuade content specialists to routinely use vocabulary and comprehension strategies when the lesson involved print.

Looking back through the lens of experience, I now wonder if my literacy salesmanship was counterproductive. First, let’s acknowledge that middle and high school teachers ARE content specialists. They love their fields of study and work diligently to help their students do the same. So should we really be discouraged when an Advanced Placement chemistry teacher questions the necessity of being a reading teacher, too? Absolutely not.

Instead of asking ‘Are we all teachers of reading?’ why don’t we ask ‘Do we ever quit learning to read?’ The answer to the first question is not definitive, but the answer to the second is most certainly ‘No’. Secondary educators understand – but occasionally need to be reminded – that reading is a skill like any other. We are all getting better or getting worse. The adage ‘practice makes perfect’ fits on every level. Read routinely; read a variety of genres; read for information; read for pleasure. It all contributes to vocabulary acquisition and the ability to gain knowledge from print.

Facilitators of Learning With Print

While I don’t believe we must all be teachers of reading, we MUST all be facilitators of learning with text. Text can be traditional, electronic or multi-media, but it always involves learning from print and images.

Use the salesmanship of the principal’s position to change the paradigm from teaching reading to facilitating learning. The strategies for learning the course content will be the same – vocabulary and comprehension techniques that are research based – but the mindset will be different. As Albert Einstein said, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Understand the skepticism of the secondary educator, and change the framework.

Judy Brunner (@JudyBrunner) will be presenting at Ignite ’14 on Friday, February 7.  Join her for Are We All Teachers of Reading? Maybe Yes. Maybe No. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.

Ignite ‘14 to Feature Turnaround Principals

Is your school currently in ‘turnaround mode’? For all but a very few high-performing schools the answer is a resounding yes.

Schools are in the center of a vortex consisting of three major, long-term change initiatives; 1) new, higher standards with accompanying assessments and accountability measures, 2) new teacher evaluation systems, which include data from student test scores, 3) new state data systems for holding schools more accountable, which include attendance, school discipline, and graduation rates.

To further complicate matters, many schools have faced multiple years of tight budgets and are being asked to do much more with larger class sizes and less experienced teachers. At the same time school leaders are being asked to address a twenty-five year low in teacher satisfaction brought on, in large part by the ‘fire our way to Finland’ reformer mindset, an all-time high student poverty rate, and an increasingly diverse student population.

This so-called ‘perfect storm’ of school reform places dramatically increases pressures on school leaders to enter into ‘turnaround mode’ to improve student achievement by increasing rigor, changing staff expectations, and enhancing teaching practice. It is not surprising that 75% of principals say their job has become too complex.

Turning around a school—simultaneously raising student achievement in the face of more rigorous standards, changing attitudes and expectations, and improving teaching requires a “different kind of leadership.” In keeping with NASSP’s commitment to supporting school leaders, the Ignite ‘14 National Conference will include practitioners who have successfully turned around low-performing schools.  In fact, all three are currently in their second turnaround school.

Not only have these schools dramatically improved test scores, but they have reduced course failures, improved attendance, reduced student referrals and discipline incidents by more than 70%, and significantly improved reading and writing scores.

What do these leaders and their schools have in common?

  1. Clear Vision
  2. A laser-like Focus
  3. High expectations resulting from a growth Mindset
  4. Collaboration and Shared Leadership
  5. Strong Staff and Student Relationships
  6. High levels of Student Engagement
  7. Dramatically improved student Behavior
  8. Sizeable increases in student Attendance
  9. A schoolwide Commitment to Learning for all students
  10. Consistent Instruction resulting from a Defined Set of Instructional Practices
  11. A long-term emphasis on Schoolwide Literacy
  12. A strong Culture of Accountability

In addition to my own presentation titled Instructional Leadership: From Inspectors to Builders, school leaders from the three schools with whom I have worked over the past several years will be presenting in separate concurrent sessions:

  • Eric Jones and Teresa McDaniel, J.O. Johnson High School, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Brad Perkins, Muskegon High School, Muskegon, Michigan
  • Kasey Teske and Amy McBride, Twin Falls, Idaho

In addition, Dan Duke, author of Differentiating School Leadership, will discuss what his research has uncovered about the keys to long-term school improvement and turnaround. Dan and I will also be presenting together in a second session, Differentiated Leadership (Part II), on the practical applications of his findings.

Improving schools requires readily available, low-cost, research-based resources for teachers. Former National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling, and I will discuss the resources available from The Teaching Channel and how I have used those resources to enhance classroom practice. As I have done for the past two years, I will continue to emphasize how I used the Doing What Works resources to help schools successfully implement school wide literacy initiatives as well as to reduce dropouts and improve graduation rates.

Building G.R.E.A.T. Schools: Data Informing our Vision of Success

Guest post by Ronald Davis:

The demands on successful principals can be exhilarating and staggering at the same time. Without refined and enhanced leadership skills, principals can struggle to move their schools’ performance to levels that will benefit all of the students they serve.

There is an expectation that principals will have mastery of instructional, organizational, and public leadership skills. Therefore, developing principals’ leadership capacity and organizational skills is critical in helping them meet the challenging demands being placed on school leaders.

“Building G.R.E.A.T. Schools: Data Informing our Vision of Success” is designed to provide school leaders with a G.R.E.A.T. framework – including Goals, Roles, Expectations, Attitude, and Tools. The G.R.E.A.T. framework, in conjunction with the principles of distributive leadership and systemic reform practices, helps bring about positive change in a school’s culture.

Additionally, this Ignite ’14 session will emphasize the importance of using data when making instructional decisions, at both the classroom and building levels, and provide a framework through which this analysis can occur. The framework includes data identification, analysis/discovery, and solution identification. Goal considerations include improvement vs. proficiency, short vs. medium vs. long-term, and need to be started vs. need to be continued vs. should be stopped. Attendees will be provided with a planning matrix with which they can develop 3-5 action items applicable to their individual schools and organizations. Closing comments in the session will center around the importance of managing the complex change process.

Ronald Davis will be presenting at Ignite ’14.  Join him for Building G.R.E.A.T. Schools: Data Informing our Vision of Success on Friday, February 7. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.

Upcoming Webinar: Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times

Join noted educator, author, and social media leader Eric Sheninger for a free webinar examining digital leadership and how it can bring sustainable change and real transformation to your school.

Digital leadership is a strategic mindset and set of behaviors that leverages resources to create a meaningful, transparent, and engaging school culture. It takes into account recent changes, such as ubiquitous connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization, to dramatically shift how schools have been run and structured for more than a century. In his presentation, Eric will discuss the “Pillars of Digital Leadership,” a new conceptual framework for leaders to begin thinking about changes to professional practice.

This one-hour webinar is intended to start a conversation on digital leadership that attendees can continue during Eric’s “Digital Leadership–Change for Now and the Future” session at the Ignite ’14 conference in Dallas, February 6-8, 2014. For more information on Ignite ’14, visit www.nasspconference.org.

A Principal’s Guide to Special Education

Guest post by David Bateman:

I sincerely wish there was not a need for this presentation in Dallas. I wish that ALL students learned their subject matter easily, that no students had difficulty getting along with others, and that no students had disabilities preventing them from fully participating in school. I also wish that all teachers understood exactly what they needed to do for students who struggle with learning, and that parents of students with disabilities understood their roles and responsibilities in making sure all students receive a sound education.

But this is not the case. There are students who have great difficulty with learning. There are students who require aides or paraprofessionals to make it through the day, and there are students who will require life-long supports. There are also teachers who do not want to work with students with disabilities because of concerns that such students may get in the way of their lessons or take more time than other students to learn material.

Students with disabilities do no wake up every morning thinking about ways to make the jobs of educators more difficult. This presentation at NASSP is based on a book designed to help principals meet the needs of students with disabilities, and to make sure the services necessary are provided. It is also designed to help principals lead teachers, work with parents, and understand the different rules relating to discipline that apply specifically to students with disabilities. I realize many principal training programs do not include much specific content related to students with disabilities, and this book is designed to help fill that void.

The book is organized around eight very important themes. Each theme will be addressed in greater detail in the presentation and in the book.

  1. The principal is responsible for the education of all children in the school
  2. The principal needs to know special education
  3. The principal needs to make sure that staff know what is necessary for special education
  4. The principal needs to check on staff to make sure they are implementing services for students with disabilities
  5. The principal should lead efforts for data collection
  6. The principal should make sure ALL staff are aware of the process for identification of students with disabilities
  7. The principal may have to lead meetings related to services for students with disabilities
  8. The principal needs to know all students in the building and be ready to talk about them.

David Bateman will be presenting A Principal’s Guide to Special Education: Helping All Students on Saturday, February 8th at Ignite ’14.  For more and to register, visit www.nasspconference.org.