Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., introduced a bill yesterday that creates a grant program to provide principals with professional development and mentoring programs to strengthen their knowledge of early childhood education. The purpose of the bill is to help principals create a seamless continuum of learning experiences from pre-K through grade 3 by providing a delivery system to train principals how to provide appropriate early learning environments.
This week marks the final congressional session before the Independence Day recess. When Congress returns to Washington the week of July 12, there will be less than 50 legislative days remaining in the calendar year. There continues to be a growing belief in education policy circles that neither the ESEA reauthorization nor the fiscal year 2011 education appropriations bill (Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education) will be completed before the end of 2010.
Research shows that children who begin formal schooling behind their peers are likely to stay behind and are more at risk of dropping out of school. This is a tragedy of epic proportions—most of these children are destined to lead permanently challenged lives, often adversely affecting their families and our society.
As the school year comes to an end, so does the tenure of NAESP's Mentor Center principal. Here's her final entry:
With retirements, resignations, and staff moving into different positions in the district, I needed to hire seven new staff members. Most school districts around us are on the opposite end of the spectrum; they are laying off staff. Because of this I have had to screen hundreds of applications for the hiring process. Something that you don’t learn in college is how to efficiently screen applications to narrow down the amount of candidates for interviews.
Secretary Arne Duncan estimates that as many as 300,000 educators could lose their jobs before the start of the next school year due to drastic deficits in state and local school budgets across the country. Join thousands of your colleagues in calling for Congress to save education jobs!
Crayola, in partnership with NAESP’s National Principals Resource Center, will award up to 20 schools with mini-grants valued at $3,000 to help strengthen their arts education programs. The mini-grant program, “Champion Creatively-Alive Children,” will fund each project with a $2,500 monetary grant and $500 worth of Crayola products.
The mini-grant program aims to help educators implement and document innovative arts education projects to share best practices and inventive approaches to nurturing creatively alive children. As evidenced in our arts-themed issue of Principal magazine, integrating the arts into the school curriculum develops the whole child. In order to reach their full potential and grow into self-motivated learners, children’s natural curiosity and explorative spirits must be nurtured. However, diminishing school budgets often lead to arts education being among the first programs to be reduced or cut altogether.
Application materials and more details about the program are now available online. The deadline to apply is Aug. 15, 2010.
Susan E. Bridges, principal of A.G. Richardson Elementary School in Culpeper, Virginia, testified on May 19 before the House Committee on Education & Labor about the tools principals need to successfully turn schools around. Bridges recounted her personal experience in using data and developing a sense of community to overcome the challenges of redistricting.
“I firmly believe that I have been successful in leading change in my school because of my hard-working and dedicated staff and because of the support and flexibility in decision-making that I have been given by the school district’s administration,” Bridges said. “To be effective, all principals require the authority and autonomy to make necessary changes in their school buildings. This means principals must be able to arrange building staff and resources to address the needs of students, and to work collaboratively with colleagues both inside and outside of the school to identify the tools needed to sustain change and growth.”
Watch the live feed of the hearing and let us know your thoughts about turnaround leadership.
We proudly welcome Robert L. Monson, principal of Parkston Elementary School in Parkston, South Dakota, as the recently elected president-elect of the 15-person board of directors of NAESP. “Facing today’s challenges and those yet to come will require a president-elect who has leadership experience and forward-looking vision,” Monson said. “We must be advocates on many levels and in numerous areas to provide the best eduation for all of our students.”
Monson, a member of NAESP since 1997 who served on its board of directors from 2007 to 2009, has also held memberships in the School Administrators of South Dakota and in the South Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals, serving in the latter as president (2005-2006) and treasurer (2001-2004).
In NAESP zone elections, the following individuals were elected to the board of directors: Dean Warrenfeltz, principal of Berkeley County School in Martinsburg, West Virginia, will represent Zone 3 principals in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia; Nancy Flatt Meador, principal of Madison Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee, will represent Zone 4 principals in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands; and Mark J. White, principal of Hintgen Elementary School in La Crosse, Wisconsin, will represent Zone 6 principals in Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Barbara A. Chester, principal of Cherry Park Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, will be installed as NAESP 2010-2011 president on July 1 and Monson will assume the office of president one year later.
Last week, I represented NAESP at the Learning First Alliance (LFA) Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit assembled 17 national organizations that collectively represent 10 million people, and demonstrated the true meaning of strength in numbers. One goal of LFA was to establish united messages regarding pertinent issues in education, and LFA convened panels to provide attendees with outside perspectives on these issues.
One of the panels addressed the Common Core State Standards initiative and included representatives from the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The summit’s attendees generally agreed with the concepts behind the standards, but questions emerged as a result of the discussion.
A senior adviser to Rep. Dick Gephardt and a former Republican staff director for the House Committee on Education & Labor provided an overview of the probability of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the consensus was that it would not happen before the 2010 elections. Both agreed that members of Congress were spending a lot of time on the campaign trail and bringing constituents’ issues back to the halls of Congress. They cited an example of a conversation between a member of Congress and a local elementary school principal that made its way to Washington.
Point being made: Let your voice be heard.
—Diane Cargile, NAESP President
Do you have the skills to write a children’s book? If so, here’s a great opportunity for you. The NAESP Foundation, in cooperation with Charlesbridge Publishing, has launched the National Children’s Book of the Year Contest for aspiring children’s book authors.
This is your chance to get your work endorsed by the NAESP Foundation and published by a nationally known publisher with a proven track record and extensive outreach across the nation.
Prospective authors may submit a picture or chapter book written for children ages 3-16. Judging will be based on content, originality, and age-appropriateness. So get started on your potential best-seller—the deadline for entries is Feb. 15, 2011.
More details about the contest and the submission process, including entry forms, are on the NAESP Foundation Web page. Good luck!