School of Thought

Visionary Leadership—Applied

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 the lessons they learned. Read the first blog from this author here
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The Nonnegotiable Role of School Librarians

What principals know and think about school libraries we have learned largely from our own past experiences and school librarians. I have had the distinct honor and privilege to work with and learn from some amazing librarians over the course of my career. These innovative educators have shaped my belief in the indispensable value of robust school libraries. They also have transformed how I think about learning and how I make decisions as an instructional leader. (more…)

2020 State of the Union Response

“Once again, President Trump squanders a State of the Union opportunity to bolster the success of public schools by proposing only to enrich private schools at public expense. With a fresh infusion of funds siphoned from public services, private entities would enjoy expanded ‘education freedom’ to admit the students they find desirable. But for the 90-plus percent of U.S. students who attend public schools, including students with the greatest educational needs, the administration’s sole education effort would exacerbate an already severe funding crisis. Let’s remember that public education bears the label because it serves the public good and accepts public accountability. Bureaucratic schemes to privatize education—whether as overt as vouchers or as insidious as tax credit scholarships—compromise our public investment in those schools and the education of our nation’s youth.”

—JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP Executive Director

Student Voice in School Communication

In a world where young people are familiar with opportunities to express themselves online and in person, it is important that we present our students with excellent models of interpersonal communication. Our students come to us with great ideas that they want to express. Why not channel that communicative energy and put it to work to promote your school? (more…)

The Census Is Coming—Are You Ready?

The U.S. Census Bureau will begin its count on April 1, 2020, and principals are vital to its success. Conducted every 10 years, the census seeks to accurately record the population throughout the country, and more than 1 million young children were missed in 2010. More than a typical tally, the results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year, as well as how many seats in Congress each state and your local school board boundaries are awarded. Of course, some of that federal funding is funneled directly into schools—and principals can be highly effective influencers when it comes to census participation. (more…)

Choose Your Three Words

Reflection is such an important part of the learning process. There was a time in my life when I was all about speed and moving forward—getting to the next thing, checking it off, completing the next task. As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve learned to focus on the balance of slowing down to go faster. I prioritize making time to reflect on what’s been learned or how a skill was executed. I think about what needs to be learned so that I can be and do better. (more…)

Tell Your School’s Story Before Someone Else Does

I know just enough about social media to be dangerous. I grew up in a childhood without cell phones. Your story was told by how you carried yourself and what you accomplished at school, on the playing field, or in your job. Your thoughts and rants were kept to yourself or in your inner circle. As such, I was strongly against a professional social media page and a school page. I felt that it would put our school out in the public eye and leave it open for negative comments that are hard to police. It is difficult enough keeping a handle on the daily and evening activities of a school without tracking social media as well. (more…)

Read This, Save Lives: Creating Safer Classrooms for LGBTQ+ Students

I was a curious student who spent my free periods talking to teachers, and I could find my way around the library blindfolded. But for most of my life, I absolutely dreaded going to school. (more…)

Four Ways to Support Student Well-Being

We seem to be at a place in time where achievement and growth scores continue to dominate the educational landscape, even though these metrics run the risk of overshadowing the students. Fortunately, there are examples of administrations, schools, and districts taking innovative steps to support students beyond academics. Here are four new ways schools and their leaders are supporting student well-being. (more…)

Strategies to Curb Teacher Burnout

We have had a higher turnover rate of teachers the past few years, even as fewer individuals are entering the profession. It is no secret—we hire teachers, they become familiar with our staff, students, and procedures, and then some leave, creating a hole in the continuity of our schools. We then have to scramble to replace and retrain them, ask staff to spend hours to support the new teachers (which they always do without hesitation), only for it to happen again. (more…)