NASSP

Four Steps to Shift Perceptions of Feedback

In education, we value communication and feedback. We know that growth occurs when we take action on feedback we get. Even so, no one likes unsolicited advice. When discussing what supporting teachers does not look like during a Twitter chat, the comment “unsolicited advice is about the worst support one can offer” led to a lengthy conversation. (more…)

Creating FOMO Experiences

When I took over as principal of Powell High School in the suburban Knoxville community of Powell, TN, in 2015, I walked back into a building that, for the most part, had not changed since I graduated in 1992. Aesthetically, the building looked and smelled the same; yes, my 11th-grade locker was still in the same place with the same locker combination, and there were seven faculty members who had me in class. As I continued to transition into my new role and talked to our students, one thing became clear, and that was that Powell High School was not a fun place anymore. (more…)

A Busy July for Congress

Following the July 4 recess, Congress returns with a laundry list of bills and policies to complete prior to August—and a limited amount of time in which to do it. As of now, there have been no indications from either chamber that Congress is planning to eliminate August recess, so the time crunch to complete these projects is significant. The House may have the easier path of both chambers, as their main goal is to pass all 12 appropriations bills by the end of the month. While this is still a difficult task, House Democratic leadership has a path forward and work has already begun. (more…)

Wisconsin Principal Gregg Wieczorek Chosen to Serve as NASSP President-Elect

During last week’s virtual 2020 NASSP Members Assembly, Gregg Wieczorek, principal of Arrowhead Union High School in Hartland, WI, was elected to serve as the NASSP’s new president-elect. He will succeed Maryland Principal Roberty Motley as president on August 1, 2021. (more…)

Engaging All Students in Civic Learning

As principals, one area that can get lost among our responsibilities is placing an emphasis and value on civic learning. Civics is not a government-mandated assessment, but rather a measurement of how we create an educated citizenry to progress the ideals of democracy and sustain and mold America for future generations. Creating a community, state, and country while preserving democracy is the ultimate test for which we are preparing students. (more…)

Don’t Rush Back to Normal

So many of us are anxious to see our kids again, to start a new school year, to make sure our students are okay. We are ready to start over, to have classes in our rooms so we can get eyes and ears on kids, to have breakfasts and lunches in the cafeteria, and to get back to the schedule of the day—a return to normal or a semblance of normal. But I don’t think there is a return to normal.  We have all experienced a major psychological and social event that we have all had to give serious time, effort, work, and attention to. (more…)

The Principal’s Secretary: The Roots of Growth for the School and Its Leaders

Seven years ago, I stepped foot into my office as the assistant principal of a middle level school of 800 students. Moving from my third-grade classroom to the main office was a hard transition because, for the previous eight years, I was only responsible for the 20–30 students within my classroom. I went from a world of teaching, assessing, grading, and lunch counts to school improvement plans, state assessments, district initiatives, and free and reduced-price lunch data (to name just a few). I would not have made this transition in a positive way if it wasn’t for my secretary, Teri. She is a phenomenal woman and someone who will forever have a special place in my heart. One of the reasons I am in the place I am today and gained success is due to the work Teri did every day and her mindset to make sure that the school and I were the best we could be. (more…)

The Power of Positivity—and Postcards

Over each of my last five years as a high school principal, we have set three schoolwide goals. Ranging from advancing college and career readiness to increasing attendance, our goals have been simple, student-centered, and focused on getting staff buy-in. Two years ago, we specifically set a goal to improve our community relationships with stakeholders and increase positive communication, and one simple strategy helped us do both. (more…)

Just One-Third of Principals Express Confidence in School’s Ability to Keep Kids and Adults Healthy When Buildings Reopen

Districts across the nation are rolling out school reopening plans with provisions to keep students safe. But the school leaders charged with implementing those plans have little confidence those provisions will work, according to a poll conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Of the 1,450 principals who responded, just 35.2 percent indicated they were somewhat confident or extremely confident in “their school/district’s ability to preserve the health of staff and students as schools physically reopen in the fall.” A similar percentage (34.9%) indicated they were somewhat unconfident or not at all confident. (more…)

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: (more…)