Bulletin Board: Strengthen

What principals want and what gets in the way; NAESP expands Center for Innovative Leadership.

Topics: Professional Development

Professional Learning: What Principals Want and What Gets in the Way

To learn more about principals’ opportunities for professional learning, NAESP and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) recently collaborated on a national principal study.

While many principals reported having had access to professional development, far fewer principals reported that they had participated in authentic learning opportunities (e.g., applied learning experiences, mentoring and coaching, and networking with colleagues) despite research that associates these authentic, job-embedded learning opportunities with positive outcomes.

Additionally, principals reported wanting more professional development content across a range of topics. The topics most frequently identified were related to “whole-child” education—a range of practices that involve deeper learning and attend to the social-emotional and physical health of students.

Principals also reported wanting more professional development content that addresses equity and diversity in their schools. And finally (although most principals indicated their districts supported their continuous improvement), they also reported facing obstacles to participating in professional learning.

Four out of 5 principals (84 percent) indicated that they faced obstacles to pursuing professional development. The top three were not enough time (67 percent), insufficient coverage for leaving the building (43 percent), and not enough money (42 percent). Principals serving schools with high percentages of students of color were more likely to report lacking funding for professional development (50 percent), compared with less than one-third (32 percent) of principals at schools with low percentages of students of color.

Be a Literacy Leader

Register for one of NAESP’s webinars in the Lead for Literacy series. Developed in partnership with Lead for Literacy Center at the University of Oregon, this series will cover all aspects of the principal’s role in leading literacy, including decoding and creating meaning, using data and assessments, and leading professional learning for your staff. Extend the learning from this issue of Principal magazine by adding these dates to your calendar:

  • Key Considerations for Literacy Screening and Assessment
    Nov. 19, 2 p.m. ET
  • Supporting Early Literacy Instruction Pre-K to Grade 3
    Jan. 7, 2 p.m. ET
  • Promoting Code-based Literacy Skills in Early Elementary School
    March 25, 2 p.m. ET
  • Leading for Literacy: Promoting Meaning-level Literacy Skills in Early Elementary School
    April 1, 2 p.m. ET
  • Taking a Deep Dive into Professional Development Structures
    June 3, 2 p.m. ET

Register at www.naesp.org/webinars.

NAESP Expands Center for Innovative Leadership

Chances are that if you discovered a new practice from a peer last year, you learned of it through NAESP’s Center for Innovative Leadership® (CIL). Through video podcasts, conference sessions, Twitter chats, and articles, CIL united the NAESP community by showcasing principals’ innovative and transformative practices, from rethinking back-to-school professional learning activities to leveraging corporate sponsorships to creating unique learning spaces.

“Through the center, we are providing voice and value to school leaders doing amazing work all across the country,” says CIL Senior Fellow Andy Jacks, principal of Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia. “We continue to pull in the best and the brightest out there, so we can all learn from their experiences and, in turn, help improve our own schools.”

This year, NAESP is proud to offer CIL as well as introduce new centers focused on critical areas of need and growth for school leadership. Each center is led by principal fellows.

  • The NAESP Center for Innovative Leadership expands support for principals in achieving the highest results for children, families, and communities. The center disseminates transformative practices and strategies that drive student performance and shape the long-term impact of school improvement efforts. Principal fellows: Hamish Brewer and Rachael George
  • The NAESP Center for Women in Leadership is dedicated to the strategic study of women administrators and the unique challenges they face as educational leaders. The work of the center will focus on identifying strategies to elevate women as they pursue career opportunities, creating a strong network of women leaders and eliminating gender bias. Principal fellows: Jessica Gomez and Andrea Thompson
  • The NAESP Center for Middle-Level Leadership focuses on providing the exceptional skills and support that middle-level administrators need to run outstanding schools with high levels of student achievement. The goal of the center is to connect middle-level principals with pertinent information and resources that promote their work with young adolescents as they help them to develop into strong, productive, and moral citizens. Principal fellows: Kevin Armstrong and Jessica Cabeen
  • The NAESP Center for Diversity Leadership will promote best practices in culturally responsive leadership. Working in collaboration with school leaders and other stakeholder groups, the center will also prioritize the voices of educators of color and promote the diversification of the principalship. Principal fellows: Ryan Daniel and Edgardo Castro

We look forward to the new programming and networks that the new centers will create.

We’ve Gone Virtual

NAESP’s signature professional learning opportunities are all available, even during the COVID-19 pandemic! That means you can still get mentor training, participate in the National Panel for New Principals or the APs Rising discussion group, or take part in webinars developed for every career stage.