Thursday, October 25, 2012

Students Who Challenge Us

This week ASCD has been sharing information about tools and strategies that both teachers and principals can use to work with students who challenge us. Two ASCD Smart Briefs examined the issue. Part I looked at the difficulties faced by students with "learning and behavior challenges." Part II provides resources for reaching students "struggling with far more than learning the three R's."  It's a really informative set of reports because it provides links to other resources and tools.

Here are the links to the two SmartBriefs.
     Part I -
     Part II -

ASCD's SmartBriefs are a really concise way to stay up-to-date on current educational issues. You can sign up here and will then receive a daily e-mail newsletter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Power of Social Media to Transform Work of Principals

My friend and colleague Dr. J. Howard Johnston from the University of South Florida was recently interviewed by School Leadership Briefing, an audio journal for school administrators, about the power of social media to transform the work of a school leader. Howard and I are the author of the School Leader's Guide to Social Media recently published by Eye on Education

Here's the link to the interview. This discussion focuses on how social media provides  school leaders with new tools that can enhance communication with their school community, improve instruction and student learning, and increase productivity. Most importantly, it describes why school leaders neglect social media at their own peril. As Howard says, "the conversation about your school is going on right now. You can choose to be part of the conversation or not. But you're not going to stop the discussion."

I think you'll find the discussion fascinating and would welcome your thoughts about the benefits and challenges of social media at your school. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Importance of Vision

A couple weeks ago I was visiting Oregon GEAR UP schools and I was reminded of how important the principal's vision is in setting the direction for their school. Often a vision is thought of as just words on paper, but a vision is a dynamic roadmap for strengthening a school. I often refer to it as a compass. A compass provides direction but can also help you to get back on track when events pull you away from your vision. A compass is always on target, pointing toward "true" north.

Here are four of my favorite resources on the importance of the principal's vision and how a principal can work with their faculty and community to create a shared vision.
  • Southwest Educational Development Lab (SEDL) on the importance of vision
  • Maryland Department of Education’s website on the importance of vision.  Read the material on the “Principal’s Role in Creating a Vision.” You may find the two exercises on identifying core beliefs and creating a shared vision useful as you develop your vision for your school. 
  • Marzano Center - Setting the Direction for a School-Wide Vision 
  • Association for Middle Level Education - Read an article that discusses Peter Senge's discussion of learning communities and building shared vision.
We'd enjoy learning about your personal vision for your school and how you work with your community to nurture and sustain that vision.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Resources for New Principals.

NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) recently launched an initiative to support new K-12 principals. The Center for New Principals provides a comprehensive set of tools and other resources for new principals. Click on "Special Topics of Interest for New Principals" to access a list of topics. NASSP is a member organization but many of the resources are public domain and available at this site.

One link is to a set of survival skills that discusses time management, dealing with difficult people, crisis management and seeking balance between professional and personal responsibilities.

Another link takes you to resources on school improvement. Topics include collaboration and vision, change, and data-driven decision-making.

I'm always looking for great tools and other resources for new as well as experienced principals. I'd enjoy hearing from you about resources you find helpful.