Preparing Tomorrow’s Principals Today

Being a principal can be a lonely and isolating task. To help prepare assistant principals for the job, Pitt County Schools in Greenville, NC, created an intentional principal pipeline with a training program called the Academy for Transformational School Leaders. With a combination of group face-to-face trainings, virtual meetings, and ongoing individual coaching, the 18-month program develops an assistant principal’s skills as a virtuous leader, team builder, and responsible risk-taker. By investing time and resources in developing assistant principals’ self-awareness and skills as a coach today, the district is supporting its own school leaders of tomorrow.

A Sporting Chance

Including transgender athletes in high school sports has been largely without regulation. However, in the 2020–21 school year, a record number of states introduced legislation regarding how transgender and nonbinary student athletes compete in school sports, and in January 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. Because public education is regulated by state policy, there are limitations to what principals and administrators can do to support transgender and nonbinary student athletes. But here’s what they can do:

  • Use language that recognizes and honors the lived experience of transgender and nonbinary students.
  • Provide professional development for all faculty members and staff.
  • Know that school-based policy development should start on campus and keep the well-being of students in mind.

Minding Our P’s and Q’s

Inspired by a need to innovate, South View Middle School in Edina, MN, developed strategies to improve teaching and learning through personalization. Strategies are based on three core components from the Institute of Personalized Learning. They include:

  • Proficiencies: Teams meet each Wednesday morning to discuss student progress and proficiencies, and to ask Q’s during this collaboration time. 
  • Pathways: Daily flex time has been added to the schedule so students can catch up, relearn, or engage in enrichment activities.
  • Profile: Each student has their own learner profile outlining their interests, learning preferences, and progress.  

Building a Strong Climate and Culture

Building a strong climate and culture is one of the most important responsibilities of school leadership, but it doesn’t lie with the principal alone. At Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI, school leaders found that the most transformative changes were achieved when they entrusted the community and students to be leaders of change. According to Mt. Hope’s principal, Deborah DiBiase, trust and change begin with kindness, honesty, transparency, and an unwavering commitment to persevere. With those elements in place, a community can create and support the changes necessary for a strong school climate and culture.