Four Ways to Anchor Yourself as a Leader

I still remember the shock on March 13, 2020, when we sent students home to complete the year online. Looking back, these last 16 months have been beyond stormy—just one wave after another as we battled to support teachers, support our school community, support our students, and somehow find something that supported ourselves. Throughout this challenging time, […]

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Inclusion Beyond the Classroom

Establishing a culture of inclusion across the building and beyond the classroom not only benefits the students being included, it also helps build a positive culture for everyone in the school community. As is typical in most schools, we’ve worked to maximize the inclusion opportunities for our students with developmental disabilities. Over the last several […]

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A Small Token Goes a Long Way

I was about to enter my first year of a principalship, and you could feel the sunny Cape Cod days slipping away quickly. I had just signed my first principal contract, and I wanted to hit the ground running as soon as I entered my new middle level school. Friends laughed at me that evening […]

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Connections, Connections, Connections: We All Need Them

We have seen more than ever this year that connections are necessary. We need to be purposeful in giving our students the tools to make sure these connections are meaningful and lasting. The Connections program at Lowery Freshman Center is more than “just a class.” With its focus on building supportive relationships, it is making […]

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Virtual Clubs: Connecting Students During a Challenging Year

“I finally feel like I’m a part of something.” —Seventh grade student in Anime Club When those words were uttered extemporaneously following an interview with members of the Downingtown Middle School Anime Club, both the club sponsor, Todd Shirley, and I did a double take. That seventh grade student had struggled to make friends and […]

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Being Accessible as a School Leader

I had an impromptu meeting one recent morning that was just what I needed. Around 7:50 a.m., I received a call from our receptionist to let me know a young man needed to see me. I quickly responded and asked her to send him to my office.

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We Stand Together

As former principals, we know that every day and every stage in a child’s education matters. Students deserve to step into schools—from their first day of preschool through their high school graduation—that foster their learning, nurture their development, and inspire and support them to become their best, most authentic selves. As principals, we know that […]

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Student Professional Learning Day: Future-Ready

As we near the end of the school year, I can honestly say that this has been the most challenging year as an educator. Our school has been in person since August, with additional precautions. Like most other schools, we spent a great deal of last summer preparing and planning for a year that had […]

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Finding the ‘Why’ in School Improvement Plans

At some point in the career of every school leader, we reach a point where we feel like we are spinning our wheels, constantly pivoting to adapt to new changes or finding our community beginning to question the needs and effectiveness of existing initiatives and changes. It is inevitable that strong but elastic organizations will […]

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Leave the Seed, Keep the Flesh: Reflections From Principalship and Motherhood

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few,” says the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki.  We thought we had it all figured out, like avocado toast. Pre-pandemic, we added pumpkin seeds and feta and Mike’s hot honey and slathered it on Mestemacher rye bread. We made guacamole and avocado […]

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