School of Thought Blog

With content from practicing school leaders and education experts, our School of Thought Blog offers a wealth of information and research on emergent education issues.

Partnerships Open New Job Opportunities to High School Students 

At Harrison High School in Harrison, AR, we are committed to ensuring that every graduate leaves our school as one of “the three Es: enrolled, employed, or enlisted.” This approach has led to a series of initiatives that have transformed our approach to education and career readiness. 


Five Tips for New NHS Advisers

Congratulations! You are now an NHS adviser. At this moment, you are probably filled with a variety of emotions—from excited and anxious to overwhelmed and terrified at the thought of beginning your new role. Don’t panic! You are not alone. I must confess that years ago, I too (along with most other NHS advisers I know) was—and still am at times—in your shoes. You have lots of questions and are wondering what to do. Although I don’t have all the answers, I do have some basic tips to share based on my own experience as an NHS adviser.    


2023 NHS Scholarship Finalists Reflect on Award Experience 

Being named an NHS scholarship finalist is a prestigious honor that comes with the obvious perk of dollars toward a college education. But did you know that finalists also receive the trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C.? Every spring 25 high school seniors designated as finalists come together to meet each other in person, learn from one another, and hear from inspirational speakers. 


An Inspired Approach to SEL 

As a secondary school leader, you know how challenging it can be to bring change into the classroom. You may also be wondering if it’s worth the time to incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) activities. We have good news: 

  1. There are proven benefits of learning SEL skills far beyond the school community and student success. Studies have shown that the benefits are long-term and global, showing increased well-being in individuals up to 18 years later.  
  1. SEL lesson plans can be implemented during the school day in as little as 5–10 minutes, some with little-to-no prep. 

Exploring Principal Collaboration in South Korea 

Embarking on a professional journey with the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) School Leadership Program in South Korea this past July was an exhilarating experience that broadened my understanding of global education dynamics and paved the way for enriching collaborations. I participated in this six-day program with NASSP’s 2023 National Principal of the Year, Donna Hayward, the principal of Haddam Killingworth High School in Higganum, CT.  Because we come from different parts of the U.S., we were able to share our diverse experiences but also spotlight what we—and our principal colleagues around the country—have in common as part of NASSP. 


Igniting the Conversation on Career Possibilities  

Students starting a new school year often focus on beginnings—creating routines, initiating friendships, and starting classes. Beginnings are also an opportunity for students to think about where they’re heading. For most it’s toward a future career they’ll love.   


Three Ways to Help Student Leaders Learn From Failure

Failure is an essential part of life, and its impact on personal growth and development cannot be overstated. However, many student leaders who are accustomed to success and achievement perceive failure as a devastating blow to their self-esteem and academic futures. While they are typically willing to take risks as leaders, they are not always prepared when their efforts fall short. Often compounding their disappointments and anxieties are feelings of embarrassment and the sense they have let others down.  


Redefining Success for Youth Entrepreneurship Education

The head of a private high school in the United States recently reached out to me, concerned about the school’s three-year-old entrepreneurship program. The students were not working on innovative solutions and were not launching businesses based on their ideas. She wanted my guidance on what they were doing wrong and how the school could inspire these 15- to 18-year-olds to be more innovative.


Helping Our School Leaders, Educators, and Students in Maui

Aloha to all our school leader and educator colleagues across the country. As you know, the devastating fires in Lahaina in Maui have shaken all of us here in Hawaii. The entire nation has watched a tragedy unfold, and many of our colleagues have asked us how they can help the Maui schools, educators, students and their families. I’m writing to let everyone know how to donate to support this cause.


Out-of-the-Box Solutions for Hiring During a Teacher Shortage

Twenty days before teachers return to our school this September, in the sweltering heat of the hottest summer in 120,000 years, at 5:01pm on the final day of the official deadline for teachers to notify principals of transfers, I received yet another teacher resignation. The Great Resignation continues, and education has turned into the Serengeti following the seasonal rains, like watching the wildebeest migration in real life.


Moving From Good to Great This Year

With the start of the school year just around the corner, I want to share a note of encouragement with my colleagues around the country. First off, I want to acknowledge how hard you work in such a difficult job. The responsibilities of a school leader are staggering. In my first several years as an administrator, I had a poster on my wall that showed the exponential increase in school leadership duties from the common school movement to today. It is mind-blowing in its complexity. And yet, we still have the same 168 hours in a week. In 2017, pre-pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education shared an example of “A Day in the Life of a High School Principal” for a glimpse into today’s realities.


Four Strategies for Strengthening the Principal-Student Council Relationship

The relationship between a principal and the student council is a strategic one that plays a vital role in shaping the overall educational experience and fostering a positive school culture. With the principal as the school leader and the student council representing the student body, a positive alliance steeped in collaboration and shared vision enhances communication, promotes student engagement, and drives positive change throughout the school community. As the school year begins, remember these four strategies to nurture your principal-student council relationship and enhance the educational journey.


Leading From a Place of Yes

I am honored and truly humbled to be named Massachusetts Principal of the Year. As we all know, it is a collective effort to create dynamic learning experiences in schools, and I could not accomplish anything without the incredibly talented educators I work with, who equally deserve this award. As I reflect on this recognition, I want to share how a few pivotal moments during my career have shaped who I am as a leader.


Wieczorek Looks Back on His Time with NASSP Board

Earlier this summer, Gregg Wieczorek wrapped up his seven-year tenure on the NASSP Board of Directors, including as president in 2021–2022. His final board meeting took place in California, where the entire board also participated in a service project at Poway High School. Wieczorek, who also retired this year from his position as principal of Arrowhead Union High School in Hartland, WI, reflects on his time on the board and as president.


Power Up Your Leadership With NASSP’s Ambassador Program

From left: Penny Vess, Jennifer Castillo, Keith Wood, EdD, Meta Viers (NASSP), Sharon U. Slater, PhD, and Jay Apostol, EdD, meet during Ignite 2023.

Are you passionate about making a positive impact on students’ and school leaders’ lives? Do you want to grow as a leader? If you’re a member of NASSP or its student programs, we have exciting news for you! You have a chance to elevate your leadership journey and connect with like-minded NASSP members by applying for the NASSP Ambassador Program


Sparking Change at Ignite 2023

Robyn Jackson, PhD, and CEO of Mindsteps Inc., during a general session, “You cannot achieve 100% success with an 80% culture.”

For those passionate about leading and learning, the Mile High City was the place to be last week as nearly 2,000 school leaders gathered for Ignite 2023, the premier conference for secondary school leaders. With over 100 peer learning opportunities and interactive experiences held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, school leaders connected with colleagues from around the country and shared actionable strategies to better meet the complex challenges facing their school communities.


Taking Pride in Ethnic Studies

In honor of Pride Month, I want to share my experience advocating for Ethnic Studies, an interdisciplinary field that empowers diverse and often marginalized voices. At a time when America is increasingly polarized, the field of Ethnic Studies has become a contentious topic that often pulls apart communities. As education leaders, our role is to persevere and to explain that it is not Ethnic Studies that is dividing us but a lack of empathy and understanding. The antidote to this division is Intersectional Ethnic Studies.

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