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NASSP Statement on Education Tax Credit Proposal

Reston, VA–NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s new “Education Freedom” tax credit proposal:

There is a well-established case against tax credits, vouchers, and other schemes to privatize public education. They fail to improve achievement and succeed only in diverting scarce public dollars from the public’s own schools. This proposal, however, is particularly tone deaf. Principals across the United States are struggling to attract and retain teaching talent that is discouraged by inadequate pay and crumbling work conditions. These challenges will only intensify as public school enrollment increases over the next decade. Mobilizing behind a scheme to further starve public schools and 9 in 10 American students of the resources they need is not only unresponsive, but insulting, and it reflects this administration’s persistent disdain for public education.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

Nominations Now Open for 2019 National Junior Honor Society Outstanding Achievement Award

Student essay, new to the nomination requirement

Reston, VA – To help students jump-start their higher education goals, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) will recognize 500 middle level students with the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award and a 529 college savings account valued at $500. NJHS advisers can submit nominations through February 25 for students who demonstrate the five pillars of excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship.

The NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award, instituted in 2016, addresses the importance of early college planning. Research shows that students with at least $500 saved for education are three times more likely to enroll in college—and are four times more likely to graduate from college—than their counterparts with no college savings accounts.

“By awarding a college savings fund, NJHS aims to emphasize the importance of college aspirations for our student members,” said Nara Lee, director of National Honor Societies at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which founded and administers NJHS.

NASSP established NJHS in 1929, following its establishment of the National Honor Society in 1921, and is the nation’s premier organization recognizing outstanding middle level students.Today, it is estimated that more than 1 million students participate in official Honor Society activities. Membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop their leadership further through active involvement in school activities and community service.

New this year, students will be required to write and submit an essay on citizenship. The essay topic asks students: “What does good citizenship mean to you, and why is it important as a pillar of NJHS?” Students are asked to elaborate on the question and use examples from their personal lives or school experiences.

To provide additional details on the award criteria and changes to the 2019 NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award nomination process, NJHS will hold an informational webinar for advisers on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. (ET). NJHS advisers can visit www.njhs.us/oaa to register for the webinar.

Recipients of the 2019 NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award will be announced in the spring. For more information on the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award and to submit a nomination, please visit www.njhs.us/oaa.


About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

NASSP Statement on Final Report of Federal Commission on School Safety

Reston, VA –NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on the final report of the Federal Commission on School Safety:

It is puzzling that the Federal Commission on School Safety would spend seven months and untold tax dollars on rediscovering well-known school safety strategies, in part a subset of the more comprehensive Framework for Safe and Successful Schools. In any case, we welcome the Commission’s voice to our common call for greater attention to the mental health both of our students and to those who might do them harm.

Yet the Commission compromises its own credibility by staying mute on the issue of firearm access and other prevention efforts that reduce the need to turn schools into fortresses. Guns in the wrong hands is a common element in school shootings. The Commission’s failure to address that element—with even the most sensible and noncontroversial recommendations–is nothing short of willful ignorance. Equally obtuse is the Commission’s guidance for arming school personnel–remarkably the only federal guidance this administration does not perceive as intrusive and burdensome, on a notion rejected by a consensus of education organizations and the educators, parents, and students they represent.

Rescinding Discipline Guidance

There is no disputing that racial disparities persist in suspensions and expulsions, and the evidence shows that schools that address the true causes of the gaps see a more positive culture and fewer violent incidents. In schools that adopt restorative practices in place of exclusionary practices, minority students see more time in school, resulting in higher achievement and fewer referrals to juvenile justice systems. The guidance encouraged many schools to find ways to help students succeed rather than react to behaviors that accelerate their failure, and therefore direct students on a path to prosperity rather than prison. There should be no argument that these effects are good things. But in strikingly convoluted and sadly predictable fashion, the Commission asserts without foundation that this non-binding guidance makes school less safe. The conclusion is offensive, it’s infuriating, it’s nonsensical, and it will assuredly lead to the result the administration wanted all along.

Secretary DeVos in particular has demonstrated time and again her dexterity in undoing efforts to enforce the rights of vulnerable student populations. Yet this discipline-disparity crisis is not one she can just kick to the states or private-school-voucher away. The secretary must now act with purpose to fulfill the Department’s expressed mission of “prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.” Otherwise she cements her status as a champion among the defenders of the status quo she so often derides. Without the force of law, the guidance could quietly persist to exercise persuasive influence and provide principals cover as they do the right thing often against strong political headwinds. By proposing to rescind the guidance, this administration only intensifies the headwind, sending a clear and dismissive message to our most vulnerable students.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

DonorsChoose.org Partners with Nation’s Principals to Advance Best Practices in Crowdfunding for Schools

New resources will provide school leaders with a better understanding of how crowdfunding can support innovation for other strategic priorities.

RESTON, VA—Today, DonorsChoose.org, the leading non-profit crowdfunding platform in K-12 education, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which represents nearly 20,000 school leaders around the country, have announced a partnership to support strategic crowdfunding for schools. The two organizations are coming together to educate principals on the topic of crowdfunding, and to foster helpful collaboration between school leaders and teachers — to both encourage teacher-driven innovation, and to ensure alignment with school and district goals and initiatives.

“Most schools remain under-resourced to meet the learning goals to which students aspire, but the success of DonorsChoose.org reminds us that a well of public generosity is available for projects that are well-articulated and connected with larger goals,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “This NASSP-DonorsChoose.org partnership will make the most of that opportunity by connecting teachers’ and advisers’ projects to the principal’s overarching vision for the school, increasing the projects’ chances for success.”

To date, more than 80,000 public schools across the U.S. have received $750 million in funding through DonorsChoose.org.The partnership includes the creation of an online toolkit for principals to leverage DonorsChoose.org to support their school’s priorities. The principal toolkit will help to spark conversations between principals, teachers, and advisers through case studies of principals who have been creative in bringing resources into their schools.

“Teachers often find the best success when they have supportive administrators who provide encouragement, inspiration, and opportunities to align on school goals,” said Charles Best, founder, DonorsChoose.org. “We’re excited to collaborate with NASSP to help public school educators make the most of DonorsChoose.org for their school communities.”

DonorsChoose.org will also provide direct support to the schools led by the NASSP 2018 State Principals of the Year, and schools with National Honor Society or National Student Council affiliations.

About DonorsChoose.org

DonorsChoose.org is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across America use the site to create projects requesting resources their students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. Since its founding by a Bronx teacher in 2000, more than 3 million people and partners have given $750 million to projects reaching 30 million students. Unique among education funding platforms, the DonorsChoose.org team vets each project request and ships resources directly to the school. Every donor receives photos of their project in action, thank-yous from the classroom, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent. DonorsChoose.org was the first charity to make the top 10 on Fast Company’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in the World. Visit www.donorschoose.org to learn more.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

Washington College Increases First-in-the-Nation Automatic Scholarship for National Honor Society Students to $18K Annually

Chestertown, MD – College just became more affordable for National Honor Society (NHS) graduates enrolling at Washington College. The liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland, which is the only institution of higher education in the country that offers an automatic scholarship to NHS students, announced an increase in its scholarship award from $15,000, to $18,000 annually.

The increase reflects Washington College’s ongoing commitment to make higher education accessible to all students, especially those who demonstrate promise as tomorrow’s leaders. To qualify, students must be NHS members at the time of admission to the College. The scholarship is awarded for up to four years, contingent on the student maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

“We are so proud to offer this opportunity to National Honor Society students,” said Lorna J. Hunter, WC’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. “These scholars are poised to build a strong campus community and use their experience here as a platform for lasting service and leadership. They are extremely deserving of our support, and we are honored to welcome them to our campus.”

“We are delighted that Washington College recognizes the value NHS students bring to their campus,” said Nara Lee, Director of the National Honor Society, a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “The students’ proven commitment to scholarship, leadership, service, and character places them on a path to lifelong contribution in every community they enter. NHS welcomes Washington College as a partner who invests in the potential of these extraordinary students and is committed to cultivating a strong pipeline of tomorrow’s citizen-leaders.”

Washington College has been offering an automatic scholarship to NHS students for more than 20 years. According to the NHS, it is the only institution of higher education in the U.S. to do so.

The scholarship increase will take effect for students enrolled for the Fall 2019 semester, with an application deadline of November 15 for Early Decision, December 1 for Early Action, and February 15 for Regular Decision. Visit washcoll.edu/academic-tuition-scholarships for more information about Washington College Academic Tuition Scholarships.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu

About National Honor Society

A program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921. Today, it is estimated that more than one million students participate in NHS activities. NHS chapters are found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, many U.S. territories, and Canada.

South Carolina School Leader Recognized as 2019 National Principal of the Year

River Bluff High School’s Dr. Lucas Clamp honored during National Principals Month

Lexington, SC – Dr. Lucas Clamp, principal at River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina, has been named the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) 2019 National Principal of the Year. The announcement took place at a  surprise ceremony at his school attended by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, State Superintendent Molly Spearman, Congressman Joe Wilson, and numerous local dignitaries. The announcement is part of the 2018 celebration of National Principals Month.

Dr. Clamp was selected as the founding principal of River Bluff High School in 2011 and spent the next two years designing an innovative high school experience. Central to that experience, River Bluff’s modular scheduling allows students to create schedules with instructional periods of varying sizes mixed with independent learning time. Early in his tenure, Dr. Clamp led the launch of two Centers for Advanced Study–the Center for Media Arts, Design and Production and Center for Law and Global Policy Development–which provide honors level courses designed to connect learning and hands-on experiences within these fields. Hands-on learning is central to Dr. Clamp’s vision, leading to River Bluff becoming the first South Carolina school to adopt the project based–learning model provided by EL Education.

Dr. Clamp fosters a culture that stems from a unique desire to connect with each person, developing their skills and talents, and believing their individual and collective contribution to a local and global community will change the world. River Bluff students meet weekly in small groups called a CREW (Creating Relationships, Exploring Within)  that focus on academic drive, character development and establishing shared understandings. The CREW experience helps students build confidence in a safe environment that allows them to learn, reflect and identify their own quality work.

The panel of judges was particularly impressed with Dr. Clamp’s focus on student connections as a catalyst for confidently leading their own education. “Luke is a champion for community building and for groups that are often disenfranchised–which can be a challenge for principals serving communities with wide economic diversity,” said Annette E. Wallace, Assistant Superintendent of Worcester County (MD) Board of Education, who served as a judge. “His strategy for creating a robust culture and welcoming community while building River Bluff High School was visionary. He models the kind of intentional behavior it takes to include all children and amplify their voices through a variety of clubs, organizations, and informal structures. Luke will be a passionate voice for principals in the coming year.”

With a commitment to closing the achievement gap, Dr. Clamp prompted teachers to provide unique, differentiated learning experiences to Black students in particular, and over three years scores have risen from 42.9 percent to 68.6 percent in ELA and 65.8 percent to 87.9 percent in math. Dr. Clamp has also strived to ensure teachers feel supported. He facilitates teacher collaboration by working with lead teachers and works with the scheduling team to ensure that teachers have one hour of collaborative planning time built in their schedules for every course that two or more teachers teach.

Prior to joining Lexington County as an assistant principal in 2006, Dr. Clamp taught chemistry and environmental science and coached football and baseball at Irmo High School. Later as the Dean of Studies for Smaller Learning Communities, he developed curriculum for incoming freshmen, a Peer Mentoring Program, Peer Tutoring Center and school-wide staff development.

Dr. Clamp received his bachelor’s degree in science from Clemson University and his master’s degree, educational specialist degree in educational administration and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Carolina. He is also a graduate of the South Carolina State Department of Education Developing Aspiring Principals Program.

“You can’t have real student learning without real student empowerment, and Dr. Clamp shows us what empowering students can really achieve,” stated JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “As a powerful multiple of effective practice, he dedicates his focus to the student and uses compassionate relationships to build trust, provide support, and give them the resources they need to take control of their own education.”

“Dr. Clamp is a true champion for all children,” said Lexington School District One superintendent Dr. Gregory Little. “I am thrilled that the hard work, dedication, and commitment he demonstrates on a daily basis is being recognized by such a prestigious award.”

“South Carolina is blessed with tremendous school leaders and we could not be more proud that Dr. Luke Clamp will represent our state and nation as the 2019 National Principal of the Year,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “Dr. Clamp has set a climate at River Bluff that supports teachers and fosters student learning. There is no one more deserving of this honor.”

The NASSP National Principal of the Year (POY) program annually recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have made exemplary contributions to their profession and to their students’ learning. 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 selects one principal to represent their state. Of these, three finalists are named as contenders for the award, with one being recognized as the NASSP National Principal of the Year.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Luke Clamp has been named the 2019 NASSP National Principal of the Year,” stated Beth Phibbs, executive director of  the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, which first identified Dr. Clamp as 2018 state principal of the year. “He is an outstanding school leader and will represent his district, our association and NASSP well throughout the year.  South Carolina is extremely proud to have back to back national winners!”

With sponsorship from Jostens, each state winner is eligible to enroll in the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders, a leading-edge, online program that offers breakthrough content covering the most important aspects of organizational leadership.

For more information on the POY program, please visit www.nassp.org/poy.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

About Lexington County School District One

Lexington County School District One serves more than 26,800 students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 with more than 3,747 employees and 30 schools (17 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 5 high schools, 1 technology center). The district also has an alternative learning program called Alternative Educational Services. As one of the fastest–growing school districts in the state, ranking sixth in total enrollment, we are proud of the excellent academic reputation we have established. During the past 10 years (2008–2018), the district grew 5,052 students, an average of 505 new students per year.

NASSP Leads the Discussion About School Safety and Advocacy Efforts

School leaders impacted by gun violence gathered
to share valuable insights and support

Reston, VA – NASSP is leading the discussion about school safety and effective legislation by launching the new NASSP Policy & Advocacy Center; issuing position statements on key education topics; hosting congressional briefings; meeting with members of Congress; and amplifying the voices of school leaders, teachers, and students across the country. Additionally, NASSP continues its work on Capitol Hill, advocating for strong, decisive action and policy change to end gun violence in schools.

As part of its commitment to supporting school leaders, NASSP provides resources principals need to deal with this timely and difficult topic. Featured in the September issue of Principal Leadership magazine, produced to provide secondary school principals with content and information to support their growth and the success of their schools, is a special roundtable discussion between three school and district leaders who have dealt with active school shooters and violent school perpetrators. They are: Warman Hall, principal at Aztec High School in New Mexico; Dale Marsden, superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District in California; and George Roberts, community superintendent in Baltimore County Public Schools and former principal at Perry Hall High School in Baltimore. Throughout the roundtable discussion,these leaders provide insight into their experiences and best practice advice to other principals who might be wondering how they can best support their students, staff, and community.

An excerpt from the article: “My advice to the principal would be, start with relationships, keep your main focus on healing for at least a year or more. Be patient on the other areas that might come with academics. I think that you continue the good work going forward for young people; oftentimes we can get out of balance between support and the consequences of such an event.” – Dale Marsden, superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District in California.

NASSP fully realizes that one roundtable article cannot fully delve into all the issues surrounding school safety that affect the role of the principal and other education stakeholders, but the association is committed to providing school leaders the tools, information, and resources they need to thrive within their community. The additional articles within the September issue ofPrincipal Leadership focus on additional school safety matters. NASSP will continue to cover the school safety issue in Principal Leadership throughout this academic year—and beyond.

To that end, in September (23-26), the Principals Institute will convene each of the 50+ State Principals of the Year for hands-on advocacy training, culminating in a Capitol Hill Day, during which they meet with their respective members of Congress about key education issues. Key message points during those visits will be reducing gun violence and school safety.

“NASSP is committed to helping school leaders ensure that schools are safe, equitable places where all students are able to learn, grow, and thrive,” stated NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “And as the first line of defense against policies that fly in the face of what we believe as educators, it’s important for school leaders to tell their stories and engage in actions that support our schools.”

The special section, “Dealing With Active Shooters” from September’s Principal Leadership

attached to this release. Please contact NASSP Director of Public Affairs Bob Farrace for additional information. You can learn more about NASSP’s advocacy efforts moving forward in the Advocacy Agenda column in the September issue of Principal Leadership as well.

Principal Leadership magazine is provided to all NASSP members and is a monthly publication that addresses the unique needs and challenges of school leaders. Click here to access the September issue. Back issues are available online and accessible by members only. School leaders can find out more about membership, access to Principal Leadership magazine and how to become a member at: www.nassp.org/membership.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

Principals on PDK Poll Results: We Cannot Sustain the Reality of an Undervalued Teaching Profession

Reston, VA – NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on the release of the 50th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

Principals see firsthand the effects of our nation’s choice to drain the educator talent pool by underpaying and undervaluing teachers rather than to replenish the pool. This reality is completely unsustainable. We cannot be comfortable with the stunning contradiction that a majority of Americans both recognizes the importance of the teaching profession and want their own kids nowhere near it. The recent series of teacher strikes and the public support for more should wake us up to the need to invest more purposefully and creatively in the professionals who do nothing less than build our collective future.

While the school-security poll results are not new, their re-release is well timed with the recent conversation about the use of Title IV funds to arm teachers. School security experts, SROs, and educators all believe there are more effective ways to protect students in schools than to arm teachers. And we can now add parents to that list by a two-thirds majority. We hope this consensus will finally allow for a more reasonable, less divisive conversation about keeping students safe in school that revolves around research-tested practices like those identified in the Framework for Safe and Successful Schools. 

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

NASSP Condemns Proposal to Use Federal Funds for Guns in Schools

Reston, VA—NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s proposal to allow gun purchases and firearm training for educators with federal funds appropriated under Title IV, part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act:

“NASSP condemns in the strongest possible terms DeVos’s proposal to use Title IV funds for guns. It’s a perverse distortion of Title IV’s goal of enhancing student learning. Under the guise of flexibility, the secretary continues to abdicate her responsibility to advance sound, research-based efforts to safeguard students and ignores the consensus of educators and experts who have addressed the Federal Commission on School Safety since its inception.”

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.