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Principals of Schools with Shootings Create Network for Mutual Support, Outreach, and Advocacy

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NASSP forms “network we wish we had when shooting occurred.”

Reston, VA – The next principal who endures a school shooting can now find support in a network of colleagues who have been through the same experience. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) recently convened a cohort of these school leaders for the first meeting of the NASSP Principals Recovery Network (PRN), who will share their aggregated knowledge immediately with colleagues in crisis and advocate for the needs of schools both to prevent shootings and help schools recover from them.

“This is the network each of us wishes we had when the shooting occurred in our school,” said Frank DeAngelis, former principal of Columbine High School and author of the recently released book, They Call Me Mr. De: The Story of Columbine’s Heart, Resilience, and Recovery. “We’re members of an exclusive club no one ever aspires to join. We know firsthand the struggles of leading our schools through the first few hours and well beyond when a shooter opens fire. With NASSP convening us, we can strengthen one another and be a source of strength for the next principal who experiences a shooting.”

NASSP assembled the network April 2–3, 2019 at its national headquarters in Reston, VA. The initial pool of invitees consisted of principals at the time of 87 school shootings that resulted in fatality or injury since 2013. Those leaders then recommended other supportive principals who had previously experienced shootings. Attendees included (with date of incident in parentheses):

  • Elizabeth Brown, principal, Forest High School, Ocala, FL (April 20, 2018)
  • Jake Heibel, principal, Great Mills High School, Great Mills, MD (March 20, 2018)
  • Ty Thompson, principal, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL (February 14, 2018)
  • Patricia Greer, principal, Marshall County High School, Benton, KY (January 23, 2018)
  • Warman Hall, principal, Aztec High School, Aztec, NM (December 7, 2017)
  • Jeff Meisenheimer, principal, Lee’s Summit North High School, Lee’s Summit, MO (September 29, 2017)
  • Greg Johnson, principal, West Liberty–Salem High School, West Liberty, OH (January 20, 2017)
  • Andy McGill, assistant principal, West Liberty–Salem High School, West Liberty, OH (January 20, 2017)
  • Lauren Ford, former principal, Procter R. Hug High School, Reno, NV (December 7, 2016)
  • Denise Fredericks, principal, Townville Elementary School, Townville, SC (September 28, 2016)
  • Kevin Lein (injured in shooting), former principal, Harrisburg High School, Harrisburg, SD (September 30, 2015)
  • Stacey Ting-Senini, principal, Sparks Middle School, Sparks, NV (October 21, 2013)
  • George Roberts, former principal, Perry Hall High School, Baltimore, MD (August 22, 2012)
  • Andy Fetchik, former principal, Chardon High School, Chardon, OH (February 27, 2012)
  • Michael Sedlak, former assistant principal, Chardon High School, Chardon, OH (February 27, 2012)
  • Michael Bennett (injured in shooting), former assistant principal, Columbia High School, East Greenbush, NY (February 9, 2004)
  • Frank DeAngelis, former principal, Columbine High School, Littleton, CO (April 20, 1999)

Principals discussed the challenges of restoring a learning focus after a shooting, and the fine line of commemorations that can either advance healing or reopen emotional wounds. Conversations also revolved around the need for additional mental health services for schools, both to prevent violent incidents and to help schools recover from them. Of particular note was the principals’ emphasis on the mental health needs of teachers and other adults who might be in trauma following a shooting–including the principals themselves.

“Effective leadership is absolutely essential to help a school recover from a shooting, and so the principal often feels the need to take care of everyone else,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “As NASSP’s new Building Ranks framework for school leadership indicates, personal wellness is a crucial factor in the schoolwide success. That wellness applies of course to students, but also to all the adults who contribute to student learning. Especially after a traumatic event, principals must see to their own well-being both for their own sake and for the sake of the school.”

In addition to coordinating outreach to principals after a school shooting, the PRN will prospectively create a series of resources on recovering from trauma. The network will also work to inform policies at all levels of government that serve to prevent school shootings and assist in recovery.

To speak with a PRN member, contact Bob Farrace, NASSP Public Affairs Director at farraceb@nassp.org or 703-860-7252


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 Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

NASSP Awards Prestigious 2019 National Honor Society Scholarship of $25K to Columbus, OH, High School Senior Aisho Ali

NHS logo

NASSP logo

NASSP awards $2 million in scholarships in 2019 to aid in college access and student success

Reston, VA – The National Honor Society (NHS) announced that Aisho Ali, a senior at Franklin Heights High School in Columbus, OH, has been selected as the national winner of the esteemed $25,000 NHS Scholarship. Ali, who was chosen from more than 11,000 applicants, was awarded Friday during a surprise presentation attended by Ohio Deputy Superintendent John Richard, South-Western City School District Superintendent Bill Wise, Ali’s fellow NHS members, and the senior class. The scholarship program is supported by the parent organization of NHS, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

In addition to high academic achievements at Ali’s high school and Columbus State Community College, she has also participated in several extracurricular activities and holds many leadership positions. She has served as vice president of her school’s NHS chapter; held officer positions in student council, class council, and Key Club; and founded the school’s chapter of the UNICEF club.

Outside of school, Ali volunteers at The Ohio State Project Downtown to make meals for the homeless and serves on the attorney general’s Teen Ambassador Board, representing Franklin County to propose policies to Ohio lawmakers to help propel positive changes in underprivileged neighborhoods. In this capacity, she tackled teen drug abuse, specifically the teen opioid epidemic, through proposing and implementing an after-school program that educates teens about the negative effects of drug use, while also providing a safe place for displaced teens to focus on their school work.

In her application essay, Ali attributed her drive and passion for service to her community: “Growing up in an underprivileged neighborhood molded my character into one that is understanding and ignited by a passion to serve those less fortunate. Furthermore, with a deep understanding of the importance of inclusion, equity, and diversity, from which I gained from my neighborhood, I was able to contribute a unique enhancement to my leadership skills.”

Ali plans to attend The Ohio State University in fall 2019, where she will study neuroscience.
“While Aisho’s academic success is surely impressive, she also stands out as someone who embodies everything NHS represents because of her commitment to making an immediate impact right in her own backyard,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “The NHS Scholarship program was developed to empower students like Aisho, as well as all 600 scholarship semifinalists and finalists, to invest in their futures and lay the groundwork for lifelong success by helping to offset the cost of higher education. Aisho is a perfect representation of the scholarship attributes. We are pleased to celebrate this impressive young woman’s current accomplishments and future success.”
In the 2018–19 application year, NHS awarded $2 million in scholarships to 600 students. Of these 600 students, 575 semifinalists received a $3,200 scholarship award and 24 finalists received a total award of $5,625. Since 1946, more than $15 million in scholarships has been awarded to outstanding NHS member high school seniors.

“NASSP extends our congratulations to all semifinalists and finalists. We are pleased to recognize their hard work and dedication to their education and their communities,” said Bartoletti.

For nearly 100 years, NHS members have been making a difference in their schools and communities, and the NHS Scholarship is NASSP’s way of recognizing the most exceptional of these student leaders. Senior NHS members in good standing are eligible to apply in the fall. Each year, recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated work to support the four pillars of NHS membership: scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

For more information about NHS and the scholarship, visit www.nhs.us/scholarship.


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 Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

New Research Project Looks at the Causes and Impacts of Principal Turnover, and Solutions

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Report indicates high-poverty schools hit hardest by principal churn

Reston, VA—Principals are a key in-school factor associated with student achievementWhen principals leave, it can disrupt school progress, increase teacher turnover, and stall student achievement. A new study developed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals(NASSP) and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) reviews existing research to identify why school leadership matters and the impacts of principal mobility on student achievement. It looks at the data on principal mobility and ways that policymakers can improve principal retention, especially in schools with higher percentages of students from low-income families, students of color, and low-performing students where turnover is highest.

The report, Understanding and Addressing Principal Turnover: A Review of the Research was released today in Washington, D.C., at the 2019 NASSP Advocacy Conference and is the first part of an intensive project by the two organizations to explore the causes of and solutions to principal attrition.

The report reviews 35 major studies on principal turnover. It provides guidance to policymakers, district administrators, and school stakeholders interested in improving the stability of school leadership, recommending five key evidence-based strategies drawn from the research:

  1. Provide high-quality professional learning opportunities, both initial preparation and in-service, to give principals the necessary skills and competencies for school leadership.
  2. Improve working conditions to foster principals’ satisfaction with their role.
  3. Ensure adequate and stable compensation for principals, commensurate with the responsibilities of the position, to value principals’ contributions and to attract and retain effective leaders.
  4. Support decision-making authority in school leadership to allow principals to shape decisions and solutions to address the specific needs of their staff and students.
  5. Reform accountability systems to ensure that incentives encourage effective principals to stay in challenging schools to support teachers and improve student learning.

“The research consistently highlights the relationship between principal effectiveness and student success,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “It also highlights our nation’s consistent underinvestment in principal effectiveness. The findings of this report, and those forthcoming as this project continues, will provide clear direction on the ways NASSP can provide guidance in how to retain and continue to support our best leadership talent.”

The brief notes that several studies have found a clear relationship between principal turnover and student test score losses across grade levels and subjects. This relationship is stronger in high-poverty, low-achieving schools—the schools in which students most rely on education for their future success.

The authors suggest that higher turnover in these schools is likely because they tend to have fewer resources, more challenging working conditions, and less-competitive salaries compared to better-resourced schools.

While the national average rate of principal turnover is approximately 18 percent, turnover is higher in schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty (21 percent). In Miami-Dade County Public Schools, for example, 28 percent of principals in the highest-poverty schools leave each year compared to 18 percent of principals in the lowest-poverty schools; and in Philadelphia, 33 percent of principals working in the highest-poverty schools leave each year compared to 24 percent of principals in the lowest-poverty schools. While the bulk of turnover is due to voluntary retirements or such factors as principals seeking less-challenging schools, better-prepared principals (including those who have had internships and/or mentors) are better equipped to manage challenges and stay longer, even in under-resourced schools

“The research is clear: Schools with the fewest resources, which are usually those with the most underserved students, are more likely to see high principal turnover,” said LPI President Linda Darling-Hammond. “Because principals are so critical to student success, this is a priority issue that policymakers must address if they are to ensure that all students learn in schools led by strong leaders who are well-supported to stay and lead their schools for the long run.”

The brief was released as more than 350 principals from across the country prepared to meet with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., at the 2019 NASSP Advocacy Conference and 2019 NAESP National Leaders Conference. This first brief provides direction for more intensive research, which will take place through fall 2019. The second brief will be released in summer 2019, coinciding with the 2019 National Principals Conference, July 18–20 in Boston. Additional original quantitative and qualitative research will be conducted throughout 2019, and a third brief and final report are scheduled to be released in the fall.


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.

About LPI

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

Literacy Proponents Denounce Proposed Budget Cuts

Administration’s Third Attempt to Eliminate Comprehensive Literacy Program

WASHINGTON, DC—Advocates for Literacy, a coalition of over 60 organizations focused on increasing the federal commitment to improve literacy instruction through evidenced-based practices, strongly opposes the elimination of the $190 million Literacy for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) program—referred to as Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants—in the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal.

Creating a globally competent workforce depends on students acquiring reading and writing skills that enable them to develop important abilities in such areas as math, science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. Despite the fundamental importance of reading and writing, only 35 percent of fourth-grade students, 35 percent of eighth-grade students, and 37 percent of twelfth-grade students performed at or above the proficient level on the reading assessment of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – the Nation’s Report Card.[i] Furthermore, significant gaps in the average scores between student groups remain unchanged for many of the nation’s neediest populations.Research clearly demonstrates that a high-quality, literacy-rich environment beginning in early childhood is one of the most important factors in determining school readiness and success, high school graduation, college access and success, and workforce readiness.

The Advocates for Literacy coalition believes that literacy is a critical component of job readiness, and it is essential that all American students graduate with the literacy skills they need to be successful in the workplace. A strong federal commitment to literacy is imperative. The Coalition believes the Administration’s budget missed an important opportunity to support students and the economy.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was established to ensure that all students have equitable access to a quality education and to narrow achievement gaps; high-quality reading and writing instruction are foundational components of a quality education. LEARN supports states in a comprehensive, systemic approach to strengthen evidenced-based literacy and early literacy instruction for children from early learning through high school and supports district capacity to accelerate reading and writing achievement for all students. Additionally, LEARN is the only funding stream that helps states and districts support high-quality professional development for teachers, librarians, principals, specialized instructional support personnel, and other educators to improve literacy instruction for struggling readers and writers, including English learners and students with disabilities.

A strong federal commitment to literacy is imperative to ensure a strong economy and national defense. We believe the administration’s budget misses the mark to invest in our nation’s future.


About Advocates for Literacy

Advocates for Literacy is a coalition of over 60 organizations that supports improved literacy instruction through comprehensive, birth through grade twelve state-led literacy plans that target struggling and economically-disadvantaged students with low-performing English language arts assessment scores. Members include:

Academic Language Therapy Association
ACT
Advocacy Institute
Alliance for Excellent Education
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Federation of Teachers
American Occupational Therapy Association
Association on Higher Education and Disability
Association for Middle Level Education
CAST
Council of Administrators of Special Education
Council for Exceptional Children
Center for the Collaborative Classroom
Education Northwest
Early Care and Education Consortium
Easterseals
Every Child Reading
First Five Year Fund
First Focus Campaign for Children
Grimes Reading Institute
Higher Education Consortium
HighScope Educational Research Foundation
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters
Institute for Educational Leadership
International Dyslexia Association
International Literacy Association
Keys to Literacy
Knowledge Alliance
Learning Ally
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Literacy How, Inc.
National Adolescent Literacy Coalition
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of State Boards of Education
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Black Child Development Institute
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Families Learning
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Council of Teachers of English
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Down Syndrome Society
National Education Association
National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform
National Rural Education Association
National Urban Alliance for Effective Education
National Women’s Law Center
National Writing Project
Parents as Teachers
Reading Partners
Reading Recovery Council of North America
Scholastic Inc.
School Social Work Association of America
TASH
Teach Plus
TESOL International Association
The Arc
United Way Worldwide
WestEd
ZERO TO THREE


[i] Fourth and eighth grade reading scores come from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and twelfth grade reading scores come from the 2015 NAEP.

NASSP and Learning Policy Institute Launch Intensive Research Initiative on Principal Turnover

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Yearlong research partnership will examine school leadership issues that affect student success

Reston, VA—The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) today announced an intensive research project to identify the causes and impact of principal turnover nationwide. This comprehensive examination of principal turnover will produce recommendations for policymakers at all levels of government, from federal to local districts. LPI is leading the research effort with assistance from WestEd.

About 1 in 5 principals leave their school each year. Schools in lower-income communities feel the greatest impact, with a principal retention rate of 79 percent, compared with 85 percent in higher-income communities, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education in July. This discontinuity in leadership often impedes school success by disrupting growth plans before they come to fruition and has a negative impact on teacher satisfaction and student achievement. This joint research project will place the U.S. Department of Education figures in context, combining them with national data and current literature on principal turnover. LPI will conduct original survey and qualitative research that will delve deeply into several research questions, including:

  • What, if any, are the common factors among districts with the greatest rates of principal turnover? How do these factors vary across states and regions?
  • Do principals of certain demographics leave their positions at higher rates than others? How do these data vary in rural, suburban, and urban areas, or by other school characteristics?
  • What is the financial impact of principal turnover?

“The research is clear on what effective leadership looks like, but our understanding of why many principals do not remain in place to provide continuous leadership to fulfill long-term goals remains anecdotal,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “We are confident this research project will fill the information gaps and provide definitive direction for how the federal government, states, and districts can best invest their resources to retain leadership talent and advance student learning.”

Using a competitive proposal process, NASSP selected LPI from a pool of the nation’s leading research institutes to manage the project. LPI’s groundbreaking research on teacher shortages has informed national and state policies to improve teacher recruitment and retention. The Institute has also conducted research on effective principal preparation and professional development.

“Research shows that high-quality school leadership is associated with greater student achievement, including graduation rates and test scores,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute. “We also know that when principals remain in their schools for longer periods of time, student achievement improves. By investigating the reasons that principals leave schools and learning more about the impact on students, we can help chart a course for increasing principal retention so that all students have opportunities for academic success that prepare them for career, college, and civic participation.”

The first research brief, consisting of a literature review and an analysis of current data, will be released on March 19, coinciding with the 2019 NASSP Advocacy Conference. The second brief will be released in summer 2019, coinciding with the 2019 National Principals Conference, July 18–20 in Boston. Additional original quantitative and qualitative research will be conducted throughout 2019, and a third brief and final report are both scheduled to be released in the fall.

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.

About LPI

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

NASSP Announces Finalists for 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year

Winner to be revealed during National Assistant Principals Week, April 8–12, 2019

Reston, VA– The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has announced three assistant principals from across the United States as finalists for NASSP’s 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year. Each year, NASSP recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students. These assistant principals are acknowledged by their peers for the exemplary contributions they have made to the profession.

Lainie Kitzmiller has served as assistant principal for the past eight years at Empire High School in Tucson, AZ, a school which opened its doors in 2005 as the nation’s first comprehensive public high school to completely abandon textbooks in favor of a 1:1 laptop initiative. Though Empire was already renowned for its high achievement, Kitzmiller led a reimagining of the school’s mission in 2014 to focus on 24/7 learning and relationships in a personalized environment that values individual differences. Drawing on her middle school background, she co-created the school’s remediation program to intervene with students still mastering certain standards. The number of failing grades by freshmen has also dropped significantly during the past few years with Kitzmiller’s creation of the freshman team, a group of counselors and teachers who focus on transition to high school and early intervention for new students who are struggling academically. Her success as an administrator has not gone unnoticed by the Vail Unified School District, which now regularly assigns administrative interns to Kitzmiller so that she can help them launch their own leadership careers.

Meghan Redmond is in her fourth year as assistant principal at Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, AK, a K–12 school consisting of 134 students who can only access the school by boat or plane. Because the remote nature of the school limits opportunities for exposure to various careers and other robust experiences, Redmond leads the school’s quarterly exploration weeks which allow students to focus on one or two courses that help them explore careers and interests—with some leading to industry-based certifications. She also started the Small Schools Matter group to draw attention to the needs of small, remote schools, and recently brought students to the state capital of Juneau to advocate for funding. Driven to provide a culturally relevant education for the nearly 100 percent Yup’ik Eskimo Alaska Native population, Redmond incorporates the native language into the school. Such efforts build trust within the native community—a trust which is often tested by high teacher turnover in rural Alaska. The school’s administrative team focuses on valuing teacher talent in order to retain it, evidenced by a 100 percent staff retention rate for the current school year.

Gregory Schillinger brings 16 years of leadership experience to his position as associate principal at Rutland High School in Rutland, VT, a socioeconomically diverse school that maintains a graduation rate of 98 percent. Living the mantra of his district’s leadership, “Every student, every day,” Schillinger prioritizes relationships as a gateway to deep learning, instituting an advisory program and regularly surveying the school community to ensure that each student is well-known by at least one adult in the school. Under Schillinger’s guidance, the freshman team has developed an interdisciplinary Global Studies and STEM fair and also participated in the Global Issues Network conference. Both are project-based events which require that students take ownership of their learning. These programs illustrate how Rutland High School has evolved its philosophy on student outcomes. The school now prioritizes improved student learning by allowing multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning. “We don’t let students off the hook with a bad grade,” Schillinger says. “Instead, they need to keep trying until they’ve demonstrated that they can do the work.” Schillinger is a former executive council member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and he frequently consults with schools and presents for Marzano Research.

“The work of these three leaders reminds us that when you invest in leadership, you invest in learning,” says NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “They model the kind of forward-thinking, integrated leadership NASSP articulates in the Building Ranks framework, and we are honored to recognize these individuals for their commitment to their students, school, and 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 selects one assistant principal to represent their state. Of these, three finalists are named as contenders for the award, with one being recognized as the NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year.

The 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year will be announced in April 2019 during National Assistant Principals Week and formally recognized during the 2019 National Principals Conference in Boston, July 18–20. For more information, visit www.nassp.org/apoy.


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 Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.

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.

NASSP Statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Reston, VA –NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address:

While his explicit mentions were few, the president actually said quite a bit about education in tonight’s State of the Union address. His opening reflections on our nation’s great accomplishments–the liberation of Europe, the moon landing, and others—reflect a uniquely American commitment to draw out the best in each person. Buzz Aldrin and generations of great Americans launched their dreams in a robust system of public education that releases the full potential of every child in our nation.

And so, we encourage President Trump to take the next logical step, acknowledge the value of our system of education, and launch his commitment to renewing America’s infrastructure by renewing America’s schools, half of which are more than 50 years old. We count on the president’s support of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, recently introduced in the Senate, which directs $100 billion to provide modern and safe learning environments for each of our nation’s children.

Each child means even those who are undocumented, who remain marginalized in their own schools in part by the president’s demagoguing rhetoric. Each child also means minority students who are disproportionately affected by exclusionary discipline policies–in much the same way the president acknowledges that our criminal justice system “wrongly and disproportionately wronged the African American community.” In the same spirit of righting that wrong, we encourage the president and Congress to join the nation’s school leaders in pursuing a remedy that reduces the racial disparity in exclusionary discipline previously addressed by the 2014 discipline guidance.

Finally, we applaud the president’s call to accelerate research on childhood cancer. A child’s success begins with their personal well-being, and we look forward to working with the Trump administration on this and other common goals.

 

 

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 Society, National Junior Honor Society, National 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.