Content

More than 6,000 school leaders have participated in Breaking Ranks trainings. Now it's your turn to attend an upcoming session.

NASSP invites members to comment on two proposed position statements on promoting mental health and fees for student activities by September 30.

Take the NASSP Leadership Skills Assessment online.

Across the Nation
ACT Participation Sees Huge Jump
School District Allows Teachers to Carry Guns
End-of-Course Exams a Growing Trend
Shaky Economy Has Schools Trimming the Fat
Should Laptops be Issued to Middle Schoolers?
Elevated Food Prices Take Toll on Districts

In Federal Policy
Department of Education Announces States Participating in SES Pilot Program
ED Announces Members of National Technical Advisory Council

Other News and Highlights
Help Your Students Get Insured
Response to Intervention (RTI) Discussion

Principal's Poll:
Should school staff be allowed to carry concealed weapons in school?


Across the Nation

ACT Participation Sees Huge Jump
With a 9% jump in students taking the ACT scores this year, average scores for the exam dropped slightly. The average ACT composite score was 21.1 for the class of 2008, compared to 21.2 a year ago, on a scale of 1 to 36. But the ACT's creators said it was good news that average scores essentially held steady given that more students took the exam. The total number of students that earned benchmark scores showing they're ready for college-level work is rising. USA Today, 8/14/08

Have You Checked Out School Leader's Review lately?
    School Leader's Review
  • The 2009 Metlife/NASSP National Principal of the Year middle level and high school finalists reveal their strategies for success in several areas including building leadership capacity with professional development; educating students living in poverty; the hybrid schedule; increasing the graduation rate; showing middle level students the path to college; and true collaborative leadership.

  • The High School Principal's Priorities. Mel Riddile, 2006 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year and new NASSP associate director for high school services, discusses the greatest challenges facing high school principals today and the primacy of literacy as a "gateway skill."

    Subscribe to this free podcast series in your feedreader or in iTunes.

School District Allows Teachers to Carry Guns
Teachers and administrators in a Texas school district have been given the green light to go to school "packing" under a new rule allowing them to carry concealed weapons for self-protection in the event of a school shooting. To carry a pistol, teachers and staff at the Harold Independent School District must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations; and must use ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls. Come fall, the district would be the first in the nation to allow guns in schools. Houston Chronicle, 8/18/08
Principal's Poll: Should school staff be allowed to carry concealed weapons in school?

End-of-Course Exams a Growing Trend
A recent shift in testing policy reveals that more students will be required to take end-of-course exams as states move away from comprehensive and minimum competency tests. By 2015, 11 states will rely on end-of-course exams and three more will implement dual testing systems that include end-of-course exams. States report adopting end-of-course exams to improve overall accountability, increase academic rigor, and achieve alignment between state standards and curriculum. Los Angeles Times, 8/18/08

Gap Widens With Exit Exams

Consistent with the achievement gap that persists in the United States, the majority of the students who fail high school exit exams are African Americans, Latinos, or English language learners or are from low-income backgrounds. To exasperate the issue, those students who must repeat the exit exam are at greater risk of dropping out. "Exit Strategies: Cultural Implications for Graduation Tests" from the Principal Leadership archives takes a closer look into the relationship between students' culture and performance.

Shaky Economy Has Schools Trimming the Fat
Toilet-paper drives? You heard right. With inadequate budgets for even the most basic supplies, schools all over the county are turning to the community to keep them afloat. While some districts are adamant against asking already struggling parents to help donate supplies, others are reaching out to get the basics. The Jacksonville (FL) School District said last year's budget was so tight that it held a toilet-paper drive. Other cost-cutting measures schools are resorting to: four-day school weeks; fewer field trips and off-campus athletic events; higher food prices in the lunch line; and consolidated bus service. USA Today, 8/18/18 Related Item: Report Fuels Four-Day Week Debate

Should Laptops be Issued to Middle Schoolers?
Several U.S. school districts have begun including middle level students in their one-to-one laptop programs-and they say the younger students have taken on the new responsibility remarkably well. Most districts with laptop programs require students to sign contracts that detail their responsibilities for use and care of the machinery. To combat potential issues at the middle level, one district warned students that if they used the computer to bully or tease others, it would be taken away. Omaha World-Herald, 8/12/08

Look to the September Principal Leadership for "Laptops for Learning" in the Technology Tips column-and find out how to successfully implement a one-to-one laptop program in your school, using technology to meet educational goals.

Elevated Food Prices Take Toll on Districts
Soaring food prices and increased transportation, energy, and personnel costs are hitting school nutrition programs hard. Despite a recent 4% increase in the reimbursement rate for federal school nutrition programs, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) predicts these programs will lose approximately $3.3 million each school day during the 2008-09 school year. To help cover these shortfalls, SNA is calling for emergency funding relief from the federal, state, and/or local levels. Principal's Policy Blog, 8/12/08

In Federal Policy

Department of Education Announces States Participating in SES Pilot Program
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced that Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia have been approved to allow school districts to offer Supplemental Educational Services (SES) to students attending Title I schools in year one of school improvement status. Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Indiana have been approved for the same flexibility under the Differentiated Accountability pilot program announced earlier this month. Principal's Policy Blog, 8/6/08

Developing Teacher Leaders, Second Edition: How Teacher Leadership Enhances School Success

Developing Teacher Leaders, Second Edition: How Teacher Leadership Enhances School Success The latest selection of the Principal's Book Club builds on the most current research and theories to define teacher leadership as a transformative process that not only enhances teaching and learning in the school, but ties a school and community together. The book presents the concept of parallel leadership, which allows teachers and principals to collaborate to develop teacher leaders. Join the Principal's Book Club by September 15 to receive the October selection.

ED Announces Members of National Technical Advisory Council
The appointment of 16 members to the National Technical Advisory Council (NTAC) has been announced as part of the proposed regulations to strengthen No Child Left Behind. The Council's purpose is to advise ED on complex and technical issues regarding the design and implementation of state standards, assessments, and accountability systems. The Council will offer expert advice on such things as the use and applicability of minimum subgroup sizes for proficiency calculations, confidence intervals, and the principles necessary for ensuring that performance indexes are consistent with the Title I statute and regulations. Principal's Policy Blog, 8/14/08

Other News and Highlights

Help Your Students Get Insured
More than 9 million kids are living without health insurance. Most of these children are eligible for low-cost or free health care coverage through Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but many parents may not realize their children could be eligible for this coverage. Take part in the annual Back-to-School Campaign to help enroll your uninsured students in Medicaid and SCHIP. Visit http://covertheuninsured.org to find out how.

Honor Outstanding Student Leaders
Principals have the opportunity to nominate one high school senior to compete in the Principal's Leadership Award scholarship program cosponsored by NASSP and Herff Jones, Inc. Top winner receives a $12,000 scholarship. Nomination information is available at www.nassp.org/pla. Nomination deadline: December 5, 2008.

Response to Intervention (RTI) Discussion
Take part in the next RTI Talk Building Education Programs that Work for All Students" scheduled for Wednesday, August 20, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. EST. The free session will feature tips and suggestions to help you apply successful strategies for organizational and systems change when implementing RTI, from Dean Fixsen, co-director of the National Implementation Research Network. Submit your questions ahead of time or join the live discussion.