How Oakland’s Teachers Secured $9.6M in Donated Resources

Last year, I became principal of Oakland High School, a diverse community of just over 1,500 scholars. I’m proud to say that we responded quickly to meeting students’ needs in the wake of COVID-19—Oakland High was the first school in the district to start distributing Chromebooks when the pandemic hit. And with the help of […]

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Before the Bell Rings: Four Ways to Stay Balanced

August. The month for educators of excitement, anticipation, and the start of a new (school) year. Many of us left our classrooms and schools in June with a list of books to read, conferences to go to, and big ideas for the next school year. If you are like me, June, July, and August are months […]

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Onboarding Students and Forming Personal Connections

As a new school year begins, it feels good to reconnect with students and meet new families in our community. As the assistant principal at Vail Academy and High School, a K–12 public school of approximately 475 students in Tucson, AZ, one of my responsibilities is to focus on onboarding new students and guiding them […]

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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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