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 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…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What is going on in Washington?

Last Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services met to markup their FY 2017 appropriations bill. The full Appropriations Committee marked up the bill on Thursday. NASSP’s David Chodak was present for both markups and has been following appropriations closely, meeting with staff from the Committee’s membership over the past month.

(more…)

Community Connections: Building a Partnership for the Future

Guest post by John Carder

“Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? Say, who are the people in your neighborhood? The people that you meet each day.”

We can all learn a lesson or two from Sesame Street. It reminds us about the importance of getting to know the people and community around us. Establishing relationships with community partners and businesses has become an integral component of the educational experience for students at Marion Harding High School in Marion, OH. (more…)

The Advanced Placement Journey: Making the Most of this Meaningful Student Learning Experience

Guest post by Veronica “Voni” Perrine

It was the fall of my first year as an assistant principal at Middletown High School in Middletown, DE. My principal handed me the Advanced Placement coordinator’s manual and informed me that I was the new coordinator. The thought of being the AP coordinator was, to be honest, a little daunting. I was now in charge of ensuring that students had rigorous courses taught by skilled teachers who would lead these students to take the AP exam—an exam with scores that could influence their future educational opportunities. (more…)

Cultivating Strong Teacher Leaders

Guest post by Marianna Valdez and Tisha White

New Leaders has been training and supporting principals of high-need schools for more than 15 years. From this experience, we have learned that principals who achieve dramatic gains at their schools virtually never lead alone. Our most successful principals unfailingly encourage and cultivate leadership among their teachers so that the burdens and rewards of conceptualizing and carrying out instructional improvement efforts are shared.

There is growing recognition that fostering teacher leadership is key to accelerating school improvement. (more…)

School Leaders Take to the Hill to Advocate for Schools and Students

Guest post by William Parker

On June 21 and 22, 2016, the National Association of Secondary Principals hosted its Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

School leaders from across the country descended upon Capitol Hill as well as heard presentations from experts in advocacy, leadership, and federal policies that affect schools. As a state coordinator for NASSP, I joined Clay McDonald—middle school principal from Piedmont, OK, and president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals—for the two-day conference and Hill visit. (more…)

House Education and the Workforce Committee Approves CTE Reauthorization Bill

A decade after Congress last reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act, the House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act (H.R. 5587) on July 7.

“Today, we’ve taken another important step to ensure every American has access to the skills and education they need to compete in the workforce,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “Career and technical education has placed countless individuals on the path to success, and this bipartisan legislation will empower more individuals to follow that same path.” (more…)

Arts Integration and Student Learning

Guest post by Ashanti Foster

In my school, I have had great success with integrating the arts into classroom learning experiences. This integration can raise student achievement by improving motivation and increasing cognitive development.

Arts integration has proven to be a partnership that increases engagement, deepens understanding, and raises success for students. In President Barack Obama’s 2008 Arts Policy Campaign, he argued for reestablishing the investment in arts education and reigniting the creativity and innovation in America. (more…)

Making the Most of Professional Learning Communities

Guest post by Allison Staffin

A professional learning community (PLC) is more than just a time to prepare lessons, grade papers, and create learning materials—it is an opportunity to impact student learning. Based on the DuFour model for PLCs, it is essential to consider the differences between teaching and learning. PLCs lose credibility unless the educators who are part of them keep the fundamental concepts of Professional Learning Communities at the forefront of their thinking when it comes to educational reform. (more…)

Using Learning Targets as a GPS to Student Learning

Guest post by Drake Shelton

When I drive, my GPS helps me navigate to where I am going. It shows me multiple routes, an estimated arrival time, and the distance to my destination. My GPS has saved me countless hours of frustration by alerting me to traffic and helping me get back on track when I get lost.

But as Connie M. Moss, Susan M. Brookhart, and Beverly A. Long state, “a GPS can’t do any of that without a precise description of where you want to go.” (more…)

ESSA Funding Recommendations Ignored as Senate Committee Passes LHHS-ED Appropriations Bill

After months of speculation, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-ED) appropriations bill moved through subcommittee and full committee last week with bipartisan support for the first time in seven years. The LHHS-ED subcommittee had $161.9 billion to work with for FY17, which was $270 million less than the FY16 enacted levels. The funding level was outlined in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA), which was a two-year bipartisan budget deal that prevented a government shutdown at the end of 2015 and partially restored sequestration cuts to non-defense programs. (more…)

The Orlando Shootings: A Parent’s Guide for Talking to Children

Children and teenagers are better able to cope with upsetting news when they understand more about the event. They need information just as adults do. In the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Orlando, FL, here are some things you can share with your students’ parents to help them when discussing the event with their children.

Where to Begin

Start by asking your child or teenager what they already understand about the shooting. (more…)

On-Campus Behavior Programs: Providing Education, Consequences, and Success

Guest post by Rhonda Calvo

As educators, we are dedicated to the education of every student, but how do you educate every student when some require discipline consequences that are out of school? According to the U.S. Department of Education, “of the 49 million students enrolled in public schools in 2011–2012, 3.5 million students were suspended in-school; 3.45 million students were suspended out-of-school; and 130,000 students were expelled.”

I believe most people would say that out-of-school suspensions are not effective. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

Last Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services met to mark up their FY 2017 appropriations bill. The full Appropriations Committee marked up the bill on Thursday. NASSP’s David Chodak was present for both markups and has been following appropriations closely, meeting with staff from the committee’s membership over the past month. (more…)

Reflections: Who Made You Proud Today?

Put aside the standardized test scores, budget spreadsheets, and graduation rate analysis for your school for just a moment—and join me in some time for reflection.

Think about the students who made a difference in your school or community in a truly significant way. After all, these are the moments that remind us of our impact as educational leaders.

As this year’s record number of applicants for the National Honor Society (NHS) Scholarship clearly proves, there is an abundance of students (more…)

Building Effective Mentoring Programs for Students

Guest post by Kendrick Myers

Have you heard the story of Telemachus? Or maybe the story of Odysseus? Either way, if you research mentoring, you will find that many authors make references to Greek mythology that paint the picture of a mentor as a wise teacher, advisor, counselor, advocate, and defender.

Yet some educators and scholars would argue differently, referencing Bandura’s social learning theory as the framework for mentoring; a theory that suggests that individuals learn through observing the actions and behaviors of influential role models. (more…)

Where the Candidates Stand on Education

NASSP is keeping its finger on the pulse of presidential politics and where the candidates stand on education. Recently, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) hosted its 2016 Presidential Forum to shed light on the candidates’ positions on education policy issues.

CEF invited each candidate, who was encouraged to send a high-level representative to speak if he or she was unable to attend. Senior Policy Advisor Ann O’Leary represented the Clinton campaign, while Policy Analyst Donni Turner represented the Sanders campaign. Several attempts were made to have representation from the Donald Trump campaign; however, no one was able to attend. (more…)

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