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15 Ways Principals Can Improve Communication with Students

Posted on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 13:10 PM

principalsLast week we shared five tips to help principals better communicate with students, parents and teachers. We’d like to continue the conversation, but focus specifically on improving communication with students. As you well know, intergenerational communication can be tricky business. Nonetheless, we believe there are simple steps principals—and any educator for that matter—can take to bridge generation gaps.

15 Ways Principals Can Improve Communication with Students

  • Be mindful when you speak and write. Words, both good and bad, have a long—sometimes indefinite—shelf life

  • Avoid using absolutes like “never” and “always.” Instead, describe what you see, hear and feel

  • Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences with students. Self-disclosure is a useful tool for opening up lines of communication

  • Never use words to belittle any child’s dreams

  • Students often lack the experience to put their problems into perspective. Help them contextualize their struggles without minimizing them

  • Keep in mind that students usually communicate better one-on-one or when they are in smaller groups

  • Use straight talk instead of jargon, shock talk or phony “studentese”

  • Our culture uses a lot of double-talk: We say one thing out of politeness (“No, let me pay for it” or “You really shouldn’t have gotten me that”) but actually mean the opposite. Younger students don’t understand these nuances. Avoid them and just say what you mean

  • Students are often unable to articulate how they feel. Help them define their feelings, if necessary

  • Eye contact, nodding your head and smiling go a long way

  • Be clear about expectations. Don’t expect students to “just get it”

  • Nothing unnerves students quite as much as superficial, authoritarian answers like “That’s just the policy.” Provide real answers to their questions

  • Make sure your mouth, eyes and body are all saying the same thing

  • Step out from behind your desk and remove physical barriers between you and the student when speaking to him or her

  • Forget about what a principal is “supposed” to look and act like. Be you.

Many of these tips have been adapted from Robert Ramsey’s book, How to Say the Right Thing Every Time: Communicating Well With Students, Staff, Parents, and the Public.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, career success, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals

5 Do’s & Don’ts: Creating a partnership with your new principal

Posted on Thu, Sep 05, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

new principalMost of us are resistant, or at least skeptical, of change—particularly when it directly impacts us. Whether we like it or not, new principals rarely leave things untouched. Many of us may immediately buy-in to these changes, but odds are that it’s going to take some time for him or her to win the school over. Just keep in mind that principals can be a teacher’s (and student’s) most important ally. To help you start off on the right foot, we’d like to offer 5 essential Do’s and Don’ts for creating a partnership with your new principal.

Do invite the new principal into your classroom
Your new principal may not need permission to sit in on your class, but why wait for her to ask? Be preemptive: extend an invitation on your own accord. An open invitation suggests that your classroom is a safe and open space; it also indicates that you welcome collaboration and constructive criticism, not to mention the fact that it will diffuse any potential for an adversarial relationship from the very beginning.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
You may have been tied to the tattered leather couch in the lounge and felt that resources would have been better spent on students. You may have fancied the location of the dusty trophies in the hallway. You may have been annoyed when “your” classroom was given to another teacher, but keep it all in perspective. A new principal is going to change things. React to these changes with measure, especially if you don’t know the details. What you may not know is that the new couch was donated or that the trophies are being cleaned or that “your” classroom was relocated for good reason.

And when you are confused or frustrated by new changes, set up a face-to-face meeting; don’t dash off a snarky email.

Do ask your principal if she would like to collaborate
This one goes nicely with number one. When you invite the principal into your classroom, include her in the activities—and make sure that you provide the readings/handouts you plan on using that day so that she can be an active participant.

Here’s another idea: Ask your principal to read a book or article to the class and then co-facilitate a discussion around it with her. Another idea might be to set up students in groups and have the principal help you make rounds, answer and ask Socratic questions.

Don’t wait for the principal to reach out to you
We suggested that you invite the principal to visit your classroom. In addition to this, why not set up a face-to-face meeting. Principals are under a tremendous amount of pressure—especially if they are still acclimating themselves to the school culture—so odds are that they would gladly welcome a conversation that doesn’t involve frustrations and ill will.

Do put your requests in writing
Relaying concerns and requests as you pass the principal in the hallway is a start, but understand that, more than likely, your conversation may be one of a few dozen she is trying to remember. Always send a friendly follow-up email. And if you don’t get a response right away, wait a week. And if a week passes, simply send another email or pick up the phone. Assume that the email went to her SPAM folder or got lost in the mix rather than assuming the principal deliberately ignored or deleted your email.

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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, career success, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals

15 pieces of advice from former first-year principals

Posted on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 14:08 PM

principalsMost of us who have spent time in the field of education can intuit the demands principals face, but experiencing it is something altogether different. To help you prepare for your first year as a principal, we’d like to share 15 pieces of advice from former first-year principals, all of which come from Tena Green’s book, Your First Year as Principal.  

  • Learn to differentiate between what needs to be settled right away and what requires reflection and input from others.

  • Understand that you cannot do everything by yourself. And even if you could, it would be still be difficult (if not impossible) to get buy-in from others if they did not have a voice in the decision-making process

  • Accept that you cannot be everything to everyone. Learn to differentiate between the things that require your attention and those that you can turn over to others

  • Take care of yourself physically, academically and emotionally

  • Realize that you do not have to have all the answers

  • Avoid making important decisions quickly. Our culture thrives on immediate responses and instant gratification, so you may feel the pressure to respond to important emails or make high-stakes decisions off the cuff. Resist this temptation. Resist external pressure to make rash decisions

  • Open your eyes more than your mouth

  • Never forget what it was like to be a teacher

  • Understand both the culture and the hidden culture of a school

  • Get out of the office as often as you can. Save paperwork for the end of the day when things quiet down

  • Always share the credit and celebrate victories often

  • Develop a personal mission statement. Write it down. Read it every morning. Make it happen

  • Collaborate with faculty and staff to create a unified school vision

  • Accept that you may face resentment from staff members who were contenders for your position. Sure, you may win some of them over by adding them to various teams or by acknowledging their talents—but others may never be won over through no fault of your own.

  • There is no need to trumpet your authority. Everyone already knows you are in charge

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, career success, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals

10 Ways New Principals Can Prepare for Opening Day

Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 @ 11:06 AM

new principalsSay “summer vacation” to a veteran principal and don’t be surprised when s/he responds with, “Never heard of it.” Sure, the academic year technically ends somewhere in the middle of June, but the job of a principal is ongoing and often just as busy during the summer. If you’re a new principal, you have even more ground to cover. To ensure that you don’t forget anything, we’ve put together a checklist of 10 things new principals can do this summer to prepare for opening day. Many of these come courtesy of Evan Robb’s book, The Principal's Leadership Sourcebook: Practices, Tools, and Strategies for Building a Thriving School Community.

10 Ways New Principals Can Prepare for Opening Day

1: Work closely with your predecessor
If you can make it happen, collaborate with the previous principal on a transitional plan. If school is still in session, see if you can schedule some time to visit classrooms or simply eat lunch with students and teachers.

2: Meet with your secretary right off the bat

There are dozens of perfunctory tasks you’ll need to take care of on the day you turn that door handle and enter your new office. The boxes and clutter can wait. One of the most important things you can do is meet with your secretary and get your hands on a copy of last year’s year book.

3: Start learning the names of faculty and staff members
Take the year book home with you and study it. Once you learn the names of your team, you’re ready to start meeting them.

4: Write welcome letters/emails to parents
It’s no secret that parental involvement is crucial to our students’ success. Start off on the right foot by sending out letters/emails to the parents. Invite them to drop by and spend time with you this summer. This will send the message that you are available and looking forward to meeting and working with them.

5: Repeat number four; this time address letters/emails to teachers and staff

6: Organize "Meet the Principal" sessions
Mid-July is a good time to start meeting the parents and getting to know those you have met better. Try organizing several "Meet the Principal" sessions. These should be informal gatherings where parents get to ask you questions and you get to do the same.

7: Manage your school budget.
Getting a handle on your school budget can be complex. Here are a few common finance pitfalls to avoid:

  • Don’t think you can meet all requests. There is a limit to how much money is available.
  • Clear procedures are essential in order for the principal to review all purchase requests so that all the needs of your school are met.
  • Allow teams or departments to decide what they need.
  • Be careful about spending. The amount of money in a school's operational budget is set for the year. Effectively managing this money is critical.

8: Prepare for School-Fee Week and Back to School Night in August
Many schools cover the costs of consumable items (workbooks, art and science supplies, for example) through registration fees that are taken care of during “Fee Week.” Use this week as an opportunity to continue meeting parents—and  be sure to remind them about Back to School Night or encourage them to join a parent advisory committee or volunteer at the school.

9: Meet every student in your school
Give yourself until mid-September to reach this goal, but make it a priority. There are innumerable ways to interact with students: try greeting students in the mornings as they step off the bus; attend sporting events and sit with a different group of students each time; visit classrooms; sit in on a ceramics class and spin some clay…whatever it takes to interact with students.

10: Prepare to be a public figure
Many new principals are surprised by how the job seems to follow them wherever they go. You may intend to interact with students during a football game; you may intend to be anonymous when you go to the grocery store or get dinner with your family, but you won’t always be successful. No matter where you are—in your office, in the bathroom, vacationing in Fiji—parents and students (both past and present) are going to spot you. Prepare yourself for this kind of visibility.  

Photo credit: Daniel*1977 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals, first day of school

Retire the school newsletter. Start a school blog

Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

school blogMost schools use a monthly newsletter to keep parents and the wider school community in touch with what’s going on. Those of you behind the newsletters know how much time, energy and money it takes to generate the content, proof it, format it, print it and mail it. Despite our efforts, we’ve finally come to terms with two things: first, print has fallen out of favor; second, most newsletters end up in the recycling bin along with the Chinese restaurant menus and random circulars parents receive in the mail. So how can schools more effectively communicate with parents? The answer is simple and it won’t cost you a thing: Start a school blog.

Retire the school newsletter. Start a school blog

Many prefer to read news online
According to research published last year by Pew Research, a substantial percentage of leading newspaper readers get their news digitally. Currently, 55 percent of New York Times readers say they prefer to access news on a computer or mobile device, as do 48 percent of regular USA Today and 44 percent of Wall Street Journal readers. While this isn’t proof that nearly 50 percent of your readers prefer to access school news online, there’s a good chance that they do. 

Blogs are current
By the time parents receive their monthly newsletter, much of the information is already outdated. Who wants to read about the “big game” or a service learning project three weeks after it happened? Blogs allow you to update readers as newsworthy events are taking place—not after. Another thing to keep in mind is that event information (dates, times, etc.) changes. Once a newsletter has been printed and shipped, there’s no going back. Blogs give you the flexibility to make changes whenever you want.  

Blogs will save you money
Most blogging platforms are free. No more printing and shipping costs; no more envelope licking; no more label printing. If you are concerned about alienating parents who are less tech-savvy or prefer to read print, send home a survey and find out who your readers are and how they prefer to access school news.

Blogs provide a rich, multi-media experience
Unlike print, which is linear and static, blogs allow you to easily integrate video, audio, photos and text. Now you can show, not simply tell, parents what’s going on in school. You’ll be surprised at how capturing students “in the moment” and posting pictures and videos of them throughout the day will impact parent engagement.

There are dozens (probably more) of blogging platforms to choose from and most of them are free. Blogger, for example, is Google’s free blogging service. It only takes minutes to set up and you can customize the theme and color of your site. If you already have a Gmail account, there’s good news: You’ve got a Blogger account too. Simply sign into Gmail and select “Blogger” from the “more” menu. Other blogging platforms you might check out include WordPress.com, Blog.com, or even TypePad Micro.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals, school blog

Principals don’t need personas. They need authenticity.

Posted on Wed, May 08, 2013 @ 09:05 AM

principal authenticityHaving the responsibility of shaping a school, managing teachers, students and curriculum—and having to shouldering the blame when things go wrong—has led more than a few principals to project a persona. Principal or not, we all do this to some extent, of course. Under the pressure to succeed, under the pressure to “brand” ourselves with amenable qualities, we often fashion a version of ourselves that minimizes our blemishes and highlights only our best traits. Eventually though, false personas corrode and break down. That’s why we want to talk a bit about authenticity.

Know thyself
“What are some of your weaknesses?” This ubiquitous question shows up in nearly every interview. And while most of us have learned strategies to skirt the question, we believe principals should honestly reflect on their weaknesses. You may not necessarily want to share all of them in an interview, but having the ability to reflect critically on your shortcomings is an integral part of becoming an effective principal because it helps you assess where and when to seek help from others.

Learn to laugh at your blunders
Principals are under an incredible amount of scrutiny and that can make it hard to laugh. But taking yourself too seriously, denying or beating yourself up when you make a blunder is going to take a toll on you and your relationships. Self-deprecating humor is often the funniest. Laugh and laugh often.  

Be interested, not interesting
We’ve all spent time with someone who didn’t understand how the give and take of a conversation works. We’ve all gotten off the phone a half hour later and realized, “Wow. She didn’t ask me a single thing about myself.” We all have our moments, but try not to be that person on the other end of the telephone. Authentic principals ask questions and are focused on being interested, not interesting.

Don’t surround yourself with yea-sayers
Praise and concession sure feels nice, but it amounts to little if it is coming from those who offer it out of fear or flattery. Connect with other educational leaders who aren’t personally invested in your school. It’s helpful to have mentors who are encouraging but who also aren’t afraid to give you a perspective that’s different from your own.

Accept that you cannot do this alone
You may think that you have to do it all—and certainly you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities—but trying to do it all on your own is impossible; and it could have the effect of making you look like a control freak or worse—take a toll on your health. Let your “army” of intelligent and perfectly capable teachers help you shoulder the burden. They may gain a better perspective of the scope of the issues you face too.

Schools benefit from authentic leaders—men and women who engage others and who are working toward authenticity. Being authentic has the added benefit of letting people know that while you’re tough and very capable, you are human too, and appreciate help and support from others.

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, educational leaders, Role of Principal in School, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

Becoming an effective principal--and avoiding first-year blunders

Posted on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

effective principalsDespite the fact that many new principals have spent years—and sometimes decades—in education, they are often broadsided by the new (and unavoidable challenges) that come with the territory. Although we certainly can’t prepare you for all of them, we’d like to offer a few tips to help you avoid a few first-year blunders.

The first year: Making new principals into effective principals

Effective principals know that not everyone knows what they do all day
The expectations placed on leadership have never been more demanding. Sure, principals know who creates the school’s vision, develops curriculum, evaluates teachers, manages the building and collects data. But outsiders are, generally speaking, completely unaware of what principals do throughout the day.

If your colleagues genuinely believe that your day consists of issuing orders or combing the halls for truants, it makes sense that they would be frustrated when you do not respond to their needs immediately. The best way to let them know what you do is by having them help you do it—which brings us to our next point.

Effective principals create a community of shared responsibility
You may think that you have to do it all—and certainly you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities—but don’t try to be a rugged-individualist. We’re saying this for a few reasons: First, it’s impossible. Second, because it will make you look like a control freak. Third, because you have any army of intelligent and perfectly capable teachers who can help you shoulder the burden.

If you assign a specific, task-savvy adult to handle every anticipated melodrama—crumbling drywall, for example, or a flock of birds who has made a nest in the rafters of the gym—you can spend your time on “big-picture” issues. Quick fixes may make you look good, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice when you stay mired in perfunctory disruptions.

Effective principals make themselves visible
Like we said earlier, not everyone understands what principals do—and they’re never going to if you hole up in an office all day. One way to make yourself visible is by taking your office with you. If you need access to email, bring along a laptop and set up shop in the library. Is there a study hall going on somewhere in the school? Grab a seat in the back of the room and get some work done there. Try rotating your “satellite office” every day. Doing this not only gets you out of the office, it also gives you the opportunity to speak with faculty and students.

Effective principals accept the fact that they’ll be compared to predecessors
Knowing ahead of time that everything you do will be measured against your predecessor will save you a lot of grief and restless nights. Comparisons are going happen. You are going to hear things like, “Principal X didn’t seem to have a problem with this,” or “Principal X would never have done this.” Ditch your gut reaction to react defensively and use these moments to ask questions and engage in an open discussion.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, career success, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, New Principals

Social networking and education: reaching parents, all of them

Posted on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

Even if you’ve only spent a few short minutes around young folks, you know that they are enamored by technology—and so are an increasing number of teachers.  Administrators, too, are beginning to see the benefits of coupling social networking and education. Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, and text messages sent in multiple languages give schools the ability to update parents about their schools and students with the click of a few buttons. This is exciting for all of us, but how do we ensure that all parents, particularly those who are economically challenged, have access to the technology necessary to communicate with them? We’d like to offer a couple of solutions.

Social Networking and Education: reaching parents, even those with economic challenges

social networking and educationApply to Recycles.org
Recycles.org is a non-profit that specializes in technology for education. Donation offerings are updated every day and the quality and range of items may surprise you. In the two minutes we spent browsing the list, we noticed a couple of refurbished Mac Books! The only thing they ask is that participating organizations who benefit from the service periodically contribute towards Recycles.org’s expenses (a minimum donation of $20 is expected). To apply for membership, click here.

Social Networking and TechnologyUse online fundraising sites
If Recycles.org doesn’t work out for you, give the global community a shot. Car washes, fundraisers, silent auctions and bake-offs are great, but they provide a limited amount of exposure. When you use online fundraising websites like DonorsChoose, AdoptAClassroom, GoFundMe and Chipin, you’re able to register your school and write about the things students, parents and classrooms need. Donors from around the world can search by location, school, teacher, etc., to find a cause that resonates with them.

social networking and education 3Providing Parents with Internet Access
Now that parents have their own home computer, how do we get those who can’t afford it online? One option is to look into a Comcast program called Internet Essentials. After Comcast acquired NBC Universal earlier in 2011, an FCC-mandated requirement was that the cable giant offer cheap Internet access to low-income households. Families who qualify will be able to sign up for 1.5-Mbps Internet access for a mere $9.95 a month. Customers may also be eligible for a computer that costs only $150 and free Internet training. To qualify, users must:

  • Be located where Comcast offers Internet service
  • Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
  • Not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  • Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

For those who do not qualify for Comcast or live in an area where Comcast service is not available, here is a list of other low-cost (some are even free) Internet service providers:

 

 

 

Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals, social networking and education

Interview strategies for the aspiring school administrator

Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:01 PM

school administrators interviewThe Internet is brimming with “top 10s” and “useful tips and tricks” for acing your upcoming interview. But in our experience, once you’ve read one, you’ve kind of read them all—not to mention the fact that few, if any, of them are custom-tailored to fit the kind of scenario facing the aspiring school administrator.

Recently, however, we came across a set of interview strategies by Dr. William Sterrett, an assistant professor at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Finally, one set of interview strategies worth reading!

We’ve only recounted two of the nine questions you should plan on being asked during your big interview, but aspiring school administrators can find the complete list here. To help you prepare your answers, Sterrett has offered an explanation for the rationale behind the questions and things to consider as you formulate your answers.

Interview strategies for the aspiring school administrator

 1.)    How might you describe effective instruction?

  1. Rationale behind the question:  Some interview questions may be broad and open-ended; this one serves as an example.   Principals must serve as learning leaders; this question addresses this role.
  2. How you might approach the question: Be clear and succinct.  Don’t filibuster.  You may want to consider framing a bit of theory (such as through the lens of student engagement, instructional strategies, etc.) through a practical lens (describe what this might look like in the particular environment in which you wish to serve).  Be specific: what would this look like in a second grade math classroom?  If you are applying for a secondary vacancy, what might you look for in an AP Chemistry class?   

 2.)    How will you support a safe and effective school learning environment?

  1. Rationale behind the question: It is safe to expect to receive some sort of “discipline” or “climate” question that is geared toward better understanding your approach to issues you will surely face.  School safety is at the forefront of today’s discussions related to education, and a school community will want a leader that is focused on a safe learning environment. 
  2. How you might approach the question: As with all answers, be realistic, honest, and describe approaches that will enable you to help lead a community of learners.   You might discuss a particular school-wide strategy that has worked, recount a specific case where your leadership and/or action made a difference, and describe how you will work with teachers, students, and parents to create a learning-centered climate. 

You can read the rest of Sterrett’s article here.

If you’re interested in enhancing your credentials or taking your career in education to the next level, stop by our site to learn more about Marygrove College’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. And just so you know, Educational Leadership is only one of several online degree and certificate programs that you can pursue at your pace and on your terms.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, aspiring school administrator, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

Becoming an Effective Principal: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Posted on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

new principalsYou’ve studied curriculum design and implementation; you’ve been in the classroom; you’re passionate about students and education and you’re a self-proclaimed leader. This is a start, but if you want to be an effective principal, you might want to consider a few of these dos and don’ts.

Becoming an Effective Principal: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Do Park your car as far away from the building as it takes you to walk off your attitude
This is a good piece of advice for any professional, but it is especially relevant for new and aspiring principals. Your attitude sets a precedent for the rest of the school, so when you walk into the office, scowl or give a half-hearted hello to the staff and students, count on it resonating—and not in a way you want it to.

A poor attitude is contagious: When teachers start to sign in for the day, they’re going to be greeted by the same staff that you scowled at, the same folks who are murmuring amongst themselves about you. That’s why author, principal and veteran educator Patricia Buoncristiani suggests that you park as far away from the entrance of the building as it will take you to walk off your case of the Monday blues. This is one of those obvious, but not-so-obvious pieces of advice we all need to take.

Don’t adhere to fads. Ask yourself, “Does the school really need a technology overhaul?”
These days, there’s very little cash to throw around—which means that you’re going to have to get creative if you want to give your school a technology facelift. But before you make all of your classrooms SMART, realize that teachers can teach, and have been doing a fine job of it for hundreds of years, without state-of-the-art equipment.

For those teachers who “need” upgrades, have them draft a self-evaluation/proposal where they detail how they currently use technology in the class. Additionally, have them describe how technology will enhance their curriculum and list the software/hardware they are interested in. If you need more creative ways to fund your school’s technology program, check out one of our previous blogs here.

Do
become a student-interventionist

Any principal worth his or her salt subscribes to the notion that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender—are capable learners. In addition to this, they know how and when to intervene to ensure that it happens.

You can’t choose your students, their socioeconomic status or their parents. All you can do is meet students where they are—not where you think they should be.

Don’t
try to be a rugged individualist

You may think that you have to do it all—and certainly you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities—but don’t try to be a rugged-individualist. We’re saying this for a few reasons: First, it’s impossible. Second, because it will make you look like a control freak. Third, because you have any army of intelligent and perfectly capable teachers who can help you shoulder the burden.

If you assign a specific, task-savvy adult to handle every anticipated melodrama—crumbling drywall, for example, or a flock of birds who has made a nest in the rafters of the gym—you can spend your time on “big-picture” issues. Quick fixes may make you look good, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice when you stay mired in perfunctory disruptions.

Do
learn your students’ names—all of them
Zsa Zsa Gabor once said, "I call everyone 'Darling' because I can't remember their names."
This may have worked for Zsa Zsa, but it won’t work for you. If you’re going to get serious about developing relationships and advocating for students, you’ll need to get to know them. All of them. “But I’m not good with names,” you say. We’ve got an app for that!

If you need to learn your students’ names, all it takes is a smart phone, $4.99, and a little app called Attendance2. This app was originally intended for teachers as a way to streamline the attendance-keeping process. But you’ll be using the built-in flashcard function, which allows you to snap a photo of your students, add their name and any other necessary details and file it away so you can quiz yourself later on.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, Role of Principal in School, Becoming an effective principal, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

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