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.

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On September 13, the NASSP State Principals of the Year went to Capitol Hill to advocate for increased funding for Title II and Title IV of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) as well as loan forgiveness for school leaders and increased professional development opportunities for teachers and principals when implementing career and technical education programs. (more…)

Ring in Student Success with Breakfast After the Bell

Guest post by Mieka Sanderson

Millions of low-income students miss out on school breakfast every day.  Not having this important morning meal leaves students fatigued and distracted by hunger pangs. Research shows that food-insecure students are more often tardy, absent, and distracted in the classroom. Studies indicate that increasing school breakfast participation can play a key role in boosting student’s health and academic achievement.

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Celebrate National Principals Month

As we all know, principal leadership is an essential fuel within schools that ultimately determines optimal student and school performance and success. But we also know that principals and the work they do in schools around the country are too often overlooked. (more…)

Payson High School, Part 1: Building a Positive Culture of School Pride and Enthusiasm for Learning

Guest post by Jeff Simon

Indiana Jones was my hero growing up—I wanted to be just like him. And now, as high school administrator, I get to do that every day, because not only did Indiana Jones study culture, he taught it to inquisitive minds and instilled passion in curious students to become lifelong learners.

Principals know that as the culture goes, so does the school. From Day 1, our administrative goal at Payson High School has been to build a culture that focuses on pride in our school and enthusiasm for learning. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations on the supplement, not supplant provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Public comments will be accepted until November 7, and the final regulations are expected to be issued before President Obama ends his term in office in January 2017. (more…)

Supplement, Not Supplant Proposed Regulations Released

On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released proposed regulations on the supplement, not supplant provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The USED will now consider public comments until November 7 with the goal of issuing final regulations before the end of the Obama Administration.

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#ThankAPrincipal Video Contest is Back

This October marks another year celebrating National Principals Month, which means another year of amazing dance moves and lip syncing from our video contest entries.

To celebrate National Principals Month, we are encouraging principals and advisers to get their students involved in creating a video that speaks to all the great things their principal does for the school and community. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

Next week, Congress returns from summer recess with a long list of legislative priorities and a small window to complete these tasks ahead of the November elections. One of the biggest questions is: How will Congress tackle the FY17 budget? (more…)

Developing a Discipline Philosophy: Eagle Pride

Guest post by Cameron Soester

For years many schools have adopted common instructional language, which has produced some amazing results. At Milford Public Schools we have taken a similar approach to adopting common discipline language. Though other programs exist that guide leadership teams to develop a discipline philosophy, we took a path less traveled and made Eagle Pride, a one-of-a-kind customized program for our preK–12 students. (more…)

Recognizing Student Success: Creating a Positive Culture for Students

Guest post by Matthew Younghans

Motivation and success are what drive individuals in any profession. In the school setting, it is critically important that we celebrate and recognize the outstanding things that students accomplish, both inside and outside of the building. Watching students grow and accomplish their goals is one of the main reasons most go into education, myself included. The recognition of students fosters strong relationships among students, families, faculty, and the community and creates a positive school culture where students feel valued. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced on August 18 the three principals who will serve as Principal Ambassador Fellows during the 2016–17 school year. The Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program was launched in 2013 to highlight the voice of the principal within the education community and the country at large. (more…)

Creating Culturally Responsive Schools

Guest post by Helen Gladden

Schools that strive to be culturally responsive believe that there is no one right “set” of experiences, beliefs, and values. They know that each student’s cultural set is his or her self identity. Most importantly, they understand that students are far more likely to fully engage in the learning process when their self identity is understood, accepted, and valued. They are committed to building trust with and among their students, and they know that trust is built through respect. (more…)

Process Report Cards: Creating a Behavior-Based Reporting System

Guest post by Cameron Soester

Grading has always been a tricky issue for school leaders to master. How do you ensure it captures the full picture of a student’s progress and achievement?

Thomas Guskey suggests that a well-rounded and comprehensive grading policy has three well-defined components. They include a product grade that assesses what students know and can do at the moment the assessment is given; a process grade that measures student behaviors; and a progress grade that considers a student’s improvement over time. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On August 5, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the next step in President Obama’s Testing Action Plan—a competitive grant competition to help states innovate and improve the quality of assessments; enhance communications to parents, educators, and other stakeholders; and reduce redundant and ineffective testing in states and districts. Applications for the Enhanced Assessment Grants are due September 22, and ED expects to announce grantees in January 2017. (more…)

Leading Innovative Learning in Traditional Schools

Innovative learning requires the alignment of the entire organization, and that comes down to leadership. We know what that leadership looks like, and we now have standards that don’t just reflect that leadership, but demand it from every school leader, regardless of their context. The 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders call for principals to approach every teacher conversation, every interaction with the central office, every analysis of data, with one question always in mind: How will this empower our students as learners? (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On August 1, thousands of organizations and individuals submitted comments for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the U.S. Department of Education on the proposed regulations for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NASSP coordinated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and 57 of our state affiliates to submit joint comments on behalf of the nation’s preK–12 elementary, middle level, and high school principals. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

Yesterday was the due date for comments to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the proposed regulations for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

NASSP coordinated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and 58 of our state affiliates to submit joint comments on behalf of the nation’s preK–12 elementary, middle level, and high school principals. (more…)

Making the Most of Intervention Time

Guest post by Clint Williams

Every day at Skyridge Middle School ends with an hour we call FLEX. Parents and students always ask, “What is FLEX?” My answer to that question often starts with a chuckle as I think about the best way to answer it. Essentially, FLEX is flexible time built into our schedule that allows us to meet the needs of our students.

During the last seven years, the FLEX program has morphed from a completely exploratory hour to an intervention period. (more…)

Touching Gold with PBIS: Supporting Struggling Students Through Systematic Interventions

Guest post by Greg Bozarth

In 2012, Lava Ridge School District had a simple goal: for all students—even those who struggle with behavioral issues—to learn at high levels. That’s why we formed our PBIS “Touch Gold” program in 2013, and little did we know how important this framework would become for student interventions.

PBIS, or Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support system, seeks to establish a more proactive and positive school culture by using a systematic framework for student interventions. (more…)

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