School of Thought

‘Flatten the Walls’: Communicating During the Pandemic

When we shut our doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my inbox almost became unmanageable with the flood of questions from parents. Being the senior class assistant principal, you can only imagine the number of questions about graduation. We quickly developed a blog as a means of sending out information about graduation and other announcements. However, while creating a virtual graduation program, we realized that the need for interaction went well beyond just posting daily announcements. We needed to do more virtually to connect with all of our stakeholders. Redefining our communication with our stakeholders and cultivating partnerships became my central focus for the summer and is informing my approach to connecting with our school community during the new school year. (more…)

Finding Your Why Before Your Way: Setting Vision and Creating Missions

Hey there, remember me? Honestly, I don’t fully recognize myself right now either. What a marathon we’ve been through. From flipping how we teach and lead, to navigating conversations and learning around racial equity and social justice, there has been a lot to do, a lot to reflect on—and truthfully, more to come. This summer, I really needed a reboot on my leadership. (more…)

Presenting the 2021 Principal of the Year Finalists

Principals work tirelessly every day to support their schools, ensuring the success and well-being of students and adults in their learning community. The NASSP National Principal of the Year program recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The search for the National Principal of the Year begins every spring as each state principal’s association selects its State Principal of the Year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selects three finalists as contenders for the National Principal of the Year Award. (more…)

Principals Say Pandemic Conditions Are Accelerating Their Plans to Leave the Principalship

According to a poll conducted August 14–19 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), 45 percent of principals report that pandemic working conditions are accelerating their plans to leave the profession. The departures will exacerbate an already challenging principal attrition crisis. (more…)

10 Steps School Leaders Can Take to Support ELL Success in 2020–21

What are some steps that school leaders can take to help English-language learners (ELLs) succeed in the coming year? These tips are based on feedback that ELL educators shared with Colorín Colorado, the nation’s leading ELL website, during the spring and summer of 2020.

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Student-Led Celebrations of Diversity and Identity

Supporting more than 65 nationalities, the International School of Kenya is committed to ensuring that we have created a safe place where a foundation of trust, openness, and transparency prevail. At the same time, we need to continually support the development of cultural competence and have regular conversations to build cultural proficiency in our students and staff. (more…)

Communication and Planning in the Time of School Closure

In March of 2020, schools all over the country were physically closed. However, teaching and learning continued. In Saluda County Schools (SCS), we made clear and consistent communication one of our top priorities. Here are four things we believe we did well that may help other school leaders communicate and plan for what may be an uncertain fall. (more…)

Supporting Students This Fall

When I reflect on what the school year might look like this fall, like all administrators I am filled with a certain amount of uncertainty maneuvering through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as our commitment to focus on equity and diversity. Most of us are spending our time this summer planning for the education of our students. While we make plans for the fall, we also need to be prepared for the trauma our kids have experienced, the behaviors we may encounter, the need for students to hear their voice and express themselves, and develop a plan to be able to respond to a new normal and the increasing needs of all of our students. (more…)

4 White Lies We Tell Ourselves About Race as Educators

It’s time we shatter barriers to success and learning for people of color, stand against the social injustices in our world, and stop hiding behind the mantra, “I’m white, I can’t speak out on race.” One of our greatest callings as leaders is to bring our school together toward one purpose, unity. This requires leaders to be courageous, bold, and take action in the midst of pushback, uncertainty, and the racist ways that have held people of color back for centuries. (more…)

Fostering Collective Teacher Efficacy

Change is hard. Organizational change is harder still.

How might leaders take action to make engaging with change less difficult? The key may lie in developing efficacy. (more…)