5 Ways to Grow Your PLN

Principals often bounce ideas off each other to improve their practice. Boost your PLN.

May 2019, Volume 42, Issue 9

Principals often bounce ideas off each other to improve their practice. Boost your professional learning network—in person and online.

1. Start a summer book club. Your best resource for finding the most helpful books is your principal peers. Reach out to other educators in your community—or even those you’ve met from across the country. Start a Facebook group or a Twitter chat, take suggestions for a book to read or assign one to get the ball rolling, and then “meet” back up with members of the group to talk about your major takeaways and how they can help you in your school.

2. Make real connections with other educators while you learn at conferences. The NAESP Pre-K-8 Principals Conference is just around the corner. While you’re there to learn, you’ll inevitably form bonds with principals and other leaders in education from across the country. Many who’ve attended count their new connections at the conference as some of their closest confidants and go-to resources when they want to discuss challenges in their school or leadership tactics. But don’t take our word for it. Three NAESP members—two principals and an assistant principal—tell you why they attend the meeting each year.

3. Learn innovative strategies at The Exchange. NAESP Center for Innovative Leadership fellows Andy Jacks and Hamish Brewer will lead a special session at the NAESP Pre-K-8 Principals Conference to explore innovative solutions to common issues school leaders face every day in their schools. Hear from Jacks and Brewer what The Exchange will have to offer—aside from building your networks with some of the most innovative thinkers in education.

4. Take advantage of Twitter chats. NAESP’s monthly Twitter chats bring together leaders from across the country to start a conversation on important issues in education. We’ve recently discussed strategies to manage people, data, and processes; how to maximize the role of the assistant principal; the principal’s role in advocating for education, and social-emotional learning. Check out #NAESPchat on Twitter to read what participants had to say on these topics. Don’t forget to join us on Thursday, June 20 at 8 p.m. ET for a timely #NAESPchat—Grow Your Professional Learning Network.

5. Get social. Twitter is a robust resource for meeting new people in education who know what you’re going through as a principal. LinkedIn often is thought of as a place to look for jobs, but it’s so much more. NAESP has a discussion group with just over 12,000 active educators who are looking to make connections. Facebook is another great place to connect. Build groups—that can be private or public—where principals and other leaders in education can bounce ideas off of each other.

No principal is an island, even though it might feel like it sometimes. If you’re a principal in a rural or an urban community or of a school that boasts more home languages than you can count on your fingers and toes or of a high-poverty school, there’s a community out there full of principals who understand your challenges and want to connect with you to find solutions.

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