School of Thought

Finalists Announced: 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year

The NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year (APOY) program annually recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals from across the country who provide high-quality learning opportunities for their students. They have been acknowledged by their peers for exemplary contributions to the profession. Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools select one assistant principal to represent them, and from these, three finalists are chosen. (more…)

How We Became Believers: What We Learned Implementing an SEL Program

We knew we were looking for something to help our students transition to high school successfully, but what we didn’t know was that we were looking for social-emotional learning (SEL). (more…)

Maximizing Space and Talent in Your School

I think one of the best parts of being a principal is when a fleeting comment becomes an idea, an idea becomes a conversation, and that idea then becomes an integral part of your school’s DNA. These ideas and conversations might answer the question, “How do we make this better?” or, “What’s the next big thing?”For us, the next big thing involved taking advantage of our space through partnerships that expand learning opportunities for students in our school and others in the district. (more…)

Principal Recovery Network Briefs Congress on Capitol Hill

Last week, the NASSP Principal Recovery Network (PRN) hosted their first-ever public event, speaking directly to members of Congress and their staffs at a briefing event on Capitol Hill. School leaders shared emotional stories about the tragic shootings that unfolded in their buildings. They inspired attendees as they described the heroism displayed by students, educators, and first responders on the day of the incident, as well as the resilience of their communities in the weeks, months, and years that followed. (more…)

Variability and Vulnerability: Leading the Way for All

I am an unabashed super nerd. While most administrators I know roll their eyes and let out a heavy sigh at the mere mention of administrator meetings or mandated conferences, I actually get excited. I enjoy learning so much that I typically find a pearl of knowledge from the most mundane training. (more…)

Taking Time for You

Wellness (noun): The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

In a field of serving others, how often do we take time to take care of ourselves? Not just a spa trip, random yoga class, or a nice meal out with a friend, but intentional, continual self-wellness? (more…)

Orange Barrels and Leadership

This summer, we took a family road trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls. During our 12-hour drive to and through Canada, we got stuck in a traffic jam just outside of Hamilton, Ontario, due to road construction. While we were sitting there, all yearning to be done driving and out of our vehicle, I began to think about construction, specifically the orange barrels (fun fact—the barrels in Canada were orange and black, not orange and white). (more…)

Finding Unexpected Community Resources for Your Student Support Network

When a headline broke in USA Today several years back calling Farmington, NM, “the worst place to raise a child,” my school took it personally. Having raised two daughters in the town, my wife and I had often commented to each other what a great community it was, and the great quality schools were part of that discussion. But the article went solely off of data, and I’m sure the authors had never set foot in our town. (more…)

State Summit Follow-Up

State Summits offer National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) members hands-on experiential leadership development. They are designed to unlock the potential of participating students by providing a shared space to learn, grow, and explore ideas together. Back in October 2019, we asked students to provide their own report of the September 12 Arizona State Summit. Now, those students provide a follow-up account of how they applied those lessons from the State Summit. Read the first blog from this author here. (more…)

Cultivating a Culture of Risk-Takers Among Teachers

The focus of any school must be on the student, but emphasizing teacher success pays dividends throughout a school’s culture. Specifically, by encouraging teachers to take risks, we model this positive behavior for students who will need it throughout their academic careers and beyond. Here are five ways we cultivate this at Bernard Middle School. (more…)