Principals Zero In on Reopening Challenges in NASSP School Reentry Initiative

While each district is scrambling to produce a unique reopening plan that responds to their local needs, some issues for principals are universal. To define those issues, NASSP convened a diverse team of thoughtful school leaders for a facilitated series of conversations called the School Reentry Initiative (SRI). Ultimately, of course, the goal is for all students to learn successfully in a safe, supportive environment. Within that broad goal, the SRI team quickly reached consensus on the principals’ areas of focus, among them:

  • Making sure our staff is mentally and emotionally well so they can be most effective with students.
  • Making sure we have protocols to meet both the learning and health needs of students.
  • Ensuring equity for all students in a new educational model, including the advancement of current conversations about racial and social justice.
  • Effectively communicating to stakeholders with competing priorities and expectations.

NASSP issued a survey June 19 to test these topics. More than 1,600 principals responded, offering more than 300 comments to place their responses in context.

Which of these is your greatest concern as you plan to resume school in the fall? Please choose one:

39% – Making sure my staff is mentally and emotionally well so they can be most effective with students

36% – Making sure we have protocols to meet both the learning and health needs of students

20% – Ensuring equity for all students in a new educational model

4% – Effectively communicating to stakeholders with competing priorities and expectations

n = 1,627

“It was almost unfair to ask a principal to choose among these options,” said NASSP executive director JoAnn Bartoletti.” All of them are important and principals were clearly not choosing one at the exclusion of the others. Instead, what emerged is a hierarchy of needs. At the foundation, we need the protocols in place, and we must see to the well-being of the adults we ask to see to the well-being of our students. Only when those conditions are met can we focus on the work we do and the opportunities we provide.”

The SRI team will continue to meet over the next few weeks to refine topics and ideate the most effective ways NASSP can address them. We look forward to continuing this conversation with all principals nationwide.

NASSP School Reentry Initiative Team Members

  • Anita Berger, principal, Benjamin Banneker High School, Washington, DC
  • Ben Gilpin, principal, Warner Elementary School, Spring Arbor, MI
  • Brad Gustafson, elementary principal, Wayzata, MN
  • Aaron Huff, Benjamin Bosse High School, Evansville, IN
  • Paul Kelly, Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove, IL
  • Derrick Lawson, principal, Indio High School, Indio CA
  • Jason Markey, principal, Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, IL
  • Meghan Redmond, assistant principal, Chief Ivan Blunka School, New Syuyahok, AK
  • Dan Richards, principal, Georgetown Jr/Sr High School, Georgetown, MA
  • Kerensa Wing, principal, Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, GA

1 Comment

  • Anastasios Koularmanis says:

    Not surprising that social-emotional wellness ranks at the top. This will definitely be something that ALL schools will have to address moving forward.

    Anastasios Koularmanis

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