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My Two Cents
At the 2012 conference in Seattle, speaker Douglas Reeves suggested that principals set “100 day” goals—doable changes that will have an impact on student learning in 100 days or fewer. What small changes have you made at your school that have had a big payoff?
Each month, an oversized puzzle piece is decorated by staff & given to an outstanding teacher symbolizing how we are each important & valued.
-@prettykitty923 (Via Twitter)
We implemented an advisory program in our
middle school. Our school has also been tweeting,
posting on facebook, and blogging to
-@bcurrie5 (Via Twitter)
Having teachers wear bright green vests while on recess duty. Students and
parents know where to look for help on the playground.
-@EVAN_D_HUNT (Via Twitter)
We use Smile Cards to play an adult ‘tag’ game of random acts of kindness.
It is contagious & fun for adults & sets the tone!
-@WOOF_MRPALMER (Via Twitter)
Reporting Roundup from NAESP 2012 National Conference and Expo
“I learned from this session that PLC is not a book, although there are books that will help you implement its ideas, but instead is a philosophy and a process. The DuFours presented the definition of PLC as ‘an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students we serve.’ I had to digest this definition for a little while. One of the key words for me was ongoing. Too often in education we ‘do something’ for a little while and then think we are done with it. The PLC process is continuous, ongoing, and cyclical.”
—“ABCs of PLCs” by David M. Hanson, elementary principal, Wyndmere Public Schools, North Dakota
“Principals should select [an antibullying curriculum] that is research-based, comprehensive, can be used and implemented easily, and has the buy-in of the administrative and school staff. Any program must have sustainability with existing resources. But what if your school doesn’t have resources for a specialized curriculum? Communicating with the school and surrounding community is free. So is establishing a positive and safe school climate.”
— “Bullying Town Hall Shines Spotlight on Complex Problem” by Sandi Cox, principal, Norview Elementary School, Norfolk, Virginia
“[Speaker Eric Brown] asked the question, ‘Are you looking out the window or in the mirror?’ and provided two lists on how to improve schools: one with external factors beyond our control, like more money from the state, and the other with things under our control, like an individualized plan that is clear and focused for every student. Research shows that looking in the mirror and focusing on what we have control over increases student achievement.”
— “Eric Brown Shares Strategies for Empowering African-American Male Students,” by Donna T. Fagerholm, Principal, Sinclair Elementary, Manassas, Virginia
Resources at Your Fingertips
To quickly access resources to help you tackle some of your school’s toughest challenges, head to NAESP’s resource pages on bullying and the Common Core State Standards.
Cultivate a culture of respect at your school with these resources, starting with the “Bullying 101 for School Principals” professional development course. Access downloadable handouts for parents, videos, and background on policies by state.
Visit this resource page to discover a wealth of information on implementing Common Core State Standards. This page, which features resources for principals, teachers, and parents alike, includes articles, videos, fact sheets, and webinars.
Research Digest: First-Year Principals: Actions and Outcomes
One-fifth of new principals leave their schools within two years—and the number is even higher for those placed in struggling schools. Sparked by a void in research on the experiences of new principals, a recent study by the RAND Corporation examines principal turnover, revealing what early-career principals, or even principals in a new position, can do to ensure success.
“First Year Principals in Urban School Districts: How Actions and Working Conditions Relate to Outcomes” examines the link between principal retention and achievement, using data from six urban districts, along with a Web-based principal survey and 20 case studies of schools led by first-year principals. Principals placed in schools whose achievement test scores increased in their first year are more likely to stay at their school than those whose scores slipped.
“We found no evidence that if principals would simply do more of a certain thing or allocate their time in a particular way, school performance would improve,” write the researchers. But they did discover that the principals who experienced achievement strongly emphasized data use, and most importantly, convinced their staff to get on board. RAND’s case studies provide several key strategies for fostering staff buy-in.
- Recruit strong staff immediately. Fill openings, especially assistant principal roles, with staff members who share the principal’s vision and will help shoulder leadership tasks.
- Conduct one-on-one meetings with all staff. Meet individually with staff members before school starts to understand their concerns.
- Respect prior practices and culture. Garner buy-in and respect by incorporating existing school philosophies into new school improvement strategies.
- Be visible in classrooms. Regular classroom walkthroughs, even short ones, help new principals build relationships with students and staff, and provide legitimacy.
- Communicate clear and fair expectations. Cultivate a culture of accountability with clear, consistent, and fair expectations.
“Our findings on the importance of teacher capacity, staff cohesion, and buy-in for key strategies lend additional support to other research pointing to the critical role of principals in human capital management,” write the researchers.
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