Two occasions over the past few days reminded us exactly why NASSP and its sponsors put so much energy into conducting recognition programs. Fundamentally, of course, we love to recognize and spotlight administrators who do their jobs very well. You deserve it. But there’s more to it.
A few days ago, Colorado’s AP of the year Ginny Vidulis received a visit from Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) as a follow-up to their meeting in April, when Ginny visited the congressman’s DC office to receive kudos for the award. Rep. Polis visited classes, fielded questions, and, most important, spoke with a real educator about real issues in a real school. Now, we have to note that Rep. Polis had his own school-nutrition agenda to promote—apparently pizza’s days as a vegetable are numbered. That aside, it’s clear that the AP of the Year award was the catalyst for a constituent relationship that will inform the decisions of a federal policymaker.
The NASSP Board of Directors is on Capitol Hill today visiting elected officials who have been preparing to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known in its current form as No Child Left Behind. We have to thank these board members first for taking the time to represent their colleagues on the national board of their professional organization. Like most of you who read Leading Schools, NASSP board members are all principals and assistant principals who struggle to find the time to get out of their buildings. This visit reflects the priority they place on advocating for sound policies at the federal level that genuinely support rather than hinder your work in raising student achievement.
Posted by Bob Farrace | Posted in 2012 NASSP Conference | Posted on 03-13-2012
It’s rare that people stick around a General Session after the keynote address. But we had something that kept people in their seats well after Sir Ken Robinson stepped off the stage Friday afternoon.
|NASSP Board member Dick Snyder…a long way from his New York high school.
What attendees got to see was an overview of the work of a few dozen principals and superintendents that changed the lives of the children of the small town of Constanza in the Dominican Republic.
The 2011 Lifetouch Memory Mission, in cooperation with NASSP, NAEPS, and AASA, gathered a group of educators from across the United States to spend a week in Constanza meeting people, learning about the Dominican education system, and lugging bricks and cement to build a school for the children of this impoverished town.
I can tell you the experience was moving, but you’re better off taking a few minutes to watch the video and seeing for yourself.
When asked why he practiced collaborative leadership at his school, Lance Radford, principal of Wade Hampton High School—one of the 2012 MetLife Foundation–NASSP Breakthrough Schools—replied quickly, “Because it works.” Could there be a better answer?
The MetLife Foundation–NASSP Breakthrough Schools program is in its fifth year and has recognized 50 exemplary schools and produced some of the best school stories I have published as the editor of Principal Leadership magazine. Those stories, written by program analysts Dianne Mero and Marlene Hartzman after their visits to the finalist schools, incorporate third-party observations as well as the perspectives of the principals and leadership teams in the respective schools.
My time here at the 2012 NASSP Conference is drawing to a close, but before I get on the plane and leave Tampa, I wanted to put up a quick post about two great technology sessions I managed to catch. The sessions were lead by two of NASSP’s three Digital Principal Award winners, Mike King and Eric Sheninger, who, along with third winner Patrick Larkin, represent some of the most engaged and forward-thinking technology leaders in education today.
Posted by Pete Mason | Posted in 2012 NASSP Conference | Posted on 03-10-2012
Renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson delighted attendees at the First General Session with his entertaining and thought-provoking presentation on the important role of creativity in education. Robinson is author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative and has served as an education advisor to governments around the world.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Robinson now lives in Los Angeles, where he learned that, despite common international perceptions, Americans do understand irony. “I knew Americans got irony when I came across that piece of legislation named No Child Left Behind (NCLB), because it is leaving behind millions of children behind,” said Robinson. While ESEA was “well-intentioned,” it is a “completely false diagnosis of the problem.” Robinson pointed out that approximately 30% of high school students in the United State don’t graduate, but the blame cannot be placed on the students, teachers or principals, “it’s a systemic problem.”
In the last year or so, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been added to the list of things that keep school leaders up at night. Do you know what the standards will mean for your students and teachers? How will teaching and learning change as a result of the rigorous K-12 standards.
At the Assistant Principals General Assembly, sponsored by Virco Inc., Sue Gendron, who is with the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and the International Center for Leadership in Education, got specific about some of the ways that curriculum and instruction will change to meet the CCSS.
As Web Editor at NASSP, I have a healthy interest in technology. I am always juggling a few mobile devices in the office, and my iPad is usually one of them. It’s a great device that I love, so I was particularly interested in a presentation here at the 2012 NASSP Conference by Westlake High School in Austin, TX.
Westlake took the bold step of acquiring 1,600 iPads and handed them all out to students. When Principal Linda Rawlings brought the idea to the school district, she reminded them of their mission to support a “robust digital age learning experience,” and emphasized the device’s potential to increase student engagement and motivation. The district agreed, and a subsequent bond issue brought the Westlake Initiative for Innovation (WiFi) pilot to life.
Posted by Jan Umphrey | Posted in 2012 NASSP Conference | Posted on 03-09-2012
One of the benefits of attending the Breaking Ranks School Showcase, produced by the Center for Secondary School Reform and NASSP, is hearing how very different schools come up with similar solutions to common problems. Noble High School in South Berwick, ME, is a rural school; Park View High School in Sterling, VA , is suburban; and Lincoln High School in Yonkers, NY, is urban. But leaders at all three schools have embraced the Breaking Ranks concepts of personalization and putting instruction at the core of the work—and chosen teaming and common planning time as strategies to enable their staff members to work together toward those goals. All set high expectations for that work and provide the support and resources required.
Posted by Pete Mason | Posted in Common Core State Standards | Posted on 03-09-2012
The NASSP Board of Directors has given final approval to a position statement supporting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and assessments aligned to those standards. The position statement urges states to work with school leaders and other education stakeholders in order to adopt and fully implement the CCSS and curricula aligned to the new standards.