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.

Expanding on Student Passion: Getting Creative with Career and Technical Education

Guest post by Cameron Soester

Milford High School places great importance on non-core classes. Our career and technical education (CTE) courses and organizations have experienced tremendous success over the years. Much of this success is due to the dedicated staff members who do whatever it takes to allow students to explore their passions within the curriculum. To maintain the strength of these programs, we have devoted time and effort to renew and rejuvenate our CTE programs. (more…)

Every Student Matters

Guest post by John C. Bartlett

When I woke up the morning after Election Day, my to-do list had a new priority: a visit to my English language learner classroom and a conversation with our 50 students who were getting their first taste of American democracy at work. What did these students want and need from me and their teachers? These students wanted to know that they matter, that someone cared about them, and that they were safe. Essentially, they wanted to know what every student needs to know when they walk through the front door of our schools every day. (more…)

The Importance of Building Relationships Within the Community

Guest post by Cameron Soester

In my time at Milford Public Schools, I have learned that it truly takes a village to help our students succeed. Schools and communities share a common goal of creating a learning environment that develops strong students who will one day become productive citizens. Working with the community, however, can be difficult as it takes time and effort for schools to engage its residents and businesses. But taking the time to build these community relationships has been essential to the success of our students at Milford.  (more…)

Advocacy Update

Apply for a School Ambassador Fellowship

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers a unique opportunity for educators to participate in the School Ambassador Fellowship Program. The School Ambassador Fellowship is a paid position that supports ED’s mission by employing educators to contribute their classroom and school expertise to the national education dialogue and in turn facilitate discussions with educators across the country. For those who are selected, the program grants greater knowledge of educational policy and leadership, allowing them to further contribute to their schools and students. (more…)

How to Engage Parents as Partners

Guest post by Lenore M. Kingsmore

When I became the principal of Henry Hudson Regional School seven years ago, there was little to no communication between the home and school. Parental involvement was no more than a booster club that raised money. Research shows time and again that students are more successful in school when they have parents who are engaged in their education. I knew that in order to get the best out of my students and make changes in school culture, I needed to engage parents as decision-making partners. (more…)

Raising Wellness in Arizona

Guest post by Jeff Simon

While many of us are making resolutions for 2017 to lose weight, save money, and live life to the fullest, Payson High School students are hard at work planning our annual Student Wellness Conference, an award-winning event devoted to helping students become their best selves. (more…)

Getting the Best Out of the School Community

Guest post by Angie Adrean

 

After becoming superintendent of the Worthington City School District in 2015, Dr. Trent Bowers has stressed to our leadership team that we must connect, communicate, care, and lead. I have found this leadership philosophy particularly helpful in building a positive school culture that brings out the best in both staff and students. These four words aim to show everyone that they are valuable members of the school community and positive and meaningful partners in the educational process.   (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires your engagement as an education stakeholder as states develop legislation to meet the law’s requirements. Since many legislators have limited background in education, it is important that you as a school leader ensure your voice is heard. The ESSA Toolkit for Principals empowers you to advocate on behalf of your school and students and provides you with the necessary tools. (more…)

Using Formative Assessments for School Improvement

Guest post by Jessica Ainsworth

 

The use of standardized or large-scale assessments affect the decision-making of policymakers, educational leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders—as those of us at Lithia Springs High School learned when standardized testing results and other factors placed us on the state’s “at-risk” list. Lithia Springs High was considered a failing school in Georgia, and we had an enormous task before us to change that perception.  (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

A new Congress and a new presidential administration could mean a shake-up in many of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations that have guided your state’s efforts to implement the new law. Be sure your state leaders know the important role school leaders play in student success with the ESSA Toolkit. (more…)

The Power of Teacher Leaders

Guest post by Clint Williams

Administrators are asked to wear a great many hats to represent a number of roles on any given day. Perhaps most important is the role of learning leader. While that role is often seen as the person who is ultimately responsible for ensuring student learning, it is also important to remember that principals and associate principals are responsible for staff learning as well. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

As we get closer to the 115th Congress, there are many questions left unanswered surrounding the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A new presidential administration means a shake-up at the Department of Education (ED), which could lead to many of the regulations passed concerning ESSA being changed or removed altogether. (more…)

2016 #ThankAPrincipal Video Contest Winners Announced

The results are in! Over 62 videos were submitted from schools across the country for the 2016 National Principals Month video contest, and we have three winners! The contest called for students to make a short video giving “props” to their principal—telling us why they love their principal and what he or she means to the students, school, and community. Each of the winning schools will receive a $200 Best Buy gift card.

(more…)

What I Learned in D.C.: Advocacy Matters

Guest post by Steve Carlson

A principal has many things to do—too many, in fact. This makes prioritizing crucial.
It can also mean that we also sometimes neglect things that just don’t have the urgency of a student crisis, a concerned parent, or a homecoming dance. But as I expand my personal learning network (PLN) I have increasingly come to realize that advocacy for education is something to which I needed to devote more energy. It’s important that we not only recognize the important work of principals but remember that advocacy—for our students and our schools—is part of that important work. (more…)

Teacher Evaluations—Creating a Comfort Zone

Guest post by Matthew Younghans

In the ever-changing world of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), significant value has been put on teacher evaluations. While once a narrative write-up process, our current systems are a far cry from the past. The power and control of such processes now lie within the domain of state regulation and at the collective bargaining table, which can even differ by district. I have found that creating a comfort zone regarding the process, inclusive of clear expectations, will help to defuse some of the normal teacher anxiety that can be present during these times.  (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) continues to draw nearer. Now is the time for principals to sit down at the negotiating table to make sure their voices are heard. However, effectively advocating for one’s cause is not always easy. (more…)

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