Learning That Helps Principals be Effective Leaders 

Strong school leadership is critical for shaping productive learning environments. There’s nothing too surprising in that conclusion from “Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters?”, a new report by the Learning Policy Institute. But the report delves into the specifics of principal learning and draws policy implications from a review of 20 years of evidence. One key finding: High-quality principal preparation and professional development programs are associated with positive principal, teacher, and student outcomes. In addition, an emerging focus on equity-oriented leadership has the potential to develop aspiring principals’ knowledge and skills to support diverse learners. 

The report also notes that while access to preservice and in-service learning opportunities covering important content (e.g., leading instruction and developing people) is now widely available, access to important job-based learning opportunities—internships, applied learning, and mentoring or coaching—is still lacking. Access to these opportunities varies across states and by school poverty level. Finally, the report suggests that the quality of principal learning has improved in states and districts that have overhauled standards and used them to inform principal preparation, clinically rich learning opportunities, and assessment for licensure. Read the full report at bit.ly/3Mh3nha

Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. And while the histories, voices, and stories of Hispanic Americans should be honored and taught throughout the school year, this observance is a time to supplement regular lessons by teaching about important events and prominent figures in Hispanic history. For ideas and suggestions, check out resources from the National Endowment for the Humanities (bit.ly/3a5vW3L), the Library of Congress (bit.ly/3M8vLC2), the Anti-Defamation League (bit.ly/3NFM3Du), and PBS (to.pbs.org/3901urE).

NHS Alumni Create Resource to Help Students Navigate College Admissions

After he graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD, and went on to Harvard University, former NHS student Robert Wachen partnered with Amanda Thomsen, another NHS alum at the University of Arkansas to create Mission: Mentor (missionmentor.org). It’s a free college application productivity tool to support high school students through their college application process, including guiding them toward scholarships. “Of the hundreds of high school students we talked with in developing this website, we found that 78% of them missed a life-changing opportunity because they discovered it past the deadline,” Wachen says. “We found that 93% of students felt lost while preparing for college.” The goal, he adds, is to help students hone their passion and find the right college to help them pursue it.

AP Stem Classes are Under-Enrolling Black and Latino Students

Black and Latino students from low-income backgrounds continue to be excluded from crucial learning opportunities, according to “Shut Out: Why Black and Latino Students Are Under-Enrolled in AP STEM Courses,” a report from The Education Trust and Equal Opportunity Schools. Based on a sample of 80 school districts across 24 states and survey data from 200,000 students in 184 schools, the report notes that very few Black and Latino students are enrolled in AP STEM courses that would prepare them for college and a STEM career. For example, less than 2% of Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds who are interested in STEM and aspire to attend college are enrolled in AP Biology. 

According to the report, school and district leaders can increase the number of Black and Latino students who enroll in AP STEM courses by ensuring high schools have college counselors; collecting data on school climate and students’ interests and goals through surveys of students, families, and educators; recruiting and supporting educators of color; and providing professional development on identifying Black and Latino students for advanced classes and using culturally relevant curricula and instructional practices. Read the full report at bit.ly/3wXAqkI.

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