On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, NASSP member Everett Davis, principal at Redland Middle School in Montgomery County, MD, participated in a series of briefings and meetings with congressional staff and US Department of Education officials to discuss the importance of profession-ready teachers and principals for each and every student.

Research reveals that teachers, principals, and other school leaders are the most important school-based influences on student learning, and every student deserves to be taught and led by excellent teachers and school leaders. However, data show that students in many high-need schools do not have access to great educators.

Recognizing this disparity, the Coalition for Teaching Quality (CTQ), of which NASSP is an active member, released “Excellent Educators for Each and Every Child: A policy roadmap for transforming the teaching and principal professions.” In the document, CTQ—which comprises more than 100 organizations dedicated to ensuring that every child has educators who are fully prepared and effective—offers a continuum of the teaching and principal professions to meet its goal.

The coalition also released “Profession-Ready Teachers and Principals for Each and Every Child,” the first in a series of reports that take deeper looks at the policy roadmap. This report describes four steps that future teachers and principals must take to ensure that they are profession-ready. For principals, profession-ready means having a strong instructional background as a teacher and having demonstrated abilities related to effective school leadership competencies and prior success in leading adults.

During the Hill briefings and meetings, Davis reinforced the importance of the CTQ documents by sharing his experiences as a principal intern last year. This innovative leadership program embeds an aspiring school leader for a full year in a school under the supervision of an accomplished principal. The aspiring principal is provided with a professional development team during the internship and participates in monthly seminars where candidates address authentic school leadership scenarios.

“The practical application of the theory and skills obtained in my preparation program through the principal internship fully prepared me for when I took the reins of the principalship,” said Davis.

As a principal intern, Davis also became the acting principal for six weeks during the school year. Even though Davis is now a principal, he still receives ongoing support from a mentor principal as part of the leadership program. This program embodies the recommendations of NASSP and the Coalition of Teaching Quality in that aspiring principals complete a one-year residency under the guidance of an accomplished school leader.

Every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability status, income, or zip code, deserves great teachers and principals. With the release of these documents, the CTQ has laid out a vision of how to achieve this lofty goal. NASSP is a proud member of CTQ and will continue to advocate to ensure that all children have access to excellent educators.

 

NASSP Urges the FCC to Increase Funding for E-Rate Program

On September 29, 2014, in Technology, by Amanda Karhuse

In an effort to ensure that more schools have access to high-speed broadband and wireless connections, NASSP has submitted comments in response to a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the E-Rate program that was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 23. NASSP also signed on to comments submitted by the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC), a group comprised of the leading public and private education associations and the American Library Association that was formed to promote and improve the E-Rate program to fulfill its mission of accelerating the deployment of advanced telecommunications and information services in schools and libraries.

Our individual and coalition comments both urge the FCC to immediately and permanently increase the E-Rate program’s annual funding level. For years, we have argued that the program requires additional funding to upgrade these basic Internet connections to broadband. Without the ability to access greater bandwidth speeds in classrooms, our nation’s students would be hamstrung in their efforts to use of digital textbooks, participate in online and distance learning courses, and take online assessments. In addition, we have consistently maintained that the E-Rate’s annual funding cap, essentially unchanged from its inception, is grossly inadequate to fund the bandwidth increases so many schools require with the growing use of laptops and digital devices.

Experts in the field suggest that the $1 billion annually (or $5 billion over five years) the FCC has committed for the E-Rate program is simply inadequate for WiFi build out and sustainability costs. The CoSN/Education Superhighway study of public school costs for internal connections “suggests that once all schools and libraries have been upgraded, it will cost approximately $2.2 billion per year ($1.6 billion in E-Rate subsidies) to maintain these networks and upgrade them periodically to list latest standards. Funds for Learning also notes that school districts with more than 20% of their students eligible for the National School Lunch Program may not see even a dime of E-Rate funding for internal connections by 2020.

NASSP believes that technology can increase equity and access to educational opportunities for all students and enhance the impact and reach of great teaching in schools. But we know that teachers and students will only use those tools if they can rely on the connectivity of their broadband network and Wi-Fi capacity. For this reason, we will continue to advocate for a robust E-Rate program and encourage the FCC to permanently raise the funding cap.

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Once considered an add-on program, career and technical education (CTE) continues to raise its profile in mainstream education. And now, CTE is being recognized as a method for building core skills.

A Hill briefing last Wednesday focused on the crucial, yet rarely recognized, connection between literacy and CTE. Held by the Advocates for Literacy (of which NASSP is a leading member) and the Senate CTE Caucus, this event marks an important step in the CTE movement—underscoring that CTE success requires student literacy skills, which can be advanced in the context of high-quality CTE programs.

No one can address this topic with greater authority than 2014 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year Dr. Sheila Harrity, who presented her school’s success in programming that combines traditional high school academics with CTE curriculum.

Principal at Worcester Technical High School (MA), Dr. Harrity explained that the school’s engaging career and technical curriculum builds students’ interest in school, especially those considered at-risk. With her school’s successful CTE programs, Dr. Harrity noted that students with low levels of literacy and academic achievement have seen significant gains when confronted with schoolwork that piques their interests and has visible, real-world application.

Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) offered remarks at the briefing. Senator Kaine, clearly passionate about the topic, noted that the Senate CTE Caucus’ goal is to de-stigmatize CTE and even make it “really hot, sexy, and cool.” Kaine, who earlier in the day introduced legislation to pilot CTE programs in middle school, added, “Technical education is coming back strong and it’s something we can celebrate.”

Click here to learn more about Senator Kaine’s Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act.

In an important step to improve college and career readiness among middle level students, today Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)—co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus—introduced the Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act. Cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mark Warner (D-VA), the bill has received several endorsements from national education organizations—including strong support from NASSP.

This legislation would greatly benefit middle level students by presenting them with CTE programs to foster their college and career development—giving them a leg up on their future. Middle schools would partner with postsecondary institutions and local businesses to create opportunities such as apprenticeships and project-based learning, which are usually reserved for high school or postsecondary programs.

“The Middle STEP Act will expose students to a wide range of career choices through hands-on learning so they will be more informed about future paths and what they can do in high school to pursue them,” said Kaine. “Middle school is an important time for students to explore their own strengths, likes, and dislikes, and CTE exploration programs are great tools to educate them about the type of coursework or training that goes into a career field that matches their interests.”

The Middle STEP program would also provide students with academic counseling to develop a plan for how their high school endeavors will prepare them for a future in high-demand 21st century jobs.

NASSP knows that the middle school years are a crucial time to engage students in a rigorous curriculum that will help them transition into high school and be successful in postsecondary education or careers. In fact, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education, students participating in CTE programs have graduation rates of more than 90%, and we should ensure that more students across the country have access to quality CTE programs.

Click here to read Sen. Kaine’s press release and learn more about the Middle STEP Act.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan affirmed his support for a delay in using new test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a key recommendation proposed by NASSP in May. States and districts were also asked to evaluate the number of tests being given to students and how educators could access assessment data to improve teaching and learning.

“We encouraged states to move a whole lot of changes simultaneously,” wrote Duncan in a blog post on ed.gov. “But in how this change happens, we need to listen carefully to the teachers, principals and other educators who are living it on a daily basis.”

States that request the new flexibility would push back until 2015-2016 the time when student growth measures based on new state assessments become part of the educator evaluation systems.

The policy brief on college and career ready standards (CCRS) adopted by the NASSP Board of Directors in May called for federal policymakers to delay for two years the use of new assessment results for high-stakes accountability purposes. A two-year transition period will allow for sufficient experience will a fully validated and implemented assessment system consisting of pre-assessments, performance-based assessments, and summative assessments all accompanied by meaningful and timely feedback to teachers and schools.

The success of the new college and career ready standards depends on purposeful and well-supported efforts. Those efforts set reasonable expectations for educators and build their capacity to implement the standards. Policymakers at all levels have a role in promoting those efforts.

“Strong school leadership is pivotal to creating a culture of high expectations for each student,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director of NASSP, which continues to support high common standards across states. “But principals across the nation report concerns about the implementation of the new standards in their states and the inadequate training they have received to help them ensure that their teachers are able to change instructional practices.”

Titled Policy Recommendations for College and Career Ready Standards in Secondary Schools, the brief includes specific recommendations for policymakers at federal, state, and district levels. They include the abandonment of punitive provisions under the No Child Left Behind Act, delaying consequences for test results for a reasonable transition period, building a solid infrastructure for online testing, and adopting 5- to 10-year plans for complete implementation.

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To fulfill President Obama’s goal under the ConnectED initiative to connect 99% of the nation’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband and wireless in four years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an E-Rate modernization order on July 11, 2014, that directs at least $1 billion in support for Wi-Fi for FY 2015 and FY 2016. The order also begins a multi-year transition of all program funding to broadband by gradually phasing down support for non-broadband services. The order also seeks to maximize E-Rate spending by incentivizing consortia and bulk purchasing and streamlining the application process. The new E-Rate rules will be in place in time to support Wi-Fi upgrades beginning in the 2015−2016 school year.

The order, approved on a party-line vote by the FCC, was seen as a huge advocacy success for NASSP and our partners in the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC) who were apprehensive about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s draft proposal that was circulated in June. Though the proposal aimed to “close the Wi-Fi gap, make E-Rate dollars go farther, and bring E-Rate into the 21st century,” our coalition expressed concern that the proposal fell short and did not provide a plan for sustained funding and support.

A letter backed by more than a dozen groups, including NASSP, expressed concerns on the ability of the FCC to pay for its $5 billion, five-year plan to invest in internal Wi-Fi without a permanent increase to the program’s $2.4 billion funding cap, which was not included in Wheeler’s draft proposal. Though the FCC had repurposed $2 billion in existing funds to prioritize broadband, our organizations were doubtful that an additional $3 billion would appear in funding. NASSP staff also attended meetings with FCC officials in June to convey these concerns in person.

Following the order, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the E-Rate program on July 23 that seeks comments on:

  • Ensuring affordable access to high-speed broadband sufficient to support digital learning in schools and robust connectivity for all libraries
  • Maximizing the cost-effectiveness of spending for E-Rate supported purchases
  • Making the E-Rate application process and other E-Rate processes fast, simple, and efficient

NASSP believes that technology can increase equity and access to educational opportunities for all students and enhance the impact and reach of great teaching in schools. But we know that teachers and students will only use those tools if they can rely on the connectivity of their broadband network and Wi-Fi capacity. For this reason, we will continue to advocate for a robust E-Rate program and encourage the FCC to permanently raise the funding cap.

NASSP will be submitting joint comments with EdLiNC to the FCC and individual comments on behalf of our members before the deadline on September 15, 2014. Principals are also encouraged to send comments directly to the FCC.

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Alliance for Excellent Education

Association for Middle Level Education

National Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of Secondary School Principals

National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

 

INVITE YOU TO

A SPECIAL BRIEFING


Strengthening Non-Cognitive Skills in the Middle Grades to Improve Academic Achievement and Success

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

121 Cannon House Office Building

 

Presenters Include

Moderator, B.J. Paris, Board President

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

 

Craig Wacker, Lead, Student Agency Strategy

Raikes Foundation

 

Erik A. Burmeister, Principal, Hillview Middle School, Menlo Park, CA

2013 MetLife/NASSP Middle Level Principal of the Year Finalist

 

Dr. Vicky Dudek, Principal, Landmark Middle School, Moreno Valley Unified School District 2014 Taking Center Stage Schools To Watch Designee

 

Mark Shanoff, Ed.D, Principal, Ocoee Middle School, Ocoee, Florida

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) National Distinguished Principal, 2014 – Florida

An Apple Distinguished School

 

 

RSVP to: Hannah Allen at hallen@wpllc.net.

 

 

Today, Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced the House companion bill to Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education, also called the CHOICE Act.  The bill has yet to be assigned a bill number or posted on www.thomas.gov but the legislation will mirror the Senate version (S. 1909), which was introduced earlier this year.  Both versions of the CHOICE Act will funnel over $11 billion of taxpayer money to private schools.  NASSP has opposed this bill and has a long standing position statement on private school vouchers.  We are especially concerned with the CHOICE Act as it would shift scarce public funds for special education to private institutions which are not bound by federal and state laws and regulations on staffing, programming and personalization for students with disabilities.

Furthermore, under current law, if a school district determines through the evaluation and IEP process that it cannot adequately provide the necessary services for a student with disabilities in its school system, then that child could be placed by the IEP team in a private school, with all the protections of IDEA and at no cost to the student’s family. In contrast, when a student attends a private school using a voucher, the parent must pay all tuition and fees above the costs covered by the voucher—the disparity between the voucher amount and the actual cost of the student’s education is usually significant and cost prohibitive for most parents.

The CHOICE Act would also expand private school vouchers by creating a pilot school choice program for students living on military bases which would reduce or even eliminate funding for Impact Aid.  Finally, the bill would greatly increase the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program for students living in the District of Columbia, which has not proven effective through numerous studies.

Rep. Rokita also spoke about the legislation today and the role of the federal government in education at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event. You can view his remarks here.

NASSP also opposes the Scholarship for Kids Act (S. 1968/H.R. 4000), another private school voucher bill which was introduced earlier this year.  This legislation would create a scholarship program for eligible low-income children to use at any state-approved public or private school they attend or for supplemental educational services.  However, in order to pay for the $24 billion  Scholarship for Kids program, the bill would dismantle a vast majority of currently authorized federal education programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that we know our members strongly support, such as literacy education, career and technical education, and school leadership. Additionally, states participating in the program would be relieved of having to comply with all requirements of ESEA except for provisions related to challenging academic standards and related assessments.

JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP’s Executive Director released the following statement in January when the Senate versions of the CHOICE Act and the Scholarship for Kids Act were introduced, “NASSP have long stated its opposition to private school vouchers, which drain money away from public schools, reduce accountability in the education system, and ultimately harm public schools where the vast majority of our nation’s youth receive their education.”  She also stated, “We are especially dismayed that the proposals would eliminate federal education programs that we know are important to school leaders, such as literacy education and career and technical education, and would redirect funding for special education programs and services away from public schools.”

All students deserve the opportunity to attend great schools and federal resources should help support schools and students who need it the most. For this reason, NASSP encourages all principals and assistant principals to contact their members of Congress and urge them to oppose the CHOICE Act and the Scholarship for Kids Act. If you haven’t already contacted your members of Congress to share your thoughts on these bills, visit the Principal’s Legislative Action Center (PLAC) to send a letter today!

 

 

The Alliance for Excellent Education and
the National Association of Secondary School Principals

Invite You to Attend a Briefing

 

Making Learning Personal in High Schools:
The Role of Secondary School Leaders

 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

902 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

(Lunch available at 11:30 a.m.; program begins promptly at 11:45 a.m.)

 

Participants

Mark Anderson, PhD, Principal, Marshall Fundamental Secondary School (Pasadena, CA)

Jonathan Brice, EdD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education

Carol Conklin-Spillane, Principal, Sleepy Hollow High School (Sleepy Hollow, NY)

Kevin Grawer, Principal, Maplewood Richmond Heights High School (St. Louis, MO)

Phillip Lovell, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent Education

Barbara-Jane Paris, President, NASSP Board of Directors, Round Rock Independent School District (Austin, TX)

 

Please join the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) for a discussion about the role of leadership in creating dynamic personalized learning environments that have produced continuous growth in student proficiency over the past three years. The MetLife Foundation–NASSP Breakthrough Schools project identifies, showcases, and recognizes middle and high schools that are achieving at high levels or dramatically improving student achievement while serving a large number of students who are most at risk of dropping out.

 

The panel discussion will highlight three schools—Marshall Fundamental Secondary School (CA), Sleepy Hollow High School (NY), and Maplewood Richmond Heights High School (MO)—that have been recognized by the Breakthrough Schools project in 2014 for exemplifying the core areas of personalization, collaborative leadership, and access to a rigorous and differentiated curriculum for all students.

 

RSVP by Monday, April 28, 2014.

Space is limited. Acceptances ONLY, on a “first-come” basis, with subject line

“RSVP: May 1 Briefing” to all4ed@all4ed.org,
or contact Shawnice Hood at (202) 828-0828.

 

The Alliance for Excellent Education and NASSP offer a special thank you to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, honorary host of this event.

 

This event is closed to press.

 

This briefing is made possible with support from

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

 

Follow the Alliance on Twitter (www.twitter.com/all4ed); Facebook (www.facebook.com/all4ed); and the Alliance’s “High School Soup” blog (www.all4ed.org/blog).

 

 

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and national voice for principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders in middle level and high schools from across the United States and in 36 countries. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality professional learning experiences.

 

Follow NASSP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/nassp); Facebook (www.facebook.com/principals); and the Principal’s Policy Blog (www.nasspblogs.org/principalspolicy).

 

In order to ensure that more principals and assistant principals have the skills to lead turnaround efforts in their schools, the US Department of Education is seeking applications for a new program to implement or enhance the “leadership pipeline” in low-performing schools. With $14 million in funds appropriated under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program in FY 2013, the new Turnaround School Leaders Program would provide grants to help select, prepare, support, and retain leaders in SIG-receiving or SIG-eligible schools.

According to the announcement, performance monitoring of the SIG program and interviews with external partners indicate that many school districts “do not have the capacity or resources to recruit or develop school leaders able to undertake successful turnaround efforts.” The announcement also notes that state-approved principal certification and licensure programs “are not preparing school leaders with the specialized skills needed to turn around schools identified as low-performing,” and school districts “struggle to identify the right competencies in leader candidates for turnaround schools.”

Under this announcement, ED expects to award 8-12 awards ranging from $1 to $2 million apiece. Eligible applicants include school districts or consortia of school districts serving more than five SIG-eligible schools. These school districts or consortia could also partner with state educational agencies, institutions of higher education, or nonprofit associations.

Applicants must propose a plan to develop and implement a leadership pipeline for at least one school district that serves five or more SIG-eligible schools. Competitive preference would be awarded to those school districts that have: 1) policies in place to provide school leaders with decisionmaking autonomy with regard to staffing, school schedules, and budgeting; or 2) a record of preparing and supporting turnaround school leaders who have demonstrated success in increased graduation rates and academic growth.

Under the programs, grantees would be required to assist school districts to:

  • Recruit and select promising current and prospective school leaders with the competencies necessary to turn around a SIG school or SIG-eligible school;
  • Provide high-quality training to selected school leaders to prepare them to successfully lead turnaround efforts in SIG schools and/or SIG-eligible schools;
  • Place school leaders in SIG schools and/or SIG-eligible schools and provide them with ongoing professional development and other support that focuses on instructional leadership and school management and is based on individual needs consistent with the school district’s plan for turning around its SIG schools and/or SIG-eligible schools; and
  • Retain effective school leaders, using financial or other incentives, and replace ineffective school leaders.

Applicants must provide a notice of intent to apply by April 25, and final applications are due on May 23. For more information about the Turnaround School Leaders Program, go to: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/turnaroundschlldr/index.html.