From the Editor: The Only Constant
Principal, September/October 2014
By now, we all know that the only thing that is constant is change. But we should add communication to the list. While managing the constant churn of shifting demographics, new operational systems and federal guidelines, and enhanced standards, it’s important for principals to prioritize communication. As the articles in this issue each emphasize, principals must not only lead and manage the logistics of ushering in new initiatives, but they must also master the delicate art of communicating and motivating the stakeholders who bring change efforts to life. This critical skill is important for new principals to hone, and for veteran leaders to constantly improve.
Balancing urgency emerges as a key concept in this issue, starting with the lead article, “A Balanced Approach.” In it, authors Steven V. Hall and Susan K. Green argue that principals must offset tense environments by acknowledging and refocusing emotions in ways that motivate and unify the school community. Denver principal Alex Magaña picks up on this theme in “Change, Setbacks, and Transformation,” a case study on implementing a blended learning program and afterschool enrichment activities at a middle school. Magaña also counts creating a sense of urgency as a high priority when implementing a change initiative. “This cannot be done alone; it has to be done with a team,” he writes.
The issue also addresses shifting to online assessments with a contribution from Florida principal Mark E. Shanoff, and enhancing student teaching experiences, with an update on the edTPA program by Sharon P. Robinson, who is president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Schools and principals are not the only ones ushering in change this fall. Principal magazine is kicking off this new volume year with a series of new elements that are designed to enhance your reading experience. First up is the Best Practice department, which will present a game-changing practice straight from the field. In the first installment, “Connect & Celebrate With Facebook,” principals Kathy A. Melton and Melinda Miller provide a crash-course on using the social networking platform to communicate with a school community. Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you like the new content, and be sure to stay tuned for the next new component.
Finally, I want to turn your attention to art-infused education. This marks the fourth year NAESP has partnered with Crayola to produce the Champion Creatively Alive Children supplement, which is bundled along with this issue of the magazine. Please share this resource with your staff and colleagues, just as you share Principal magazine. In an environment of constant change, I hope that the spirit of sharing is the one thing that remains the same.
Principal magazine is a winner. It has been recognized with two awards for a feature article on school nutrition.
In “Food for Thought,” Principal magazine’s Meredith Barnett examines how leaders across the nation are using creative approaches to feed students’ bodies and minds and narrow the achievement gap. The feature article won a 2014 GOLD EXCEL award from Association Media & Publishing and an APEX, Grand Award for Publication Excellence from Communications Concepts.
Read Barnett’s article and the entire issue on the achievement gap at bit.ly/10Y4C7L.
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