Bulletin Board: Strengthen

Using digital to your advantage, plus strategies for new principals for their first 100 days.

Topics: Early Career Principals, Innovation

Using Digital to Your Advantage

15 strategies to get organized

Principals lead schools because they’re passionate about student learning and leadership, but the day-to-day aspects of the position require them to juggle multiple priorities, sometimes making them question whether there are enough hours in the day.

With the following tips and resources from education leaders who spoke at the 2021 NAESP Pre-K–8 Principals Conference in Chicago in July, principals can use digital platforms to improve their practice and support student learning.

Overcoming Digital Overwhelm

Technology can help principals work smarter, not harder, organizational consultant Frank Buck said in his session, “Digital Overwhelm: From Overload to In Control.” He offered five strategies to harness technology and make it work for school leaders:

  1. Set up a “fingertip file” in Google Drive for quick access to frequently used documents.
  2. Use Evernote to make notes on people you meet. (Pro tip: Get teachers in on it—they can use Evernote to make and store notes on every student in their class. They can also archive notes from year to year and share them digitally with a link.)
  3. Organize a digital task list.
  4. Use the “Remember the Milk” app to add tasks
    and reminders.
  5. Organize your “Shared With Me” section of Google Drive.

Use Tech to Amplify Student Voices

In “#Apple EDU Leaders: Lead Learning, Change the World,” presenter Bill Ziegler advanced technology as a tool to ensure equity in schools. “When technology is created for everyone,” he said, “anyone can achieve their goals.” Here are his five tips to use technology to help amplify student voice:

  1. Listen to the student voice and empower them to tell their story.
  2. Make your first day of school your best day of school.
  3. Use the Apple Clips app to record videos about
    your school.
  4. Have students lead an Instagram “takeover” to amplify student voice.
  5. Listen to and engage with Ziegler on his podcast, Lead the Way.

Master Time Management

Buck offered more strategies for school leaders in the session “Time Management: Total Control and Peace of Mind,” focusing on finding digital filing and task systems that work for school leaders. The goal? Creating a system that allows for thoughtful action. “Digital problems require digital solutions,” he said, offering the following tips to make this happen:

  1. Have an “in,” “out,” and “pending” box or basket to organize your day and stay focused.
  2. Make a digital task list that’s detailed enough to make each task easy to start.
  3. Consolidate all tasks in a single place to help work efficiently and delegate appropriately.
  4. Include expect-to-receive (ETR) notations on your task list for items people owe you.
  5. Write out your “Fab 5” most important things to get done that day, if you only have time for five.

Want more tips and strategies to lead schools? Check out the NAESP conference blog at naesp.org/

Save the Date

NAESP is headed to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2022 Pre-K–8 Principals Conference—and we want you to join us! From July 15–17, 2022, you’ll learn from leaders in education, listen to top-notch keynote speakers, connect with your principal and assistant principal peers, and leave the conference inspired and equipped to implement innovative strategies in your school. Stay tuned for details at www.naesp.org.

Winning Resources

The 2021 EXCEL Award winners have been announced, and NAESP has been recognized with a Silver Award for both the redesign of Principal magazine and the Leading Lessons staff guide on “Social-Emotional Learning in the Time of COVID-19.”

You’re a New Principal: Now What?

After years of building your leadership portfolio and proving your passion for education, you’ve finally become a school principal. It’s a big deal to you—and to your school community. But there is still plenty of work to do, and there are plenty of challenges to unpack. How can you get off to the best start as you step into your new role?

In an episode of the NAESP Principal Podcast, hosts Rachael George and Adam Welcome talk to special guest Rosalba Rodriguez about advice for aspiring principals and the strategies she is using to make the jump from assistant principal to principal in her school district.

Interview Advice for Aspiring Principals

  • Connect with principals who have gone through the process. Rodriguez, before her first interview, reached out to her network—#SisterCircle school leaders who formed a panel to conduct a mock interview with her.
  • Reflect at every stage in the process. Before the first interview, create a portfolio that shows your progression as a leader and how you made an impact on your students, school, and community. But also consider what you’re doing now as an assistant principal to make a difference.
  • Lean on your people. Getting support and guidance from the people closest to you who want to see you succeed will go a long way in boosting your confidence going into an interview.

Strategies for the First 100 Days

  • Reconnect the faculty and staff. With so many schools finishing out the previous school year remotely or in a hybrid model, in-person connection is at the top of the list of priorities for building a strong, connected team in the new school year. Rodriguez focuses on how she can support the social-emotional needs of faculty and staff.
  • Honor traditions. In the first 100 days, Rodriguez is meeting with the principal she’s replacing to learn about school traditions, talk to the faculty and staff about what’s working and what isn’t, and get to know the community.
  • Meet and greet with teachers, staff, and families. Start by building relationships with the office staff, who are the conduit to so many other people in the school. Rodriguez is hosting “Coffee With the Principal” and Zoom meet-and-greets with team members and families to learn about them and get to know their goals and priorities. This also gives her the chance to introduce herself to her team and to her community.

Listen to the podcast for more strategies for new school leaders.