Content

Across the Nation
National High School Principal of the Year Hails From SC
Five Principles for Measuring School Turnarounds
LGBT Middle Level Students Bullied More Often Than High School Peers
Hitting the Streets to Reenroll Dropouts
Is Your School's Water Supply Safe?

In Federal Policy
Duncan Sounds Starting Gun on ESEA Renewal

Other News and Highlights
Webinar: Helping Students Navigate the Path to College

Last week's hottest link:
How High Schools Can Prepare Students for College


Across the Nation

National High School Principal of the Year Hails From SC
Over the last decade, Lucy Beckham has served as the principal of Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, SC—one of the state's largest and highest-performing schools. Even with more than 3,200 students, Beckham manages to work side by side with staff members to provide a personalized education for every student in a supportive, safe environment. When the district opened a new building to accommodate the growing Wando population, Beckham transformed the school into five smaller learning communities, with a ninth-grade academy and four career-related academies. Her talent for making a large school feel small is one of the reasons Beckham has been selected as the 2010 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year.

New! The Principal as Data-Driven Leader
As the call for educational accountability increases, so does the importance of data. Focusing on the significance of data for solutions to specific educational issues, The Principal as Data-Driven Leader defines four types of data and helps principals understand their roles as leaders, communicators, and professional developers for data-driven reform; introduce the use of data into the school-improvement planning cycle; and create a team to gather relevant, valid, and comprehensive data. Check out this new resource in the NASSP Store.

Five Principles for Measuring School Turnarounds
To help those educators and stakeholders knee-deep in turning around the nation's lowest-performing schools determine if their work is paying off, the Learning First Alliance—a partnership of 17 national education associations, including NASSP—has released five key principles to accurately measure school turnarounds. Principles for Measuring the Performance of Turnaround Schools addresses more than test scores, and suggests that to assess turnarounds, educators 1) measure progress toward a broad vision of student success; 2) measure the conditions for school and student success; 3) ensure that measures are clear and available to all stakeholders; 4) track progress over time; and 5) include experts' qualitative judgment. Public School Insights, 9/16/09

LGBT Middle Level Students Bullied More Often Than High School Peers
A new research brief, published by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), has found that LGBT middle level students report experiencing more frequent harassment, name-calling, and physical violence because of their sexual orientation than their high school peers. Part of the reason for that, GLSEN suggests, is because middle schools often don't have the resources in place to prevent LGBT bullying, such as Gay-Straight Alliances and supportive educators, and students don't have access to the school-based resources that some high schools offer. Education Week, 9/28/09
Related Item: Coming Out in Middle School

Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals
A coalition of 13 national organizations, including NASSP, has released a guide to help school administrators address sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel highlights the legal responsibilities of school officials to protect students from anti-gay harassment. The publication also includes guidelines for curriculum as well as the latest information from professional health organizations.

Hitting the Streets to Reenroll Dropouts
The Des Moines Public Schools and the United Way of Central Iowa have embarked on a new outreach program to reenroll as many of the district's dropouts as possible. So far, the campaign has included a community walk where 220 volunteers visited a total of 308 student homes. And the face-to-face approach seems to be working. Between home visits and phone calls, the district has already reenrolled 20% of its 710 dropouts reported in 2007–08. Des Moines Register, 9/27/09

Customized Professional Development Opportunities
NASSP offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities for school administrators and school teams based on the Breaking Ranks framework. Customized training sessions can be delivered in schools, districts, regional service centers, or at our headquarters in Reston, VA. Take advantage of this invaluable opportunity to learn more about topics such as reducing dropouts, transitions, Response to Intervention (RTI), literacy for learning, mentoring, raising student achievement, and much more.

Is Your School's Water Supply Safe?
The drinking water at thousands of schools across the country has been found to contain unsafe levels of lead, pesticides, and dozens of other toxins, studies have shown. An Associated Press (AP) investigation found that contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states—in both rural and urban settings. However, the contamination is most apparent at schools with wells, which represent 8 to 11% of the nation's schools. Roughly one of every five schools with its own water supply violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in the past decade, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency analyzed by the AP. MSNBC, 9/25/09

In Federal Policy

Duncan Sounds Starting Gun on ESEA Renewal
In his first major speech on the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Act, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced that the Department of Education is ready to begin the work of rewriting the law. The new version of the law, Duncan said, will need to ensure that there are effective teachers and principals at underperforming schools, expand learning time, and devise an accountability system that measures individual student progress and uses data to inform instruction and teacher evaluation. During the Q&A that followed, a principal from California relayed concern about new regulations that call for struggling schools to remove their principal to receive federal improvement funds. She cautioned that it can take a good principal more than three years to turn around a low-performing school. Education Week, 9/28/09

Other News and Highlights

Webinar: Helping Students Navigate the Path to College
On October 8, 2009, from 3:00–4:00pm (ET), the Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) will host a free webinar discussing the recommendations from its latest practice guide, Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do. During the webinar, the authors of the guide, college readiness experts, and practitioners will discuss the issue of preparing students for college and what current research suggests is most effective. To RSVP, e-mail Patrick Murray at pmurray@commworksllc.com.