The Principals' Office Blog

Principals Share Their Thoughts on Fundraising

NAESP released the results of its 2007 fundraising survey during its 86th Annual Convention and Exposition in Seattle (which, by the way, was a great success).

What? No Rain in Seattle for Two Days?

Thousands of principals have soared to Seattle this week for NAESP’s 86th Annual Convention and Exposition and for two days straight, they’ve been welcomed with sunny skies and unusually warm temperatures. But alas, this is Seattle and the raindrops are expected later today. But the principals have plenty of exciting sessions to choose from indoors in the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. For the latest on what’s happening at this year’s Convention, visit Convention News Online at http://web.naesp.org/convNews/ to read about sessions and events. And for a real treat, read blogs from Jan Borelli, principal of Westwood Elementary School in Oklahoma, and Tracy Latimer, an aspiring principal at Eisenberg Elementary School in Nevada. NAESP's Convention will continue through April 2.

Urban Teachers, Principals Have High Expectations and Respect for Students

A majority of urban teachers and building administrators hold high expectations for students and care whether students are successful, according to a national survey conducted by the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education. However, the survey also found that nearly one-third of teachers and nearly 16 percent of administrators agree that students at their schools are not motivated to learn.  Nearly one-quarter of teachers also agree that most students at their school would not be successful at a community college or university. On the other hand, only 7 percent of principals and assistant principals agree with that statement.

The survey report, Where We Teach, outlines findings from 12 urban school districts in 10 states. The survey’s findings are grouped under eight areas: bullying; expectations of success; influence of race; professional climate; professional development; parental involvement; safety; and trust, respect, and ethos of caring.

NAESP, NASSP, NEA, and AFT collaborated on the study’s recommendations. The full report, Where We Teach, can be downloaded at www.nsba.org.

Soar to Seattle

In less than two weeks, thousands of principals will “Soar to Seattle” for NAESP’s 86th Annual Convention and Exposition (March 29-April 2) at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Some of the highlights of this year’s Convention include keynote speakers Jonathan Kozol, Marian Wright Edelman, and Erin Gruwell; the presentation of NAESP’s inaugural Read Aloud Award; the release of NAESP’s 2007 fundraising survey results; and sessions on issues important to principals, including No Child Left Behind, school leadership, interpreting data, early childhood education, and technology. For further information about the Convention, visit www.naesp.org

Is More Daylight Worth the Payoff?

Have you recovered from your lost hour of sleep? In accordance with the new federal law, daylight-saving time started three weeks earlier this year.  And though most of us welcome the extra overall daylight, some school administrators worry about children’s safety as they travel to school in the dark.  Add to that the fact that testing times started this week for many districts—and students could use the extra sleep—and that hour will be missed even more sorely.   

More Evidence Points to the Need for High-Quality After-School Programs

A new report by the New Hampshire State Afterschool Task Force evaluates the effectiveness of after-school programs in elementary and middle schools. The report provides evidence that academically focused after-school programs cause students to improve both academically and behaviorally. NAESP’s publication Leading After-School Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do, also provides evidence of the benefits of high-quality after-school programs, the importance of a seamless school day, and the roles that principals—and others who lead after-school programs—have in ensuring academically enriching environments for children.  Ten case studies of high-quality after-school programs were featured in NAESP’s book, Making the Most of After-school Time.

Are Private Schools Better than Public Schools?

In the March/April issue of Principal magazine (Can Public Education Survive?) Henry Braun, the Boisi Professor of Education and Public Policy at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, tackles the private schools vs. public schools debate. Braun applies a different assessment model for analyzing NAEP data for students in grades 4 and 8 and shares some surprising results.

Principals Take Their Message to Capitol Hill Re: ESEA and Budget

This week, principals from around the country gathered in the Washington, D.C.area to attend NAESP’s Federal Relations Conference. On the first day of the conference the principals attended sessions on the budget process, coalition building, and balancing grass-roots advocacy with the demands of the principalship. They were then briefed by Sally McConnell, NAESP’s Associate Executive Director for Government Relations, about taking their message to Capitol Hill. On the second day of the conference the principals did just that—they met and talked with federal legislators about the ESEA Reauthorization and the federal education budget. Keep abreast of NAESP's recommendations for the ESEA reauthorization as well as how legislative issues affect our schools by visiting the Federal Legislation Action Center.

Should Elementary Schools Welcome Sixth Graders?

A new study conducted by researchers at Duke University and the University of California at Berkeley has concluded that sixth graders perform better at elementary schools than they do in middle schools. “Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior” finds that sixth grade students who attend middle school are more likely to exhibit disciplinary problems, and that “the exposure to older peers and the relative freedom from supervision have deleterious consequences.”  Read the full text of the study at http://www.pubpol.duke.edu/research/papers/SAN07-01.pdf.

Hindsight is 20/20, Vision is 2021

What will schools look like in 2021? Will they exist as we know them today or will students be engaged in a new schooling environment of self-learning? And given the fact that the job of principals has changed tremendously within the last decade, what will the profession look like in 15 years? These are some of the questions that NAESP's Vision 2021 initiative is examining. NAESP, in partnership with the Institute for Alternative Futures and state affiliate organizations, is working toward engaging members, nonmembers, NAESP staff, and diverse stakeholder groups to understand how the future is changing for pre-K-8 principals; and envision strategies, models, structures, and relationships that will realign NAESP with the future. We invite you to engage in compelling conversations that will take us all on a journey into the leadership future. Some of the conversations will take place later this month during NAESP’s Annual Convention (March 29-April 2) in Seattle. In the upcoming months, we will also feature conversations about Vision 2021 and the future of the principalship right here on the Principals’ Office. Stay Tuned.Until then, be sure to visit http://www.vision2021.org/ to learn more about this exciting initiative.

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