Diversity in the classroom - National Association of Elementary School

Principal November/December 2009


Diversity in the Classroom

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November/December 2009



published to serve elementary and middle-level educators by the national association of elementary school principals

Diversity in the Classroom 10 The Changing Face of Diversity

Noni Mendoza Reis and Sylvia Méndez Revisiting our understandings about diversity will reveal that it no longer refers to race alone and that it is a value-added resource to classrooms.

14 What Does It Mean To Be Culturally Proficient? 10

Anthony Moyer and Janice Clymer A suburban school in Pennsylvania prepares for an increase in Englishlanguage learners by incorporating culturally proficient instruction.

20 ESL as a Supplement to Learning

Kelly Simpson Reider and Susan Zimmerman-Orozco Create a successful ESL model by matching the program to the language needs of the students.

26 NAESP Partners With NSU to Offer Diversity Certification 14

28 Including Nontraditional Families—Mark French

feat ur es Research Report 30 Program Evaluation Know-How

Nancy Protheroe Take a critical look at specific school programs and approaches by using these research-based strategies.



36 You Can’t Do It All! A Sensible Way to Distribute School Leadership Roles

Jane Kise and Beth Russell Use personality type to discover and enhance your leadership style.

Principal n November/December 2009


Ta b l e o f c o nt e nts

BO A R D O F D I REC T OR S President Diane Cargile

col u m ns 6 From the Editors Finding the Value in Difference 52 Parents & Schools Enter the New Generation of Parents—John H. Wherry 54 It’s the Law Gender Diversity Issues—Perry A. Zirkel 56 Postscript Interesting Times—Gail Connelly

departm ent s 8 Snapshots 41 Practitioner’s Corner Proceed With Caution Toward Change—Maria F. Cleary 43 Principal’s Bookshelf Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham —Reviewed by Lisa Hannah The Principal’s Guide to Managing School Personnel by Richard D. Sorenson and Lloyd M. Goldsmith —Reviewed by Jon Stern 44 Principal-to-Principal Remaining Focused During a Budget Crisis—K. Jane Cline and Kelli Dufresne 46 The Reflective Principal In Our Students’ Shoes—Bridget Chapin 48 Ten to Teen A Restorative Approach to Resolving Conflict—Jay Zaslaw 50 Speaking Out Don’t Overlook Grade Skipping—Marty Nemko 51 Advertisers

President-Elect Barbara Chester Past President Nancy M. Davenport Directors David Cobb, Zone 1 Fidelia Sturdivant, Zone 2 Gerald DeGrange, Zone 3 Joseph Edward Pollard, Zone 4 John Ansman, Zone 5 Juli Kwikkel, Zone 6 Kenny Jones, Zone 7 Deborah Ayers-Geist, Zone 8 Dwight Liddiard, Zone 9 Mark O. Terry, Foundation Cynthia Toles-Woods, Foundation Gail Connelly, Ernest J. Mannino, Michael L. Schooley, Ex Officio Principal (ISSN 0271-6062) is published in September, November, January, March, and May by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3483. Annual membership dues in the Association are $215 (institutional, $140), of which $35 are for a year’s subscription to Principal. (Subscriptions available only as part of membership.) Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, VA, and at additional mailing offices. Executive and Editorial Offices, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3483. 703-684-3345. Copyright ©2009 National Association of Elementary School Principals. All rights reserved. Requests to reprint or reproduce, in print or online, material published in Principal or other NAESP publications must be in written form, specifying the article(s), publication date(s), usage, and number of copies to be reproduced. Each request will be reviewed on its merits and confirmed by e-mail for one-time use only. See the Publications Web page at www.naesp.org for more information. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Member Services Center 1615 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314-3483 Principal is a registered trademark of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Opinions expressed in Principal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NAESP. No information contained in this issue of Principal should be construed as legal or financial advice. The publication of any advertisement or article by Principal does not constitute an endorsement of that product, service, or position. Principal reserves the right to refuse any article or advertisement. Only the publication of an article or advertisement shall constitute final acceptance. Principal is a member of Association Media & Publishing.


Principal n November/December 2009


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Can a teacher make a difference in student learning? According to research sponsored by Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, the answer is yes. In a unique collaboration with Tacoma Public Schools in Tacoma, Washington, researchers compared the reading fluency of students taught by Walden Master’s-educated teachers with students taught by non-Walden Master’s-educated teachers. The study revealed that students of teachers who graduated from Walden’s Elementary Reading and Literacy program had gains in reading fluency that were on average 4.8 words per minute, or 14%, greater than students of non-Walden Master’s-educated teachers.* Gains were largest in first grade where students of Walden teachers averaged 5.4 more words per minute than students of the non-Walden-Master’s educated teachers.* Learn more about this study, and how Walden prepares teachers for greater classroom success, at www.WaldenU.edu/tacoma

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org; 1-312-263-0456. Walden University cannot guarantee that completion of coursework or any degree-level program (bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, or doctorate) will lead to educator licensure, certification, or endorsement. Walden does offer some Minnesota state-approved programs. While it remains the prospective student’s responsibility to comply with state requirements, a Walden enrollment advisor can provide generalized state-specific information. Call 1-866-492-5336 or visit www.WaldenU.edu for details. Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or www.alsde.edu to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits. Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6320 or [email protected] to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement. *According to a 2008 independent study of teachers in the Tacoma Public Schools (Washington) that analyzed data from 2006-2008.


Finding the Value in Difference I

n 2010, the next census year, the U.S government will calculate the number of residents in the country and, among other data, the race, ethnicity, age, and makeup of each U.S. household. The results of the 2010 census are anticipated to reveal another round of increases in the number of racially and ethnically diverse people living in the nation—numbers that are bound to be reflected in the student populations of your schools. But, as this issue of Principal explains, diversity is not only based on a person’s race or ethnicity. NAESP’s standards book, Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able To Do, states: “In addition to defining diversity by class, gender, ethnicity or race, effective leaders also look for diversity in how people learn and how age, beliefs, perspectives and experiences influence learning.” Diversity has become a dynamic term, encompassing characteristics both seen and unseen. Where and how a student has been raised, and by whom, are among those components that go unseen when looking into a child’s eyes. School administrators, faculty, and staff must not only recognize these differences among their students, but also embrace them. One way to do this is by becoming culturally proficient, as author Anthony Moyer details in his article. The additional theme articles included in this issue are intended to further expand your knowledge on the topic of diversity and provide insight about bringing out the best in all your students. NAESP’s efforts to offer resources to principals about diversity do not end with this issue of the magazine, however. Looking ahead to future Association events and initiatives, you’ll find a variety of ways that you and your staff can further engage in professional development built around the theme of diversity. First up is the second installment of NAESP’s six-part webinar series. Titled “Principals Leading Diverse Learning Communities,” the online professional development opportunity on Nov. 5 will focus on building consensus on a vision that reflects the core of the school community, valuing and using diversity to enhance learning, and developing a learning culture that is adaptive, collaborative, innovative, and supportive. For more information about this webinar, as well as the others that are part of the series, go to www.naesp.org/webinars .aspx. In April, NAESP’s 89th Annual Convention and Exposition in Houston will feature a session strand titled “Cultural Diversity: Transforming Learning Communities.” Concurrent sessions falling under this category will address such topics as best practices for communicating and working with diverse parents and communities; how to get started thinking about inclusion for gifted, special needs, and English-language learners; defining cultural competencies for educators and applying it in schools; and coordinating services to meet the instructional needs of diverse student populations. Information about these concurrent sessions, and others, can be found at www.naesp .org/2010. Finally, our annual Summer Institute, which will take place July 6-9, 2010, in San Diego, will have a central theme of “Diverse Learning Communities.” Stay tuned for details about the Summer Institute in the next few months. We hope that this issue of Principal will lay the groundwork you need to begin instituting best practices for teaching diverse populations, and that you take advantage of the additional professional development opportunities NAESP is planning in the coming school year.


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Executive Director Gail Connelly NAESP Foundation CEO Ernest J. Mannino Deputy Executive Director Michael L. Schooley Senior Associate Executive Directors Deborah Bongiorno Frederick N. Brown

p r in c ipal Vanessa St. Gerard Managing Editor [email protected] Kaylen Tucker Associate Editor [email protected]

Edit o r ial ad v is o r s Christopher Hammill Detroit, Michigan Lisa Hannah Virginia Beach, Virginia Robert Heath Boone, North Carolina James Linde Baltimore, Maryland Roma Morris Columbia, Mississippi Melissa D. Patschke Royersford, Pennsylvania Susan Romero La Crescenta, California Jon Stern Wabasha, Minnesota James Warnock Alma, Arkansas If you are interested in submitting an article for possible publication in Principal, our submission guidelines are available at www.naesp.org/writing. Letters to the editor or general inquiries may be sent to [email protected]

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s our nation’s schools strive to provide quality education for students most at risk for failure, the notion of diversity continues to lead the discussion. Revisiting our understandings about diversity as a response to creating equitable learning opportunities to foster achievement for all students has become increasingly urgent given that, while the student demographics have shifted, the achievement gap remains stagnant. We can no longer neglect or miseducate such a significant segment of our population; all our citizens benefit when we improve the education of at-risk students. If schools are to meet these challenges successfully, principals will be expected to be more critically informed about diversity.

The Changing

Revisiting our understandings about diversity will reveal that it no longer refers to race alone and that it is a value-added resource to classrooms. Noni Mendoza Reis and Sylvia Méndez


Principal n November/December 2009


According to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, many states are experiencing significant growth in culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) groups. For example, 24 states saw an increase of at least 100 percent in their Englishlearner student population, while other states have experienced a change upwards of 350 percent. This diversification of the student population, however, has not been matched by an increase in student achievement. On

the contrary, schools across the nation are experiencing an ever-increasing achievement gap between white students and students from diverse backgrounds. Providing effective educational programs to all students is especially significant now as schools continue to experience high student drop-out rates, sanctions for low-performing students, and high teacher attrition in schools where quality teachers are needed most—working with poor and culturally diverse students.

Evolution of Diversity There has been a variety of understandings about diversity and how to respond to it in schools, most notable are the following three distinct approaches. The first approach occurred after the civil rights movement and ensuing legislation of the 1960s and continued through the 1980s. The assumption among educators was that diverse students performed poorly in school because they “inherited” a number of deficits: poverty, inability to speak

Face of Diversity


Principal n November/December 2009


English, low self-esteem, and other forms of “cultural deprivation.” The approaches used by educators, therefore, assumed that the schools should make up for such deficits and provide more opportunities for students to improve their self-esteem and/or overcome the language barrier through bilingual education programs. Multicultural education had its origins during this time. While intended to address issues of inequalities, many schools implemented it in a nonthreatening and narrow manner. For example, multicultural curriculum often was limited to the celebration of various ethnic heroes. Additionally, while school principals supported multicultural education, it was the responsibility of the teacher to infuse it into the curriculum. A second approach to addressing diversity in schools began in the late 1980s and l990s. It addressed the cultural proficiencies and/or culturally relevant pedagogies necessary to work effectively with students from diverse backgrounds. This approach to diversity shifted the focus away from students’ perceived deficits toward teachers’ knowledge and skills in working with CLD students. Many researchers— including Gloria Ladson Billings in Crossing Over to Canaan, Christine Sleeter in “Preparing Teachers for Culturally Diverse Schools: Research and the Overwhelming Presence of Whiteness,” Lisa Delpit in Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, and Geneva Gay in Culturally Responsive Teaching— show that when a teacher understands a student’s background, culture, and language and uses these characteristics as strengths to build upon, the student is validated and more likely to succeed. Further, teachers who understand their students’ cultures and backgrounds are better able to design instruction that best meets their needs. A robust, research-based model of culturally relevant pedagogy is housed at the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) at the University of California, Berkeley. The CREDE model comprises five standards of effective pedagogy:


Principal n November/December 2009

 eachers and students produce T together—Facilitate learning through joint productive activity among teachers and students. n Develop language and literacy across the curriculum—Apply literacy strategies and develop academic language competence in all subject areas. n Make lessons meaningful—Connect curriculum to experience and skills of students’ home and community. n Teach complex thinking—Challenge students with cognitive complexity. n Teach through conversation—Engage students through dialogue, especially instructional conversation. n

these conversations often move to issues of entitlement, bias, prejudice, and race. Putting race on the table is not an easy issue, especially when the National Center for Education Statistics reported that a majority of the teachers (82 percent) in 2006-2007 come from the majority group. Often these teachers have limited experience working with CLD students. The first step is to participate in collegial discussions that authentically address the issues. The goal must be to identify successful structures and strategies that are inclusive of all stakeholders and empower each one to take the next step in responding to diversity as a resource that will enrich schools.

Working With Today’s Students

Now, more than ever, the ways in which school principals manage and respond to issues of diversity are essential to promote the systemic change needed to best meet the needs of our changing student population. In leading a discussion in a school, for example, a principal might ask his or her staff: What does diversity mean? It is likely that a first anticipated response is that “Diversity is good” and should be embraced and nurtured. But not all of us have a comThe third approach of the past 10 mon definition for this term. Some years reflects a response to diversity that builds on the previous two periods but is may first think about diversity in terms of the color of one’s skin or one’s lanmore centered on students’ civil rights. guage, background, gender, sexuality, There has been a shift from blaming ethnicity, or race. And of course all of the victims (CLD students) for their these criteria fit into the spectrum of perceived shortcomings and instead diversity and how it appears in our stuaddressing inadequacies inside the school, such as deficient resources, poor dents and in our teaching force; but what is the decisive focus of diversity? teacher quality, and institutionalized For us, it is the continuum of experidiscrimination, that contribute to the ence that a child brings into a school achievement gap. as a learner who needs to be nurtured This approach requires that school and supported. Moreover, when there principals be prepared to lead by embracing equity and social justice. This is a clash between a child’s home and school experiences, diversity is often level of preparation requires a strong identified as something to be obliterunderstanding of cultural proficiency and the need to reflect upon one’s biases ated or ignored, placing the responsibility of the achievement gap once and understandings of effective strateagain on the backs of diverse students. gies for working with diverse student populations. It also requires principals to Past experience has shown this to impact not only a child’s opportunity effectively facilitate discussions because www.naesp.org

for academic success, sense of belonging, and positive self-esteem, but it can also quickly turn off a child’s motivation to learn. How can we respond to the differences of experiences that our children bring to school without one group feeling like the outlier and the other the norm? Knowing and connecting with students who enter our schools is essential. For example, it is important to go beyond the language proficiency that identifies a student as an Englishlanguage learner or an English-only student or another subgroup label that we already know. Somehow we need to make connections with our CLD students through diverse and perhaps alternative methods. A writing club could be led by individuals from the community to encourage students to write about their realities without threat of exposure or ridicule. Some other ideas might be to have specific after-school clubs, such as a chess, kite flyer, or cooking club, where students can share their talents and experiences. In addition, teachers need to provide instruction to all students on the many groups of people who live on this earth with us. We need to respect and tap the resources at our gates: our parents and community members who come from many different places and speak many different languages. Consider a homework assignment that requires a child to ask his or her parents, relatives, and familiar neighbors about their place of birth and the languages they speak or their work histories. Teachers can follow up by inviting those diverse individuals to come to the school and share their experiences and histories, thus making a home-school connection. The ways we prepare students to enter into global relationships and reciprocally based collaborations are by giving them firsthand experience with working with someone who is different from them.

Leading Change Previously, diversity was identified through visible labels like the color of a person’s skin or his or her language. www.naesp.org

“We must explicitly teach our students how to navigate a system that is not always equitable.” Now, diversity is viewed through the multiplicity of the individual. His skin color can be brown but he is a fluent English speaker or she may have blue eyes and her primary language is Cantonese. Interracial marriages are much more common and children share cultural and ethnic pride across races. The societal realities that confront families cannot be ignored. Not all of our students have two parents of the opposite sex in the home who are both employed, enjoy two weeks of vacation, are homeowners, and have cars to take children to the store or to the movies. Nor might they have a home full of books, pens, dictionaries, encyclopedias, computers, cell phones, or functioning bathrooms. Rather, some of our students survive with minimal supervision and resources each day, often with only the television to keep them company. This is the diversity of experience that our students bring with them into our schools. As principals, we must be mindful that no one in school is making false assumptions about a student based on his or her own experiences and biases. There needs to be a way for a significant adult to develop a relationship that is built on trust and shared interests. We must explicitly teach our students how to navigate a system that is not always equitable. It is our role as principals to be advocates for our students. Our schools are predicted to become increasingly more diverse. Add to this circumstance that leadership studies indicate that principals are key to leading change and improvement reforms. They can play a key role to ensure that diversity is handled in a culturally

responsive and student-centered manner with equity and social justice at the center. The principal, as the instructional leader, must demonstrate how diversity is a value-added resource that will enhance the learning environment for students, teachers, and the community in a positive and enriching manner. As the late Harvard University professor Ron Edmonds said in a 1978 speech: “We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to in order to do this. Whether we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.” P Noni Mendoza Reis is chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at the San Jose State University College of Education. Her e-mail address is [email protected] Sylvia Méndez is principal of Ann Soldo Elementary School in Watsonville, California. Her e-mail address is sylvia. [email protected]

W EB RESOU RC ES The Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) is focused on improving the education of students whose ability to reach their potential is challenged by language or cultural barriers, race, geographic location, or poverty. http://crede.berkeley.edu Teaching for Change is a nonprofit organization promoting social and economic justice by offering multicultural resources, including books, videos, and posters. www.teachingforchange.org

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What Does It Mean To Be


A suburban school in Pennsylvania prepares for an increase in Englishlanguage learners by incorporating culturally proficient instruction. Anthony moyer and Janice Clymer


Principal n November/December 2009



oday in the U.S., more than 4 million elementary and secondary students require language assistance, and growth of the English-language learner (ELL) population is expected to continue. In “The Impact of Experience and Coursework: Perceptions of Secondary Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom,” Miguel Mantero and Paula McVicker reveal that by 2050 minority students will account for approximately 57 percent of the student population, largely due to the increase of Latinos and Asians. As a result, “The multilingual classroom is an American reality in the 21st century,” write Jennifer Costa and her colleagues in “The Challenge of Infusing the Teacher Education Curriculum with Scholarship on English Language Learners.” Thus, school staffs must be prepared to meet challenges that will arise because of the changing population and an increase of ELLs. School districts that are prepared to manage population changes will be able to offer more effective instruction and services and avoid difficult transition periods that affect teachers, administrators, and students and their families. Cultural proficiency will be an integral component for shaping a school environment to enable ELLs to perform optimally.

AlIStAIr Berg/getty ImAgeS

Principal n November/December 2009


An Increasingly Common Case Wescosville Elementary School, a suburban school near Allentown, Pennsylvania, has experienced an increase in ELLs in recent years. While more than 25 languages are represented, with Spanish-speaking students constituting the largest portion of ELLs, district officials predict that the number of ELLs will continue to grow. Administrators and teachers work diligently to provide remediation for ELLs so they can perform at a level commensurate with their peers. Even though there has been progress, assessment data indicate that this group of students is still lagging in academic performance. Moreover, the majority of staff members are white, whose ancestors emigrated from Germany, and are unfamiliar with the diverse cultures represented by the ELLs they serve. Haitian Creole, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, French, Japanese, and multiple Indian language dialects are just a few of the languages spoken by students at the school. One hundred of the 650 students are monitored for their English language proficiency and 40 students are identified as ELLs. There is no doubt ELLs feel different and isolated from other mainstream students due to their diverse cultural backgrounds and native languages. They lack a sense of belonging to the classrooms and school they attend, which mounting evidence suggests hinders academic progress. In “Changes in Latino Students’ Perceptions of School Belonging over Time,” Emily Campos and her colleagues define school belonging as “the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in the school social environment.” Students who lack a sense of belonging are unmotivated and nonparticipative. In The Culturally Proficient School: An Implementation Guide for School Leaders, Randall Lindsey, Lorraine Roberts, and Franklin CampbellJones write that the appropriate response to this dilemma is to “seek and develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that demonstrate openness and authentic responsiveness to the heritage, values,


Principal n November/December 2009

Cultural proficiency is a mind-set, a worldview, a way a person or an organization makes assumptions for effectively describing, responding to, and planning for issues that arise in diverse environments. For some people, cultural proficiency is a paradigm shift from viewing cultural differences as problematic to learning how to interact effectively with other cultures. Culturally proficient leaders display personal values and behaviors that enable them and others to engage in effective interactions among students, educators, and the communities they serve. Cultural competence is behavior that aligns with standards that move an organization or an individual toward culturally proficient interactions. Source: Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders, by Randall B. Lindsey, Kikanza Nuri Robins, and Raymond D. Terrell

and expressions of each cultural group represented in the population.” However, typical U.S. public school classrooms continue to function as they traditionally have, based on mainstream, white, Anglo-Saxon culture. As a result, many teachers are unaware of the importance of helping ELLs—who frequently feel lost, depressed, alienated, lonely, fearful, and abandoned when immersed in a class of students that caters to a culture unlike their own—develop a sense of belonging.

Develop Staff Buy-in As principal of Wescosville School, I worked closely with the English as a second language (ESL) teacher, Janice Clymer, to introduce the concept of cultural proficiency to the staff. Five years ago, Janice and I decided that it was time for the staff to begin embracing the cultural diversity of our student population. As a first step, we staged a multicultural fair that featured music, dance, food, and customs and traditions

that represent the varied cultures of the student population. This annual celebration, which staff eagerly anticipate, occurs in conjunction with the school’s spring open house on a weekday evening. Students and their parents staff the informational, interactive booths set up throughout the gymnasium that represent their cultural heritage. The fair attracts hundreds of visitors and other schools in the district have begun to stage their own multicultural fair as a result. In the future, we plan to expand the fair so that it takes place throughout an entire school day and becomes more connected to the school curriculum. Students will attend programs and assemblies throughout the day, research the various cultures represented at the fair, create projects for display, and orally present their research to the student body. In addition to the fair, we use staff meetings and employee development workshops to explain the concept of cultural proficiency. These occasions provide opportunities to teach the staff about techniques that can be used within the classroom to improve the learning environment for our culturally diverse students. For example, staff members have been trained to be sensitive to the cultural traditions and beliefs of students in their classrooms. As a result, red pens are rarely used when correcting student work because the color red symbolizes death in various Asian cultures, and teachers now avoid touching the top of students’ heads since Indian students consider the head a sacred part of the body. Janice and I continue to attend workshops and read research articles that enable us to learn more about becoming culturally proficient. Here are other steps that we are taking toward cultural proficiency:  taff members learn appropriate S pronunciations of student names and learn basic words in ELLs’ home languages, which encourages an inclusive school environment; n Teachers routinely use multicultural books in their classrooms to show n


students that cultural traditions of all students are recognized and accepted throughout the school year; and n Written communication sent home from the school is translated into various languages so that family members can clearly understand relevant information.

Parent Involvement Is Critical Teachers alone cannot improve ELLs’ achievement; parental involvement at home and at school is a critical component. That is why before ELLs enter our school or a new class, a meeting is scheduled between the classroom teacher, guidance counselor, school psychologist, instructional support teacher, ESL teacher, principal, and most important, parents. These meetings, which are pleasant and nonthreatening, serve as the initial point of contact with parents to encourage their involvement. Lois Yamauchi and her colleagues confirm in “Family Involvement in a Hawaiian Language Inclusion Program” that home environments that encourage learning, family involvement at school, and high academic expectations contribute significantly to student achievement for ELLs. Parental input is also helpful in determining factors that create culturally proficient environments. Because the parents of ELLs often experience the same type of isolated, unwelcome feelAlistair Berg/Getty Images

ings as their children, their ideas and opinions about effective educational practices and the most suitable learning environments are crucial. Parents realize their involvement in the education process is important when schools value their input.

Positive School Changes There have been many changes since we have become more culturally proficient at Wescosville. Staff meetings routinely include agenda items that focus on culturally proficient practices. Also, our ESL teacher has become more involved with each classroom teacher by serving as a valued consultant who provides teachers with packets of cultural information for each ELL assigned to them. The amount of time she spends co-teaching has increased in an effort to help teachers include multicultural education in the daily curriculum. Cooperative learning has become a common teaching strategy for all teachers since we know that it is beneficial for ELLs. Emily Campos and her colleagues write in “Changes in Latino Students’ Perceptions of School Belonging over Time: Impact of Language Proficiency, Self-Perceptions, and Teacher Evaluations” that “Cooperative learning activities help to facilitate a sense of belonging in ELL students. Working with peers fosters new relationships, and, if given the chance to share and explore their own histories within the school environ-

ment, they may experience a sense of competence and acceptance.” Staff members at Wescosville now show more patience and understanding in their relationships with students and exhibit sensitivity regarding students’ cultural heritage and traditions. In addition, the overall school environment is free of prejudice—Wescosville students are frequently complimented by staff members, parents, and community members for their willingness to accept all students regardless of their cultural background. ELL families who have become involved in our school as a result of our culturally proficient efforts thank us profusely. Hugs and handshakes abound after team meetings when parents and students realize our willingness to work with them to create a successful learning environment.

An Ongoing Process In the future, we plan to do even more to encourage family involvement at Wescosville. In addition, our ESL teacher and other staff members plan to create a community resource guide specifically designed for families of ELLs that includes listings of available school, district, and community resources. We are also encouraging our school district to employ our ESL teacher as a full-time co-teacher. Finally, in order for teachers to ensure that students in their classrooms accept cultural and linguistic differences, they must develop a greater awareness of their own cultural heritage. The importance of developing cultural self-awareness and selfknowledge is crucial for teachers who wish to develop a multicultural classroom environment. When teachers engage in the process of cultural selfawareness, they are able to recognize personal bias and other preconceived notions that may create barriers, which prevent them from effectively teaching their culturally diverse students. Therefore, we plan to conduct various activities such as book studies and electronic discussions about cross-cultural sensitivity to help our staff become more aware of their own diversity issues. Principal n November/December 2009


Cultural Proficiency Is Crucial All schools need to focus on becoming culturally proficient because the U.S. population will continue to become more racially diverse. In order for our schools to continue to be successful, we must be able to respond to the needs of the changing student population. Each student has the right to be treated equally, and it is the responsibility of public schools to implement social justice. Cultural proficiency benefits all involved: Students are taught in an improved learning environment where their parents will be more involved in the learning process; administrators improve the academic performance of their schools; and parents become more acclimated to the school, feel more comfortable in the school environment, and develop a sense of ownership in the school since their opinions and input can help to create positive changes. Effective and culturally proficient

teaching eventually benefits our global society. According to Hannah Jaber’s dissertation, Personal and Professional Beliefs of Pre-service Teachers About Diversity, schools that help children to develop both strong national identities and ethnic identities produce global citizens who function more effectively in the world community. Racism, stereotyping, and cultural bias are persistent concerns that continue to grow as countries become more diverse. Exploring issues pertaining to cultural awareness in a country that is becoming more diverse is more important than ever before, especially in the school setting, which is common to all students’ lives. P

W EB RESOU RC ES The Teacher’s Corner Web site provides activities, lesson plans, and songs that are appropriate for a diverse group of students. www.edchange.org/multicultural/ teachers.html In addition to multicultural activities, lessons plans, and songs, this Web site also provides instructions for planning a multicultural fair. www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/ edmulticult.htm#collections

Anthony moyer is principal of Wescosville Elementary School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. His e-mail address is [email protected] Janice Clymer is an ESL teacher at Wescoville Elementary School.

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Create a successful ESL model by matching the program to the language needs of the students.


Principal n November/December 2009

Kelly simpson reider and susan Zimmerman-orozco


s the population of English-language learners grows exponentially across the nation, districts not traditionally considered immigration magnets suddenly find themselves with a need to come up to speed on implementing the most effective English as a Second Language (ESL) program model. As a principal in one of these districts, you may find yourself with the sobering task of developing an action plan to raise the achievement of second-language learners. Fortunately, the library of information and resources on educating English-language learners has grown along with the population, readily answering the obvious first question: What knowledge do we need to help these students be successful? Once our knowledge base of approaches and best practices for serving English-language learners has been established, the question then becomes: Where do we go from here?

Experiences at a variety of elementary schools have shown us that the key to implementing a successful ESL model is to match the program to the language needs of the students—not to the needs of a stand-alone ESL curriculum. The process of matching student needs begins with conversations about student data, conversations that are informed by a schoolwide team comJlP/Jose lUis PelaeZ/PhotoliBrarY

prising classroom and ESL teachers, content specialists, and administrators. Each subsequent step leads to an informed decision about the best delivery model to select.

Five-step Process Look at data on language acquisition, not just at conventional standardized reading/language arts and math assessment Principal n November/December 2009


data. Use traditional ESL assessments of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, as well as teacher observations about mainstream performance. Step outside the box of grouping students by ESL level and make decisions based on what language objectives are needed to succeed in the regular classroom. The heart of effective ESL instruction should be on acquiring the language focus that will help students to access regular classroom instruction, not on covering an independent timeline of discrete English proficiency skills. ESL instruction is about building the whole student and making the student’s transition from ESL to mainstream classes as seamless as possible. Today’s climate of accountability simply doesn’t give us the luxury of building two separate educational pathways—ESL and mainstream—one at a time. Look at the resources already available in the building to support second-language learners. How is ESL teacher time tradi-

“An effective ESL program model is never going to be one-size-fits-all.” tionally being used? Are ESL teachers valued as language acquisition specialists or do they lose valuable time moving students between classrooms or plugging into traditional classrooms as glorified teacher’s aides? Consider the ESL instructional schedule. Is it an integrated part of the school’s master schedule or is ESL an afterthought, a patchwork of times and places that has more to do with fitting into an existing master schedule than with targeting students’ academic language needs? Commit to regular ESL and classroom teacher planning time that focuses on

integrating ESL language outcomes with mainstream content outcomes. For effective English-language learner instruction, the master schedule must include joint planning time between ESL and grade-level teams. ESL teachers should collaborate with classroom teachers to create a short-term ESL planner that supports mainstream curriculum with vocabulary development, content-specific language structures, and the linguistic skills that support balanced literacy. Mainstream teachers must support the ESL instructional focus as well. A classroom teacher can integrate an ESL language objective into his or her guided reading instruction, while the ESL teacher uses the same mainstream text but with a different focus. Select the delivery model. Only now, after grouping your students according to their needs, can you select the most effective instructional delivery model. ESL students spend only a small percent-

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Principal n November/December 2009


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age of the day with the ESL teacher, but are classroom teachers equipped to integrate language acquisition into their daily instruction? It may be that an influx of newcomers requires the expertise of a skilled ESL teacher to build basic communicative English. Or it could be that a small group of third graders, both native and second-language speakers, needs English-language learner strategies— building background information and vocabulary, extensive modeling, and oral practice—before they can master the concept of making inferences from a literary passage. Could they be grouped with a talented reading/arts instructor or team-taught by the classroom and ESL teacher? Consider everything that gets to the needs of the student beyond the question: ESL—Yes or No? Frame the discussion around a shared understanding that every adult is responsible for the success of every child. An effective ESL program model is never going to be one-size-fits-all.

It should always be a flexible, mixed model resulting in ESL students being taught by teachers with demonstrated excellence in teaching second-language learners. Further, an effective ESL program model is never static. ESL instructional groupings in September will look very different in January and again in June. Language develops at different rates in different individuals. The key is to stay the course on addressing students’ ever-evolving language focus, and not just on getting through a prescribed scope and sequence of language development skills. Yes, it’s a challenge to periodically juggle students, teachers, and groups; even the most strategically designed master schedule has limited flexibility. This is why, before selecting a successful ESL model, principals must include as many staff as possible in conversations about the needs of English-language learners and how to address them. Our experience in working with schools has

underscored the importance of schoolwide collaboration. When every person who has a stake in the academic performance of second-language students participates, then the efficient implementation of any program model improves. The message we learned from our experiences in developing effective ESL program models was this: The more of a schoolwide effort it becomes, the more successful it will be. And, thus, the answer to the difficult question, “Where do we go from here?” becomes, simply, “We all will go wherever the students need us to.” P Kelly Simpson Reider is an ESL specialist for Onslow County Schools in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Her e-mail address is [email protected] Susan Zimmerman-Orozco is assistant principal at Daly Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. Her e-mail address is [email protected]


Diverse Groups of Students is a Challenge Are you faced with teaching mathematics to increasingly diverse groups of students in your classroom? Learn how connecting real-life activities with mathematical concepts, and building on students’ knowledge and experiences, can help them excel in the classroom.These books provide: • Articles written by teachers • Instructional strategies • Classroom activities Visit www.nctm.org/catalog for more information or to place an order.


Principal n November/December 2009


Principal magazine 11-12/09 www.naesp.org

The National Elementary Honor Society

In the tradition of the National Honor Societies, the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) is a student recognition program designed to recognize outstanding elementary school students. The program focuses on grades 4, 5, and 6 and promotes Scholarship, Responsibility, Service, and Leadership. An NEHS chapter at your school: • Promotes a culture of achievement • Focuses on the whole child • Recognizes academic excellence • Engages and involves all students • Brings new networks and resources to your staff.

For an application to establish a chapter of NEHS at your school, visit www.nehs.org/newchapter or call 866-599-6347.

The National Elementary Honor Society is a program of NASSP in cooperation with NAESP. © 2009, NASSP. All rights reserved.


NAESP Partners With NSU to Offer

Diversity Certification


n collaboration with NAESP, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) has developed a Certification in Educational Leadership Diversity program, which prepares education leaders to work in culturally diverse populations and develop effective strategies and techniques for achieving organizational and team goals. To learn more about the significance of this program, Principal spoke with Delores M. Smiley, dean of Community Education and Diversity Affairs at NSU. Smiley served as the principal researcher and developer of the certification program, which officially launched this fall.

What is the purpose of the Certificate in Educational Leadership Diversity program? The purpose is to equip education leadership professionals with the tools to effectively work with faculty, staff, and students in identifying strategies to build a team that values individuals and empowers them to achieve at their highest capabilities. Through this cutting-edge and highly innovative program, leaders will better understand what is required for a learnercentered community that values and supports the achievement of all students. Subsequently, theoretical and practical strategies will be provided with the intent of increasing cultural competency in this world of change and in this age of information and knowledge economy.


Principal n November/December 2009

Why do you believe this certification program is important at this point in time? Diverse issues are becoming more openly prevalent in our workplace and in our communities. This compelling and significant demographic trend has shifted the minority/majority concept in our society today. The approach to this change requires new strategies and approaches if leaders are to maximize their effectiveness at the helm of their organizations. As change agents, they must focus on building and sustaining an inclusive learning community. Therefore, knowledge of the dynamics of self, social groups, identity development, dominant and subordinated group membership, internalized oppression, privilege projection, and other resistance processes all need to be understood and positive practices implemented. Moreover, I see this program as a tool that will improve professional practice and positive community building.

Who does it benefit and in what ways? Among the practitioners who will benefit from completing the Certificate in Educational Leadership Diversity are education leaders, diversity specialists, trainers, consultants, organizational development professionals, and human resource professionals. The certificate will provide participants with the necessary skills to understand and lead/manage diversity in the workplace as it relates to cultural knowledge (from awareness to globalism); sensitivity and communications; hiring, training, and promo-


tion tactics; and Equal Employment Opportunity. They will learn how to create a bias-free workplace, open lines of effective communication, and implement diversity training for organizations.

What will it mean for an individual to have this certification? First of all, they will be able to help their organizations close specific diversity-competence gaps and will know how to navigate the politics of diversity. Second, completion of this certificate will earn them distinction among their colleagues as they are able to expand their career opportunities. Third, credit earned for the Certificate in Educational Leadership Diversity may be transferred into the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Diversity Education or another master’s degree program at the NSU Fischler School of Education and Human Services. For more information about NSU’s diversity certification program, visit www.schoolofed.nova.edu/oceda. As a benefit to membership, NAESP members earn a 20 percent tuition reduction on coursework applied toward an advanced degree from NSU.


Principal n November/December 2009


Including Nontraditional Families


ontraditional family structures, especially those with one or more gay parents, are an overlooked segment of school populations. It is estimated that between 8 million and 10 million school-age children live with a gay parent. Regardless of individual political or social beliefs, it is important that these students and their parents feel welcomed, included, and safe in our schools. Not all principals are experienced or knowledgeable about working with gay parents. Here are five tips from an experienced elementary school principal who has conducted research; spoken at local, state, and national conferences; and written about school climate for gay students, families, and staff members. Review your school and district forms for inclusivity. Do school forms indicate “mother” and “father” or are they more inclusive? Review documents such as school handbooks and enrollment and emergency contact forms to make sure they are inclusive of gay parents and other nontraditional family structures. My school district revised its enrollment forms to indicate Parent 1 and Parent 2, which sends a positive message that we care about and respect all parents. Be knowledgeable and aware of your state, district, and school policies for harassment and name-calling. It is often in unsupervised areas where children with gay parents are teased, taunted, and harassed. These kinds of behaviors should be dealt with in the same way you respond to other types of harassment and name-calling. I know a principal who meets with every class in his school at the beginning of the school year to review school polices and expectations; he talks about anti-gay words and harassment in the same context as other unacceptable behaviors. Provide language to describe the variety of families in your school and community. When we use age-appropriate words such as two fathers, two mothers, and gay parents, we demystify the language and model appropriate behavior for others. It is important for children with gay parents to know that their principal and teachers know about their family and aren’t afraid to talk about them. One principal colleague acknowledged the variety of family structures, including same-sex parents, in her school during an open house. Consequently, a new family with two fathers approached her after the meeting to introduce themselves and to thank her for the acknowledgement. Welcome and include gay parents in the same way you welcome all parents into your school. Include them in classroom and school volunteering opportunities and in any way parents are invited to be a part of your school. I encouraged a family with two mothers to be visible at our school, volunteer in the classroom, and attend events as a family. Though they were hesitant at first, the more active they became, the more welcomed they felt—and we all benefited from their involvement. Consider including gay parents in units on families and addressing the accomplishments of gay individuals. This strategy provides other examples of gay families without putting pressure on one gay family to always have to educate others; we can all take part in that. An online search of gay parents or families can provide video and print resources that can be incorporated into classroom lessons and district curricula. One organization that has curricular and video resources is GroundSpark (www.groundspark.org). Also, the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools program provides resources for schools and families (www.hrc.org/ issues/parenting/7201.htm). A parent’s positive school experience can have a lasting effect on his or her child. If a gay parent feels welcomed and included, there will be more connection to the school, support for school at home, and advocacy for your school in the community, which will lead to a more positive experience for the parent and child. Mark French Principal Rice Lake Elementary School Maple Grove, Minnesota [email protected]


Principal ■ November/December 2009


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research report

Program Evaluation

Know-How Nancy Protheroe

Take a critical look at specific school programs and approaches by using these research-based strategies


n the assessment-driven environment of today’s schools, questions about effectiveness and impact on student learning often focus on the school as a whole. For example, is our school successful in helping all our students meet high standards? Or the focus may be somewhat narrower—how are we doing with math instruction? An often-missed piece is taking a critical look at specific programs and approaches. Program evaluation is a tool that can help do this. The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement (2006) explains that “In schools, program evaluation means examining initiatives the school has undertaken—whether the initiative is an approach to literacy instruction or a program to support struggling students—to answer the question, ‘Is what we are doing working?’” The important point is that principals should be constantly reviewing the ways in which resources—staff, time, and money—are used and should be asking: Is what we are doing having a positive impact on students? Is the effect a program is having worth the money or should we spend our resources another way? Program evaluation can help to answer a range of common-sense—but critically important— questions. For example, Are we seeing the results we anticipated? or What changes should we make, if any, to increase the program’s impact? (McREL, 2000). Howard (2004) steps back from the idea of evaluating a specific program and puts the approach in a broader context: “School improvement and data-driven decision making are two terms that


Principal n November/December 2009

all school leaders hear almost every day. Program evaluation brings together these two concepts by focusing data collection and analysis in an organized way in order to improve programs and, through improvement of these component programs, to improve schools.” While you might agree in theory with the idea that data should be collected to assess how well programs are working, you might also be thinking that you don’t have the time or skills needed for an evaluation. You are definitely not alone in that opinion. However, Herman and Winters (1992) suggest that educators’ experience as “progress trackers” who almost continuously gather data to help assess what is going on in classrooms prepares them well for program evaluation. They continue: “Much of this progress tracking, whether at the classroom or program level, addresses two simple questions: How are we doing? How can we improve?” McNamara (1998) agrees that educators have the skills and ability to conduct evaluations since they “do not have to be experts in these topics to carry out a useful program evaluation.” McNamara www.naesp.org

Jonas Sickler Illustrations/Images.com

Principal n November/December 2009


goes on to say that “The ‘20-80’ rule applies here, that 20% of effort generates 80% of the needed results. It’s better to do what might turn out to be an average effort at evaluation than to do no evaluation at all.” In addition, “many evaluation techniques are easy to execute; can make use of data that are already being gathered; and can be performed on a scale that is practical for teachers, principals, and other school leaders” (Center for Comprehensive School Reform, 2006). The challenge, then, is to conduct an evaluation that yields useful data—while not diverting undue amounts of staff time from teaching and other important responsibilities. Distilling the evaluation process to three critical questions can help to organize the process: What are we looking for? How will we look for it? n How will we use the data? n n

What to Look for Words that are familiar to educators—formative and summative—from the perspective of assessing student learning are also relevant to program evaluation (Frechtling, 2002). A formative evaluation of a program might ask whether the program or approach is being done as it is intended to be. Howard (2004) calls this “taking stock,” with some questions that might be asked such as: Are there variations across classrooms? Do particular components seem to strengthen the overall program? In contrast, a summative evaluation uses your school’s reasons for deciding to use the program—the objectives—as a measure against which its success is measured. For example, have students who participated in our after-school tutoring program made the desired progress? Although many formal program evaluations might be summative in nature, formative evaluations are likely to be most helpful to your school’s improvement efforts. There is a common sense reason for this. Periodic reviews of how


Principal n November/December 2009

things are going can help you ensure that programs, use of specific teaching strategies, etc., are headed in the right direction.

How to Look for It The “how” should begin with developing a thorough plan of action. As part of the planning process, you will need to: Establish due dates and timelines. Planning too tightly almost guarantees that there will be slippage, and the project overall may suffer. Identify resources that will be needed. Staff time and expertise are two specific resources that should be discussed in detail. Identify the components of the evaluation and assign responsibilities. The important concern at this stage is to think concretely—and in as detailed a manner as possible—about what will need to be done. One important piece of advice: Keep the plan as simple as possible, especially for your first program evaluation. Remember that everyone working on the evaluation has other, more pressing responsibilities, and that the evaluation will need to mesh with the normal flow of school work.

How to Use the Data Using the data is a must-do step of any evaluation. Otherwise, the resources used to support it would have been better spent elsewhere (Sanders & Sullins, 2006). Data use has two components: analyzing it in order to glean lessons from it—what Killion (2002) calls “meaning-making”—and then using these lessons to support

decision-making. McNamara (1998) suggests that this meaning-making is often easier if you go back to the goals of your evaluation: “This will help you organize your data and focus your analysis. For example, if you wanted to improve your program by identifying its strengths and weaknesses, you can organize data into program strengths, weaknesses and suggestions to improve the program.” Here are additional tips that can help you and the other staff members analyze the data that have been collected:  sk: Do these results make sense? A How can they help in decisionmaking about the program? n Don’t assume the program is the only source of outcomes (positive or negative). n Don’t rush this step of the evaluation process; the first fact discovered may not be the most important one (Cicchinelli & Barley, 1999; W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 1998). n

Once the three key questions have been identified, staff members working on the evaluation can focus on deciding which data will be needed to answer them. In Champion’s (2002) view, “No single data source can measure everything ... A good evaluation includes several kinds of data that measure the same thing from different angles.” However, trying to draw from too many data sources may prove confusing. The goal is to develop an evaluation plan that balances the need for information with ease and cost of data collection. To do this, you should decide what information is critical to answering the question. You can also find that some of the relevant data might be difficult or costly (in terms of time and money) to collect. If so, circle back to your questions and ask whether different ones—those that could be addressed more economically—would still provide you with a productive evaluation. Data such as test scores or attendance records will typically form part www.naesp.org

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of the evaluation’s data base. However, descriptions of how the program functions or the feelings and attitudes of those involved with the program also can be useful data to collect. Data of this sort can provide context and might help to explain, for example, why the program isn’t working as well as expected. Such qualitative information can be collected through surveys, interviews, or observations. A primary use of program evaluation data should be to inform decisionmaking about school programs. Depending on the purpose of the evaluation, school staff need to consider the following. Does the program do what it is supposed to do? What program improvements do the findings suggest? For example, does it look as though the approach is not being implemented as designed? If you decide to keep the current program, perhaps with modifications, the findings might suggest some ways to improve the program’s

“Keep the plan as simple as possible, especially for your first program evaluation.”

effectiveness. Finally, if the evaluation provides solid data that a program isn’t working—and likely will not work— what does the evaluation tell us about what to look for in a replacement program or approach?

people; integrating data collection into existing procedures as much as possible; and making it clear that some important questions can be addressed quite easily. Finally, Champion (2004) stresses that it is important that your initial efforts to conduct more systematic reviews of your school’s programs be of high quality— even if that means they are fairly limited in scope: “Think big, but take some small, carefully considered steps. Start with a conversation with your colleagues about what would be most useful to know with some certainty ... You don’t need to do everything at once.” P

The Principal’s Pivotal Role

Nancy Protheroe is director of special research projects at the Educational Research Service. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

In Howard’s (2004) view, principals can be pivotal in creating “evaluationfriendly” environments in their schools by helping staff understand that the intent is to evaluate programs, not

Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. (2006). Program evaluation for the practitioner: Using evaluation as a school improvement strategy.

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Washington, DC: Author. Champion, R. (2002, Summer). Choose the right data for the job: A good evaluation measures the same thing from different angles. Journal of Staff Development. Retrieved online from www.nsdc.org/ news/jsd/champion233.cfm Champion, R. (2004, Summer). Taking measure: Frequently asked questions from the evaluator’s mailbox. Journal of Staff Development. Retrieved online from www.nsdc.org/news/jsd/champion253. cfm Cicchinelli, L., & Barley, Z. (1999). Evaluating for success: Comprehensive school reform: An evaluation guide for districts and schools. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Frechtling, J. (2002). The 2002 userfriendly handbook for project evaluation. Washington, DC: The National Science Foundation. Herman, J. L., & Winters, L. (1992). Tracking your school’s success: A guide to sensible evaluation. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press. Howard, L. (2004). Essentials for principals: Effective program evaluation. Alexandria, VA: National Association of Elementary School Principals and Educational Research Service. Killion, J. (2002). Assessing impact: Evaluating staff development. Oxford, OH: National

Staff Development Council. McNamara, C. (1998). Basic guide to program evaluation. Retrieved online at http:// www.managementhelp.org/evaluatn/ fnl_eval.htm Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). (2000). Evaluation. Aurora, CO: Author. Sanders, J. R., & Sullins, C. D. (2006). Evaluating school programs: An evaluator’s guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (1998). W. K. Kellogg Foundation evaluation handbook. Battle Creek, MI: Author.

W E B R E SOU R C E S Evaluating for Success was originally developed by McREL to help support schools’ implementation of Comprehensive School Reform programs. However, its clear description of the evaluation process can be applied to any evaluation project. www.mcrel.org/topics/products/76 The 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Program Evaluation is posted on the Web site of the National Science Foundation. In one chapter, the authors briefly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of approaches to data collection such as surveys and focus groups. www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf02057/ start.htm The New York State Teacher Resource Centers host a Web site to assist educators to “plan, implement, and communicate evaluation activities.” Included are tools such as an evaluation planner spreadsheet, designed to help support the development of an evaluation. www.programevaluation.org

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Principal n November/December 2009


You Can’t Do It All! A Sensible Way to Distribute School Leadership Roles Jane Kise and Beth Russell

Use personality type to discover and enhance your leadership style.


hich sounds like more fun to you: spending an afternoon reviewing student assessment data to inform instruction or meeting with student groups to hear their ideas about improving school climate? What about finalizing procedures for teacher observations versus completing a multiyear plan for professional development? Although you are able to do all of these tasks, some probably come more naturally to you—and fit better with your natural strengths.

As the demands on school leaders expand, it’s becoming more and more important to lead from your strengths. Our review of literature on essential school leadership responsibilities led us to write Differentiated School Leadership: Effective Collaboration, Communication and Change Through Personality Type, which revealed 26 separate roles for school principals that have an impact on student achievement. If you try to fill all 26 roles by yourself, you: are headed straight for burnout, will probably struggle with some roles that simply do not suit you, and will rob others of the chance to add their strengths and ideas to school leadership. In The Learning Leader: How to Focus School Improvement for Better Results, Douglas B. Reeves summarizes: “Great leaders are not mythological composites of every dimension of leadership. Instead they have self-confidence, and without hubris they acknowledge their deficiencies and fill their subordinate ranks not with lackeys but with exceptional leaders who bring complementary strengths to the organization.” But how do you distribute leadership responsibly when you are ultimately responsible for what


Principal n November/December 2009

happens in your building? For decades, people have used personality type theory to make the most of their natural style and build effective teams. This theory can help you move from the old Lone Ranger mentality to sharing leadership in an effective, efficient way. The theory also helps to explain why literature on school leadership emphasizes some critical roles over others. As we’ll describe below, people with certain personality preferences are more likely to seek leadership positions and this colors what is seen as the way to lead. Those whose personalities are different may feel like outsiders at best, inadequate at worst.

Personality Type 101 Type theory comes from the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and American Katherine Briggs, who independently charted the same framework of human development and interactions. Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers, created the MyersBriggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to help people make constructive use of natural, normal differences. The theory describes how people: www.naesp.org

 ain energy, through action and G interaction (extraversion) or through reflection and time alone (introversion); n Take in information, through reality and experiences (sensing) or through hunches and connections (intuition); n Make decisions, through logic and objectivity (thinking) or through values and considering the impact on people (feeling); and n Approach life, through planning and coming to closure (judging) or through flexibility and staying open (perceiving). n

All of these indicators influence how we lead, how we teach, and how we learn. Most people find that they perform at their best when tasks fit their personalities. School leaders can learn to perform all 26 of the essential principal roles, but some are energizing while others are of limited interest. In the opening example, reviewing assessment data fits the strengths of the thinking function—making decisions based on logic and objective criteria. In contrast, building relationships with students fits the strengths of the feeling function— making decisions by stepping into the shoes of those who will be affected and considering community values. Given that the Center for Applications of Psychological Type’s Atlas of Type Tables reveals that 80 percent of school principals—and an even higher percentage of superintendents—prefer thinking, is it any wonder that one reads more about using assessment data than qualitative data to guide decisions in books and research on school leadership? Beth, a principal, prefers feeling and considering impact on people—and knows that working with assessment data isn’t her strength. She shared responsibility for this role in several ways. She scheduled data retreats for grade-level teams. She asked district personnel to lead the retreats, knowing that they could help teachers look at data in ways that would motivate, inform, and David Muir/Getty Images

Principal n November/December 2009


assist them in their work. She also asked the assistant principal and Jane, an education consultant, to join her at the meetings to help the teachers set goals based on the data. Because the staff now understand personality type, they don’t expect Beth to be a master at every role. They know they’ll need to dig into the data themselves. Further, the personality type framework can help principals understand what isn’t being addressed at their schools. In working with leadership teams at other schools, we often make a poster of all 26 leadership roles. Each team member is given five green stickers to place by the five roles that they would prefer to spend the majority of their time pursuing and five red stickers for the five roles that appeal the least to them. In every building, the roles covered in red stickers simply aren’t being done. In one school, the exercise explained why on any given day, 50 percent to 60 percent of students weren’t

interactive and Reflective Leadership Roles

following the school uniform policy— no one was taking on the essential roles of establishing procedures and managing administrative processes, and the students knew it! As you read the more detailed descriptions of the type preferences and the principal roles that fit each preference, think about what you prefer to do. How, by asking others to take on other roles, could you be a more effective leader? If you don’t yet have a leadership team, consider who might bring complementary strengths to such a group.

Think about the paradoxical nature of what you’re called to do as a principal—be visible, advocate for the school, and gather input from multiple sources. If you prefer extraversion, you probably thrive on what we termed the interactive leader roles. You enjoy being out and about in your building, thinking best when you can interact with others. Too much time on paperwork can be draining for extraverted principals. However, there are also reflective leader roles—pulling back before making decisions and reflecting to learn from past positive and negative results. If you prefer introversion, the reflective leader roles put you at your best. Ideally, you have the time to step back and ponder information and ideas before sharing your thoughts. Too many interruptions and meetings can be draining for introverted principals. Which role describes how you are

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Principal n November/December 2009


energized? That self-knowledge can help you plan your days in ways that keep your demanding job from completely draining you. Then, consider how a leadership team might help you balance the interactive and reflective principal roles. Introverted team members might help an extraverted principal set aside staff time for reflection on progress toward school goals. Extraverted team members might help an introverted principal stay aware of the pulse of the school—what students are saying, what is happening in the hallways, how the community reacts to news about the school, and so on.

What information Captures your attention? The second pair of preferences, sensing and intuition, describe the information that first draws our attention. Think about all of the day-to-day managerial tasks demanded of you, what we call the administrative leader roles.


Those with a preference for sensing first pay attention to information the five senses can gather. They’re good at details, learning from experience, and putting structures into place. Therefore, roles such as maintaining school focus and monitoring strategy implementation play to their strengths. The visionary leader roles, such as acting as a change agent and optimizer, call on very different strengths. They naturally appeal to intuitive types who prefer to focus on the big picture, the future, and working to change rather than maintain the status quo. Beth prefers intuition. Her staff jokes that she returns from each conference she attends with a dozen new ideas for teachers to implement. She asks other members of her leadership team to take on the sensing role to evaluate whether a new idea fits with the school focus and, if so, help Beth plan the who, what, where, and how of training, implementation, and follow-through.

How Do you Make Decisions? An individual’s preference for thinking or feeling influences his or her decision-making style. While all principals need to be instructional leaders, thinking principals often naturally gravitate toward gaining extensive knowledge of curriculum and instruction, aligning curriculum and standards, and using data, assessment and testing effectively—the systemic instructional leader roles. Feeling principals are better described as community instructional leaders, emphasizing building teams and community, focusing on qualitative information such as student motivation or engagement, and recognizing accomplishments of both students and staff. Again, with more than 80 percent of principals preferring thinking, the thinking roles seem to be overemphasized in the literature on effective principalship roles. There is nothing wishy-washy about the feeling approach to instructional

Principal n November/December 2009


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Principal n November/December 2009

leadership. Both styles focus on what is needed so that all students can learn. While thinking leaders focus on objective data, feeling leaders focus on the bottom line of whether students are learning—both sets of roles have a direct impact on student achievement. Further, Jane is often hired by principals whose staffs just “aren’t getting the message,” or so the principal thinks. In nearly every case, the principal’s personality type is opposite the majority of the staff’s. This isn’t surprising because, according to the Atlas of Type Tables, 70 percent of principals prefer thinking and judging, for example, while only 27 percent of teachers do. If you prefer thinking, your leadership team can help you think through possible courses of action in terms of how individuals on your staff may react. At one school where Jane consulted, the thinking principal missed several primary grade team meetings because she believed the staff was competent enough to work on their own. Most of the team members preferred feeling. When Jane interviewed them, she discovered that the team interpreted the principal’s absence as disinterest. “She doesn’t think it takes talent to teach 6- and 7-year-olds,” they said. The principal quickly increased her visibility and worked to correct the misunderstanding.

How Do you approach Planning and implementation? To what extent do you enjoy planning, whether for short-term or longterm goals? Those who prefer judging approach life through planning, emphasizing closure. Judging principals often thrive on establishing goals and maintaining school focus. The Atlas of Type Tables indicates that more than 85 percent of school principals prefer judging. As a school leader, you need to engage the planning role to set concrete goals that bring about major change. However, other responsibilities, such as monitoring progress and evaluating data, point to a need to stay open to new information and make midstream corrections no matter what the

school improvement plan calls for. The perceiving preference for approaching life spontaneously, emphasizing staying open to more information, adds key flexible leader roles. Whatever your preference, partnering with your opposite makes it easier to make sure the best of both preferences informs your school. Set the plan and get on with implementing while monitoring to see if student achievement improves; if not, modify. You can use personality type as a model to pinpoint your strengths and blind spots. All types can be great school leaders. Successful leaders, however, use knowledge of their personality types to continue to grow and develop even as they seek to partner with others who have complementary strengths so that all leadership roles are adequately covered. P Jane Kise is an education consultant and principal of Differentiated Coaching Associates LLC. Her e-mail address is [email protected] Beth Russell is principal of Southview Middle School in Edina, Minnesota. Her e-mail address is [email protected] mn.us.

W EB RESOU RC ES Personality Pathways offers a variety of articles about personality types and their applications. www.personalitypathways.com This Web site about psychological type is based primarily upon the works of Carl G. Jung, pioneer psychologist, and of Isabel Briggs Myers, creator of the Myers-Briggs Type. www.personalitypage.com


M a r i a F. C l e a r y

Proceed With Caution Toward Change I

began my first principalship with anticipation and excitement, armed with the wisdom of my educational leadership courses and the insights born of classroom experience. Despite all my preparation, it was still a year replete with surprising lessons that I won’t forget. My most daunting challenges came in the area of change-making. I replaced a 20-year veteran principal who had a long tradition of, well, traditions. Thus, my first challenge was to update the school. The facilities, curriculum, and teaching methodologies, while sound, were starting to show their wear, and enrollment at the school had been in a steady decline for almost a decade. However, I remembered the caveat that I had heard many times over: Make no changes in your first year; just observe. But despite this sound advice, I found myself facing circumstances that seemed to warrant immediate attention. I weighed my options: Should I leave things alone and risk further decline in enrollment, or should I defy the accepted wisdom and change something. And if so, what should I change first? To Change or Not To Change

To answer these questions, I took a look at the whole picture from the outside in and the inside out. We were perceived from the outside as a school that faced possible closure if the current downward spiral of enrollment continued. We had lost one-third of our student body in the four years prior to my arrival, and there were no signs that this trend would shift. To stem this tide, we had to show that the school was willing to make substantive changes to attract new students. From the inside, confidence about the future was slipping. Although the faculty felt justifiably proud of the school’s long-held reputation for academic excellence, both the enrollment drop and the closures of other undersubscribed schools in our geographic www.naesp.org

area made them feel insecure. Parents of current students were also concerned since they were anxious about having to find alternatives for their children in case the school closed. Weighing these factors, it seemed clear to me that there was an imminent threat to the school’s future and that was a condition serious enough to warrant change. Given our situation, I decided to take the plunge and change one thing. Pick Something SAFE

First-year principals can successfully introduce the concept of change by keeping in mind the guidelines for a SAFE project: nS  tands

alone—it isn’t personally connected with any of the school’s constituency. nA  ll are aboard—there is consensus that this project should be targeted.

Practitioner’s Corner

nF  inances—the

budget will support the project. nE  fficient—parameters are welldefined, turnaround is quick, and results are observable. Choosing a target area was difficult for me. It was important to avoid anything that touched upon teacher performance in the classroom. Sensitivities were so high that even small suggestions about updating resource materials or altering teaching strategies would have been perceived as criticism. Teachers might easily make the leap and assume that I was blaming the enrollment drop on them. Changes to the facility would have been helpful since much of the plant needed significant updating, but with budget constraints, this did not seem to be a practical goal for the first year. I also knew that I couldn’t choose an extensive project because I had limited time to complete it. I wanted to take on something that could be done quickly, even during my first few months, and that would have an immediate impact. Ideally, the change would be a sign of more good things to come. Luckily, there was a project that presented real possibilities in all these areas—our Web site. Simply put, it was an anachronism. This was not a result of anything but inattention since the site had been designed many years prior to my arrival and was rarely used. It looked like a prime candidate for my first change. As a tool for growth, the Web site held enormous potential. It could present a renewed image of the school to prospective families while updating our entire approach to communications. It could serve the dual purpose of being a marketing tool and change agent. And those benefits would present themselves almost immediately. However, despite it being a manageable project in terms of budget and time, it was most important to consider: Would altering it insult the efforts of those who had created it in the past? Was anyone’s identity tied to what was currently posted? Would changing it Principal n November/December 2009


result in extra work for any of our current employees? If so, would that cause resentment? Fortunately, there was unanimous agreement in the school community that the site needed to be updated, and my supervisor was on board with anything reasonable—and inexpensive— that would add to the school’s visibility and marketability. With buy-in from all stakeholders, I was off to a good start. Next, I met with parents who had offered to assist with the site’s design. Fortunately, I brought some expertise to the process because of my educational media background. This proved to be a real asset since I was a credible leader for the project. I listened carefully to all the ideas that were presented and tossed some of my own into the mix. The Web site overhaul was a huge success. Parents welcomed the new, easily navigable format and the wealth of information about the school’s programs and activities. Students enjoyed

seeing pictures of their projects and the events in which they participated. Teachers were initially hesitant about the extra workload of posting class material, but enjoyed the easy access to essential information. Faculty and families alike appreciated e-mail as a simple and practical mode of communication. Prospective families almost universally made the Web site their first stop in school shopping. From a marketing and public relations perspective, the school’s enhanced Web profile brought numerous new inquiries about enrollment possibilities. The site provided all the essentials with the added benefit of pictures, video, and links to current news. First-Year Success

A wizened professor once opined that you make changes in schools like you make changes in a cemetery—one body at a time. While we might attribute this perspective to the cynicism of an older

veteran, one must admit that many educational institutions seem to move at the rate of tectonic plates. Yet a first-year principal can ill afford to expend the necessary energy to fight this reality. It may, in fact, be the best choice to make no changes in the first year of your tenure. If, however, your institution is faced with the prospect of imminent failure, continuing precipitous decline or negative public sentiment, you may want to pick one SAFE area to target for change. Choosing such a project can yield positive results for both you and your school. For you as a principal, it can position you as a forward-thinking leader; for your school, it can send the message that you recognize the need for growth, and you’ve taken a step in that direction. P Maria F. Cleary is principal of Assumption Academy in Emerson, New Jersey. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

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Principal n November/December 2009



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P r i n c i pa l’ s B o o k s h e l f

Why Don’t Students Like School? Daniel T. Willingham. Jossey-Bass, 2009, 180 pages.


ducation makes better minds, and knowledge of the mind can make better education,” writes author Daniel Willingham in Why Don’t Students Like School? In this book, Willingham uses a question format for each chapter as he provides nine cognitive principles and classroom applications that teachers can use in their everyday planning and teaching. Resonating throughout the book is the idea that mental work appeals to both students and adults because it offers opportunities for that “pleasant feeling” when it succeeds. However, when work is overwhelming, we often check out, avoid, and give up. What seems most applicable to teaching and learning is a discussion about the four factors necessary for successful thinking—information from the

The Principal’s Guide to Managing School Personnel. Richard D. Sorenson and Lloyd M. Goldsmith. Corwin Press, 2009, 177 pages.


he principal that is committed to effective communication will be able to offer personnel recognition, praise, and professional regard, while establishing organizational expectations and developing a campus culture that benefits the entire learning community. The Principal’s Guide to Managing School Personnel is a book that I would have benefited from having in my collection years ago. Many of the concepts presented in each chapter, as well as the scenarios, could be related back to experiences that I have had in my principalship. As the title suggests, this book is a guide, a reference source. Each chapter could stand independently, so as situations arise, one could use this source to refresh protocols and offer suggestions on how best to proceed. The authors recommend that school leaders, “Consider every principal-personnel situawww.naesp.org

environment, facts in long-term memory, procedures in long-term memory, and the amount of space in working memory. Also, data studies about teacher traits most important to students show that students connect personally with teachers they perceive as “nice” and “organized.” A chapter that focuses on lesson planning stresses the power of stories. Practical ideas for social studies, science, and math lessons are offered to help readers understand story structure for each specific subject. Another chapter on intelligence shares the view that intelligence can be improved and it is

important to convince students of this idea. Ideas are provided for classroom implementation. Although the book is mainly about students and their learning, there is a specific chapter about teacher learning. Teachers who consciously want to improve are offered steps to follow to pursue this endeavor. At the conclusion of the book, a reminder is given to know our students in order to keep them interested and anticipate their reactions in classroom learning. The title of the book is what invited me to read it. Although a little dry and difficult to read, this would be a perfect book for a Teachers as Readers book group to analyze each chapter, use the practical ideas in the classroom, and then reflect and discuss.

tion to be a learning opportunity that opens the door to increased professional growth and leadership skill development.” The book is divided into eight chapters in which each one is devoted to a single topic critical to effective personnel relationships. The authors use existing research from a variety of sources to define concepts and illustrate potential techniques to facilitate positive interactions with personnel and to navigate through trying situations. Each chapter contains scenarios to consider and reflective questions. Chapter 5, “Personnel and Conflict Resolution,” stands out for me. The authors take a positive approach to

handling personnel in conflict with one another or with the administration. As the authors state: “Problems are opportunities for teaching. If you really want to have a lasting impact on your students, your faculty, and your community, handle conflict in a way that builds understanding and teaches others to do the same.” As I read this book, I found myself frequently relating the scenarios and concepts to situations that I had experienced. I am already quoting and describing points illustrated in this book to others with whom I work. I recommend this book, for it reaffirmed techniques that I already knew and has encouraged me to examine alternative methods of interaction with personnel. It is a useful resource for school administrators and I will be keeping it readily available as a resource in my daily interactions with others.

Reviewed by Lisa Hannah, Principal, Three Oaks Elementary School, Virginia Beach, Virginia, [email protected] vbschools.com.

Reviewed by Jon Stern, Principal, Wabasha-Kellogg Elementary and High School, Wabasha, Minnesota, [email protected] Principal n November/December 2009



k. jane cline and kelli dufresne

Remaining Focused During a Budget Crisis L

ast year, I had to face a new challenge: the economic dilemma facing our schools. The impact of our national, state, and local economic outlook on our students was foremost on my mind because our school system was openly discussing repercussions such as school closings, teacher layoffs, and program cuts. My concern was maintaining an academic focus and continuing to do what was best for students during an economically stressful period. I wanted to maintain a positive attitude within the schools, with teachers, and with parents and the community. At the beginning of my administrative career, I faced a similar issue when I initially sought to garner support from the school community. I had to learn how to share my vision for the school, bring everyone together as a team, and establish strong relationships, all while increasing students’ academic performance. Both challenges helped me develop the perspective that establishing open lines of communication between the principal, teachers, staff, and community members helps everyone focus on doing what is best for our students. Because establishing rapport with the school community is important, I developed budget-savvy committees and groups to help others understand how to tighten our in-house budget such as by cutting down on photocopying and energy use. My school created a letter-writing campaign to legislators and local newspapers in an effort to spread the word about saving our schools and the impact on students. Everyone was working as a team to increase awareness of the economic impact on our schools. I recently thought about this issue while guiding my protégé through a successful first year as a principal. My protégé had to face these challenges while establishing herself as an instructional leader to her school and community. By using knowledge and training gained from my participation as a mentor in NAESP’s Mentor Program, I was able to encourage her to reflect on the following areas: nH  ow

can I create an atmosphere that is positive and focused on students? nH  ow can I create an environment of listening and information sharing? nW  hich budget line items can be cut that would have the least impact on student achievement? nH  ow can I empower the community to stand behind the school? —K. Jane Cline


Principal n November/December 2009


began my first year as an elementary school principal with much excitement, enthusiasm, and anticipation. I quickly learned the true definition of the word TEAM—together everyone achieves more—as I began to count on teacher leaders to assist with many schoolwide initiatives. One of our challenges was to find the most effective way to do more with less. In collaboration with my mentor, I developed interest groups to assist with reviewing the budget to determine methods for cutting back without taking away from students. For example, classroom teachers made a commitment to help decrease the amount of money spent on substitute teachers. Teachers pledged to be conservative and limit absences; when needed, coverage would be provided by administrators or nonclassroom teachers such as the guidance counselor or inclusion teacher. We also began to look at different ways to save paper costs by communicating with parents electronically and including additional parent-teacher information on the school’s Web site. Though we continued to face challenging economic times, and the district was considering closing the school because of low enrollment, I followed my mentor’s lead by remaining positive in all interactions and correspondence with students, parents, faculty, and community members. I didn’t want to lose sight of our students or instructional momentum. We all made a conscious effort to put our best foot forward and focused on our students’ needs. As a team, we continued to set high expectations, focus on student achievement, and grow as professionals through trainings, learning communities, and book studies. I made a concerted effort to provide my staff members and stakeholders with timely district information and news articles about the budget. My door was always open and I maintained visibility in the mornings and afternoons for parents if they had questions or concerns. I empowered the school advisory council, parent teacher organization, teacher leaders, and community business leaders to assist Heidi Taillefer/Corbis

in providing accurate budget information to others. Community members and business organizations assisted by providing school materials and supplies for teachers, students, volunteers, and mentors. This process helped me to gain knowledge that will continue to benefit me as I grow as a principal and leader. —Kelli Dufresne

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K. Jane Cline is principal of Fairglen Elementary School in Cocoa, Florida. Her e-mail address is [email protected] brevardschools.org. Kelli Dufresne is principal of Cape View Elementary School in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Her e-mail address is [email protected] brevardschools.org.

K. Jane Cline and Kelli Dufresne are mentor and protégé in the NAESP Mentor Program, where experienced school leaders mentor new and aspiring principals. For more information, visit www.naesp.org.

• Thought-Leading Books and DVDs • Capacity-Building Certification Trainings • On-Demand Tools and Resources Strategically developed by Principals for Principals, this institute can help you build stronger, more cohesive and collaborative teams, develop leaders, and analyze and use data more effectively to prioritize and achieve objectives outlined in your school improvement plans.

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Principal (ISSN 0271-6062) (Act of August 12, 1970; Section 3685, Title 39 United State Code.) Date of filing: 5 September 2009. Frequency of issue, 5 issues per year. Annual subscription price $215 with membership. Publication and general business offices, 1615 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 223143483. Editor, Deborah Bongiorno. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders, none. The purpose, function, and non-profit status of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and its exempt status for federal income tax purposes have not changed during the preceding 12 months. During the preceding 12 months, the average number of copies printed for each issue was 28,079; the average number of copies distributed, 26,644. The figures for September/October 2009: 25,645 copies printed; 23,685 total paid circulation; 515 copies for free distribution; total number of copies distributed, 24,200.

Principal n November/December 2009


The Reflective Principal

bridget chapin

In Our Students’ Shoes A

ll educators should be learning something that is difficult. For many of us who grew up thinking the arts were only for those who had talent, learning to draw, dance, or play an instrument can provide a challenge. Most students only pursue arts training if they are thought to have talent, which is a natural interest in something coupled with an unlearned facility in it. Everyone can develop some level of expertise in the arts; for those of us without innate talent, art or music lessons can be a challenge similar to those faced by children learning reading or math. Imagine if we only taught reading or math to students who demonstrated talent in those areas! Violin lessons have provided me with valuable insights into the struggles students face and how educators can help children learn.

Principal vs. Violin

After my appointment as principal of an arts-focused school, I was challenged by our strings teacher to join the third graders in beginning strings instruction. She provided a violin and I tried to attend class weekly. The children loved it; and my designated buddy made sure I kept up with practice even if my principal duties made me miss a class. After the children helped me through fourth- and fifth-grade violin class, I was hooked and decided to begin private violin lessons. I will never forget sitting in the studio’s waiting room for my first lesson. The teacher came out, looked around the room, and asked a little girl if her name was Bridget. I said, “I’m Bridget,” and we began our journey together. At first, I rarely played a measure without being asked to stop so that some techniques could be corrected. During that first summer, I never made it through one whole song without interruption. It seemed to me that nothing I was doing was working the way it should. My teacher tried to explain how to hold the violin and bow correctly, to understand the relationship between the angle of the violin and the angle of the bow and, most of all, to be relaxed while paying attention to all these details. I was feeling pretty discouraged until she uncovered my learning style. I needed hand-over-hand, kinesthetic practice to understand what I needed to do. This was the key and we have used the technique weekly with success. Whenever I just can’t do what my teacher tells me to do, she makes me relax—no


Principal n November/December 2009

small feat—and she takes control. By working through the motor patterns under her control, I am able to successfully take over on my own. So what have I learned by taking up this seductively difficult instrument as a 50-something-year-old principal?

“Educators should be learners—not only for acquiring new knowledge, but for the experience gained from learning something difficult.” You are never too old to try and children appreciate witnessing your effort. Sometimes, trying is hard and risky and might be embarrassing. We need to be tuned in to our students to support them when they are taking risks. It is helpful for children to see an adult learning something hard and not being instantly good at it. Usually, adults can easily do what we are trying to teach children to do; it helps kids to see that hard work can result in improvement. Having a good teacher who can analyze and suggest solutions is a precious gift to a learner. A good teacher spends much time figuring out how each student learns best and uses that knowledge at every opportunity to keep the student going. Good teachers are problem-

solvers who never give up on anyone. All students need opportunities to see how much they have learned and improved. Playing pieces that were hard a few months ago is a good way to see improvement. Never give up on the basics. Scales may be boring, but they allow your mind to focus on small parts of technique that you can’t focus on when you are playing something more complicated. Students should review easy material to build confidence and fluency. All students can improve if they are challenged. I always thought I had a good ear for relative pitch and harmony. I have learned that it isn’t as good as I thought, but that it is improving slowly with practice. Old habits are hard to break—and new ones take concentration to establish. Children need time to relax their brains from all this hard work. Activity and recess are crucial. Having a goal can be motivating. Knowing I have to play in a concert can inspire me to endure tedious practice. Knowing that learning will be shared with others is motivating for students, too. Praise is only valuable when it is genuine and it needs to be specific so the learner knows exactly what was done correctly. Criticism definitely needs to be balanced with specific praise—otherwise the learner can become disheartened and frustrated. Sometimes even principals have to give someone else control to learn something. As a leader, we must be open to learning from others, including children. Educators should be learners—not only for acquiring new knowledge, but for the experience gained from learning something difficult. The arts can provide a challenging learning experience as well as valuable insights—and maybe something to help us relax! P Bridget Chapin is principal of the Woodburn School for the Fine & Communicative Arts in Falls Church, Virginia. Her e-mail address is bridget. [email protected] www.naesp.org

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Ten to Teen

j ay z a s l a w

A Restorative Approach to Resolving Conflict T

oday, our schools reflect the state of the 21st century. Facing crises such as world terrorism and a collapsing international economy, many schools have adopted disciplinary policies such as zero tolerance. Research has shown that reactive approaches such as zero tolerance, including out-of-school suspension and expulsion, have limited effect and tend to hurt the student by labeling him or her; create idol time, which can create an atmosphere conducive to at-risk or illegal behaviors; and contribute to the student falling further behind academically. Zero tolerance policies are problematic and, according to the American Bar Association’s “Final Report: Bi-Partisan Working Group on Youth Violence,” they have overshot their original purpose “as a congressional response to students with guns.” Instead, zero tolerance has “become a one-size-fitsall solution to all the problems that schools confront. It has redefined students as criminals, with unfortunate consequences.” School suspensions and expulsions result in a number of negative outcomes for both schools and students. Students see out-of-school suspension as a vacation. If they realize that nothing will be done at home, they will continue to try to get suspended. Restorative dispute resolution (RDR) offers an alternative to suspension and expulsion by addressing the victims of misbehavior and repairing the harm caused to them and to the school community. RDR fosters a sense of community within the school and neighborhood through the development of listening, mutual respect, and fairness.

Restorative Accountability

A more useful way of dealing with conflict is the use of restorative practices, which have been used effectively for years in the juvenile justice arena. Instead of zero tolerance and authoritarian punishment, restorative practices provide high levels of control and support, which encourage appropriate behavior, and places the responsibility


Principal n November/December 2009

“RDR allows students to not only make the victim ‘whole,’ but to make amends to the school as well.”

for resolution on students themselves. RDR is designed to repair the harm to the victim and school, protect the school community, and build peer and intergenerational relationships through mutual respect and fairness. This is accomplished by using cognitivebehavioral processes (role-playing, discussion, feedback, demonstration, activities) among the stakeholders. They include the offending student, his or her parents or support group, the victim, his or her parents or support group, and a trained facilitator. The group members negotiate a settlement that addresses the harm to the victim and school community, resulting in a written contract that spells out the responsibilities of each participant. The contract must also satisfy the school administration and address legal concerns. Through this process, participants learn about each other and develop empathy by exercising respect, cooperation, and understanding.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the offending student to repair the harm for the incident. It requires that every effort be made to restore losses to the victim and school. Offending students can participate in community restoration projects, mentor or tutor other students, organize community activities such as clean-up projects on school grounds, or participate on advisory boards. Parents and support groups are an important part of this process; their participation is a key to its success. They can give back to the school communities and neighborhoods by participating, providing feedback on the process, advocating for the school community, mentoring and tutoring students, and becoming facilitators and serving on advisory boards. Successful Restorative Programs

The numbers tell a powerful story: Schools implementing restorative methods have seen a drop in disciplinary problems, decreased reliance on detention and suspension, and an improvement in student attitudes. A pilot project was implemented at Pattengill Middle School in Lansing, Michigan, in January 2005 to manage disciplinary issues through restorative practices. As a result: nT  here

was a 15 percent drop in suspensions, while suspension rates at the district’s other middle schools increased; nT  wo expulsions were averted; nC  onflicts were resolved effectively, with 93 percent of participating students reporting that they used restorative methods to resolve their conflicts; and nN  early 90 percent of participating students reported learning new skills in their restorative experiences, and 86 percent reported using those skills to peacefully resolve or avert conflicts after their restorative interventions. The program’s success led the district to expand its restorative program www.naesp.org

to one elementary school, two more middle schools and a high school for 2006-2007. Abby J. Porter reports in “Restoration Practices in Schools: Research Reveals Power of Restorative Approach, Part II” that the district’s restorative justice coordinator estimated that during that year, restorative interventions saved students nearly 1,500 days of suspension. Public schools in Minnesota are also implementing a range of restorative practices. From 1998 to 2001, the Minnesota Department of Education conducted an evaluation of restorative practices in primary and secondary schools in four districts. The study showed a 30 percent to 50 percent reduction in suspensions. According to Restorative Practices in Minnesota Schools, a video interview produced by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, Nancy Riestenberg of the Minnesota Department of Education indicates that one elementary school reduced its behavior referrals for inappropriate physical contact from seven per day to a little more than one per day. Restore the Student and the Community

A unique feature of the restorative model is making clear to the offending student that he or she has not only violated the victim, but has also victimized the school community. Thus, RDR allows students to not only make the victim “whole,” but to make amends to the school as well. RDR establishes meaningful peer and intergenerational relationships by establishing a culture of listening and mutual respect. Giving back—in restorative terms—involves the stakeholders: offending students, victims, parents, and school. All stakeholders participate in the process, addressing the harm that has been caused in ways meaningful to the victim and the school community. P Jay Zaslaw is the sole proprietor of Victory Services, a consulting, training and grant writing service in Navarre, Florida. His e-mail address is [email protected] .com. www.naesp.org

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Principal n November/December 2009


Speaking Out

Marty Nemko

Don’t Overlook Grade Skipping Y

ou and your teachers are under ever more stress. Mandates from your district, the state, and the federal government seem to be ever mounting, even contradictory. And then there are the parents who say, “My child is bored in school!” or “I’m not happy with my child’s teacher!” Such complaints are particularly likely to come from parents of high-ability kids. Principals and teachers can be tempted to give such complaints short shrift. After all, many educators are too consumed by the problems of low-achieving students and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates to serve them. Alas, those parent complaints are more likely to increase for a number of reasons. First, NCLB imposes carrots and sticks for helping low-achievers reach basic competency but none for highability kids to live up to their potential. Also, our increasingly heterogeneous classes make it more difficult to meet the needs of high-ability students. Finally, as the full range of career options open to women, today’s cohort of teachers contains fewer teachers who are as capable of and motivated to help highability students live up to their potential. I’ve heard many teachers (and even a few principals) say things like, “He’s smart; he’ll do fine anyway.” Or even, “Bright kids can learn by teaching struggling students.” Of course, such a mind-set is a perfect formula for reducing America to its lowest common denominator. Certainly some learning accrues when a bright child explains something to a low-ability child, but when bright children are denied an opportunity to learn new things at a fast pace, they wither or just stay alive instead of flowering. High-ability students have the greatest potential to cure our diseases, discover the next Google, and become wise leaders of our government, nonprofits, and businesses. Yet, too often, we make greater efforts to appropriately educate low achievers than highpotential students.


Principal n November/December 2009

H e re’ s You r C ha nce to spea k ou t The author believes that highability students are better off skipping a grade than remaining in the same grade in which the teacher would need to offer differentiated instruction. Are you more likely to encourage grade skipping or differentiated/gifted instruction in your school? What do you believe are the pros and cons of grade skipping? Let your colleagues know what you think by going to the Principals’ Office blog at http://naesp.typepad. com and clicking on “Speaking Out.”

A Practical Solution

Grade skipping instantly gives highpotential students a much more appropriate education without imposing more work on teachers than they’re likely to do. It is not surprising, then, that the research literature strongly supports the value of grade skipping: A meta-analysis of 32 separate studies by Karen Rogers found that grade skipping results in a half-year’s additional growth in all academic subjects compared with a matched group of gifted students who were not accelerated. Rogers summarizes, “The results of all 32 studies were remarkably consistent and positive.” A meta-evaluation of 26 other studies by the University of Michigan’s James Kulik and Chen-Lin Kulik found that accelerated gifted students outperformed nonaccelerated gifted students without incurring any significant negative social or emotional problems. Also, research by Miraca Gross found

that highly gifted students who skipped a grade were more socially well adjusted than those who remained in coursework dictated by age. A wealth of additional support for acceleration can be found at the University of Iowa’s Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration (www.accelerationinstitute.org). Given all this research, why is grade skipping infrequently used? Some educators believe that bright kids should serve as role models for slow learners even if that’s not optimal for the high-ability students. And educators and parents worry that children who skip a grade will suffer socially. This logic fails to consider the above research and the pain of being constantly bored and undereducated. Steps to Successful Grade Skipping

Academic Readiness. Examine the student’s standardized test scores and assess the disparity between the student’s reading and math ability and the work level in his or her current class. It is not enough to look at the child’s typical classwork because many high-ability students blow off too-easy work. Instead, examine the child’s best work—for example, a project that he or she found very motivating. Is there outside-of-school evidence of high intellectual capability? For example, learning to read before entering kindergarten or undertaking a project more cognitively complex than same-age peers can handle? Chat with the student to determine if his or her reasoning ability appears significantly above average. Also, talk to the child’s teacher about whether he or she thinks the student is capable of doing well if skipped to a higher grade. Emotional Readiness. The child needn’t be sure he or she wants to skip a grade, just not be unalterably opposed. Many kids who would be wise to skip a grade resist because of fear of the unknown, loss of friends, or desire to be like everyone else. Principals can open a reluctant child’s mind to grade skipping by: nE  ncouraging

the parent and child to visit candidate classrooms, assessing if the child would likely be happier www.naesp.org

Advertiser Index and/or more successful in one of those classrooms; nC  oordinating efforts to have another high-ability classmate join the child in skipping a grade; and nA  sking the receiving teacher if the child could sit next to a socially savvy and kind classmate who can serve as a peer mentor. Grade skipping helps ensure that your high-ability students live up to their potential while relieving the sending teacher of the heavy burden of trying to provide appropriate instruction for above-average students. And it can reduce the seemingly endless complaints you get from parents of bright kids. P Marty Nemko (www.martynemko.com) is an education and career consultant in Oakland, California. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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Principal n November/December 2009



Pa r e n t s & s c h o o l s

J o h n h . W h e r ry

Enter the New Generation of Parents

publicize, and strictly enforce staff confidentiality and ethics policies. They don’t trust that their children are always safe at school. In fact, they fear for their safety. Response: Anticipate parents’ concerns n a recent column, I mentioned that one of the most and provide information before they important things principals can do to effectively engage request it, especially on health and safety issues. parents is to treat them like partners instead of as clients. It’s They are interested in relationships and want to be sure they can also important to clearly understand that today’s potential trust you. parent-partners are much different than the parents you may Response: Provide informal opportunities for parents to have worked with when you first started your career. get to know you and staff members on a social basis such as Here’s a crash course on common characteristics of parmovie nights, community events, and celebrations. ents today—the Generation Xers—based on Why School They expect to communicate with you and your teachers instantly Communication Matters: Strategies from PR Professionals by Kitty by e-mail, cell phone, and online. Porterfield and Meg Carnes. Following each characteristic I Response: Make responding quickly a habit—and publicize suggest some partnership-appropriate ways to respond. your reasonable turnaround time policies. They expect that your school will have a Generation X has grown up hearing first-class Web site that is up-to-date and about “failing schools.” They grew up with dynamic, with easily accessible informaunflattering media stories about schools tion, including ways they can help their sparked by the 1983 Nation at Risk report children. stating that “the educational founda“Parent partnerships are Response: You should expect the same tions of our society are presently being thing. Make it a priority. eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that dynamic and are always They expect that if a schoolwide problem threatens our very future as a Nation and a work in progress.” occurs they will have details about it immea people.” diately—including what is being done Response: Show parents the detailed curto make sure it doesn’t happen again— riculum teachers are following. You have especially if it’s a problem involving their it; most parents have never seen it. child. They are skeptical problem solvers who Response: Google “key communicator” and set up your own thrive on collaboration. They will work with school leaders program. It’s simple and effective. given the opportunity—or, just as easily, against them if they They expect personalized, not generic, communications convefeel it’s necessary to help their children. niently available to them day or night. Response: Take the initiative to invite parents, individually Response: Personalize when you can. Use semi-personalizaand in groups, to work with the school on topics of mutual tion when you can’t: “Dear Third-Grade Parent,” “Dear Band interest such as attendance, discipline, and bullying. Booster.” They think outside the box. The fact that the school has never Since they are almost all working, they value their time and done it that way before does not concern them. don’t want it to be wasted with school activities that don’t Response: In newsletter articles and at meetings, invite innodirectly help them or their child. vative suggestions and ideas for improving student achieveResponse: Be ruthless about not wasting anyone’s time on ment. Expect some good ones. things that don’t directly build school success. They imagine doing things others before them wouldn’t dare to do—including challenging authority. Parent partnerships are dynamic and are always a work in Response: Welcome parents’ initiative. Recognize that the progress. However, the payoffs begin immediately—as soon same thing that motivates you motivates them: helping their as today’s parents see that you genuinely want to work side by children succeed in school. side with them to help children learn. It all starts by seeing They are family-oriented and receptive to efforts to get families parents as partners instead of just clients. P involved. Response: Capitalize on this. They don’t trust institutions to automatically do what’s right. John H. Wherry is president if The Parent Institute in Fairfax, Response: Communicate quickly and forthrightly. Discuss, Virginia. His e-mail address is [email protected]



Principal n November/December 2009





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I t ’ s t h e l aw

P e r ry A . Z i r k e l

The Case

Gender Diversity Issues A

s our society becomes more diverse, expectations increase for public schools to include curricula and other activities that promote respect for not only racial and ethnic pluralism, but also gender preferences. At the same time, traditional values and fundamentalist beliefs pose a counterbalancing force that insists on public schools playing their historic role of homogenization and not invading parental issues, such as religious and sex education. The following case and accompanying question-and-answer discussion illustrate recent court decisions that demarcate the boundary between these competing interests.

In 2005, Jacob Parker was in kindergarten in Lexington, Massachusetts. As part of the school system’s Diversity Book Bag program, he brought home the book Who’s Who in a Family, which contains illustrations of different types of families, including those with parents of the same gender. In grade 1, his readings included Molly’s Family, a picture book about a girl who is at first made to feel embarrassed by a classmate because she has both a mommy and a mama, but then learns that families can come in many different varieties. In 2006, when Joey Wirthlin was in the first grade in Lexington, his teacher read the book King and King aloud to the class. In this fairy tale, the prince meets and marries another prince, and they live happily ever after. The book ends with a cartoon kiss between the young couple. Jacob’s and Joey’s parents hold sincere religious beliefs that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage necessarily means a union between a man and a woman. They registered their objections with school administrators to the use of these three books to “indoctrinate” their young children with beliefs opposite from their own. They requested that the school system not expose their children to such instruction without first providing the parents with notice and an opportunity to opt out. Although state law requires such notice and opt-out for any curriculum that “primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues,” the school officials did not consider the disputed lessons as fitting this criterion and denied the request. The Parkers and Wirthlins then joined to file suit in federal court, claiming violations of federal and state law. On the federal side, they based their claims on the 14th Amendment’s “liberty” of child rearing and the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion. Their state claims were based on the opt-out statute and the state civil rights act. In addition, they sought an injunction against schools presenting any “materials graphically depicting homosexual physical contact” to students before grade 7. Questions and Answers


In the early 1990s, Massachusetts enacted legislation requiring curricula standards for all public elementary and secondary schools “to inculcate respect for the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of the Commonwealth ... and to avoid perpetuating gender, cultural, ethnic or racial stereotypes.” To comply, the state education department issued regulations and curricular frameworks, which at the K-5 level encourage instruction covering “different types of families” and “the concepts of prejudice and discrimination.” Not long thereafter, Massachusetts’ highest court held that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages violated the state constitution.


Principal n November/December 2009

What was the ultimate judicial outcome in this case?

In Parker v. Hurley (2006), the federal trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case on the federal constitutional grounds and declined to decide the state law claim. The following year, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in Parker v. Hurley (2007). For the First Amendment free exercise claim, the appellate court viewed the precedents as unsettled as to the level of justification required of the government, but found it unnecessary to reach this step, concluding: “While we accept as true plaintiffs’ assertion that their sincerely held religious beliefs were Kaadaa/Images.com

deeply offended, we find that they have not described a constitutional burden on their rights, or on those of their children.” The court reasoned that the parents retained the right to freely exercise their religion, and that the students—contrary to the claim of “indoctrination”—were merely exposed to the idea of families with same-sex parents. Similarly, the court concluded that the program did not burden the parents’ 14th Amendment right of child rearing. As a reminder of the constitutional boundaries of its judicial determination, the court ended with the comment: “If the school system has been insufficiently sensitive to such religious beliefs, the plaintiffs may seek recourse to the normal political processes for change in the town and state.” If the parents had additionally or alternatively argued that the diversity program violated the First Amendment’s religious establishment clause, what would have been the likely outcome?

The odds would strongly favor the district defendants. In prior cases, the courts have consistently rejected curricular challenges premised on the notion that public school curricula were promoting a religion such as secular humanism or Wicca. Returning to the constitutional challenges raised in the Massachusetts case, what would be the judicial odds if a suit targeted one of the following school activities:

An Opposite Sex Day, in which students engaged in cross-dressing. The only published court decision specific to this situation was inconclusive. In Stanley v. Carrier Mills-Stonefort School District No. 2 (2006), a federal district court in Illinois denied the district’s motion to dismiss the parents’ suit, thus preserving for trial their First Amendment free exercise and 14th Amendment liberty claims. The difference was that the court accepted the parents’ allegation that peer pressure and school endorsewww.naesp.org

ment were so pervasive as to constitute the compulsion or coercion missing in the Massachusetts case. Nevertheless, the parents obviously faced an uphill slope to prove their allegation. Indeed, the court commented that it was “inclined to agree with the [School] District that the cross-dressing is little more of a religious activity or burden on religious activity than” that challenged in the various previous cases. The ultimate result was not reported in the case law databases, suggesting that the parents either withdrew or settled the case.

“The very diversity of our society, including religious fundamentalists, illustrates the difficulty of avoiding costly judicial battles.” A mandatory sex education assembly or curricular unit. The case law, which the 1st Circuit cited in the Massachusetts case, favors the defendant district with regard to the First Amendment free exercise clause and 14th Amendment parental liberty claims. However, the 1st Circuit’s caveat about state law and local policy applies here, too. Diversity education in the nation’s schools. A federal district court in California readily jettisoned such a broadbased claim in Preskar v. United States (2008), illustrating that such concerns are more appropriate for other branches and levels of government.

of the school policy, the treatment of other similarly expressed controversial student viewpoints, and the specific nature and context of the expression. The recent case law is split, with some courts deciding at least partially in the student’s favor, while in other cases the district lost on the merits or on technical grounds. Such situations warrant careful consideration, in consultation with legal counsel. In a state or school district without a diversity program, if the parent of a child whom other children perceive as gay sues the principal and other district representatives, based on repeated verbal and physical harassment, which side would likely win in court?

Plaintiff-students who have been the victims of harassment based on perceived homosexuality have had marked success in at least defeating defendants’ motions for dismissal or summary judgment. These initial successes have been variously based on Title IX prohibition of sex discrimination, the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, and state anti-discrimination laws. However, the remaining hurdles for prevailing in such cases are relatively daunting. Conclusion

If the boys in the Massachusetts case had worn T-shirts to school inscribed with a message opposing homosexuality as a religious sin, and the principal censured them for violating school policy, what would probably be the judicial outcome?

Public schools’ efforts to promote diversity are understandable in the modern era. Nevertheless, the very diversity of our society, including religious fundamentalists, illustrates the difficulty of avoiding costly judicial battles. The odds favor defendant districts in many, but not all, such situations, depending on the circumstances and legal grounds. In general, these issues are best resolved in the state and local policymaking arenas, but where the resolution is in favor of diversity education, school officials should not be paralyzed by challenges based on the federal Constitution, except when freedom of speech is clearly involved. P

This situation poses a much closer case, with the outcome dependent on various factors, including the clarity

Perry A. Zirkel is a professor of education and law at Lehigh University. Principal n November/December 2009


P o s t s c r i pt

Interesting Times

Gai l C o nnel ly, NAES P E x ec ut i v e Di r ec t o r

and timely data have greatly elevated and informed many issues dealing with the principalship.

Now, the curse. We’re at the table for important discussions, but like many of our education association counterhere’s an ancient Chinese proverb that is equal parts parts, our greatest challenge is making blessing and curse: May you live in interesting times. I don’t our voice heard clearly and sufficiently, know about you, but I’m finding these times to be extremely particularly on issues related to the “interesting.” department’s initiative to improve low-performing schools: First, the blessing. NAESP is ideally positioned to serve as how we measure school improvement and how we lift up such your champion on Capitol Hill, in the Department of Educaschools. Our comments on this initiative follow: tion, and with our sister associations. We are asserting our We wholeheartedly share the department’s goal to improve increasingly robust advocacy agenda with renewed purpose, these schools. We part company, however, on its approach urgency, and clarity, but also with an outstretched hand and to use standardized test scores as the primary yardstick for a commitment to collaboration. Consequently, in recent measuring success, and we strenuously disagree with the promonths, we’ve been invited to participate in dozens of conposal to replace principals (and other educators) when lowversations with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his performing schools don’t show sufficient progress. top aides, members of Congress on both sides of the political NAESP believes that if the department relies on standardaisle, and influential consortia of education associations. ized test scores as the primary metric for Our message is powerful: Elementary school improvement, reform efforts will fall far and middle-level principals are primary “As these issues and short of our mutual goal to strengthen schools catalysts for creating a lasting foundation and educate children. You and your colleagues for learning, driving school and student others dominate know best: Success is more than a test score. performance, and shaping the long-term Schools and students succeed in multiple ways; impact of school improvement efforts. education … we’ll they should be measured in multiple ways. We’ve had significant legislative successes continue to lend our Further, we believe that automatically replacon your behalf. A few follow: ing principals of low-performing schools is voice to this national likely to be hasty and unwarranted. The better ■ NAESP drafted legislative language solution is providing all principals with the supporting professional development discussion.” time, talent, and tools they need to succeed. for principals in a provision for the They need a minimum of three school years reauthorization of the Elementary and to turn around an under-performing school, they need the Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ability to restructure and reorganize teaching and support How it helps you: This bill, which has taken a back-burner staffs, and they need support, professional development, and to other legislative priorities, is the source of federal fundresources to strengthen their skills. A new principal alone ing for elementary and middle-level education. Specifically, cannot change a struggling school that operates in the same the provision would fund “a comprehensive system of proculture and with the same resources. Current principals at fessional development” with the goal of embedding profesunder-performing schools should be afforded the same presional development in a principal’s work. sumption of expertise and the same opportunity to succeed as ■ NAESP took a central role in providing specific language replacement principals. on pre-K through grade 3 for the first-ever national comAs these issues and others dominate education—and as our prehensive literacy bill. The bill is awaiting congressional work and yours grows ever more “interesting”—we’ll continue action. to lend our voice to this national discussion. As we speak out How it helps you: The bill will fund literacy coaches at on your behalf, we do so with the promise that we’ll engage schools, new research, and the wider dissemination of friends and opponents alike with collegiality and in the spirit research-based best practices. of constructive problem solving, we’ll press for results that ■ Key NAESP staff participated in the first round of highimprove the lives of millions of children, and we’ll remain level meetings with members of Congress and their staff; mindful of our mission to serve your interests. P the second-round began this fall. How it helps you: These meetings have reintroduced NAESP to power brokers on Capitol Hill; consequently, What are your views? NAESP wants to know. Please contact congressional members and staffers increasingly recognize [email protected] or visit www.naesp.org and click our key staff as informed, balanced content-specific experts on Advocacy. on issues pertinent to you. Their contributions of accurate



Principal n November/December 2009




y the Students identif place e th cafeteria as are s on si vi where di n. aw dr rly ea cl most s that Mix Research show k down It Up helps brea new barriers, foster bolster d friendships an unity. d an t school spiri

Where the authors speak to you

Professional Learning Communities at Work™ Summit NEW INSIGHTS for Improving Schools

Rebecca DuFour

Richard DuFour

February 23–26, 2010 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Convention Center

THE PRESENTATION Leading experts deliver keynote presentations and breakout sessions designed to develop your capacity for building a PLC. Explore the three big ideas essential to sustained school improvement and higher levels of learning for all. Robert Eaker

Thomas Guskey

THE PASSION Feel the energy and enthusiasm from authors you know and trust. Join thousands of your colleagues who have been transformed by this summit. Return to your school or district inspired, informed, and ready to build a PLC.


Robert J. Marzano

Rebecca DuFour The Power of Professional Learning Communities: Bringing the Big Ideas to Life Richard DuFour Once Upon a Time: Confronting the Mythology of Public Education Robert Eaker What It Means to BE a Professional Learning Community

Mike Mattos

Anthony Muhammad

Thomas Guskey Grading and Reporting Student Learning: Effective Policies and Practices Thomas Many Forged, Not Forced: Illuminating What Works When Implementing Professional Learning Communities Robert J. Marzano Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading Mike Mattos Pyramid Response to Intervention: RTI, PLCs, and How to Respond When Students Don’t Learn

Rick Stiggins Speakers are subject to change.

Anthony Muhammad Transforming School Culture Rick Stiggins Seven Essential Assessment Actions for School Leaders

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Diversity in the classroom - National Association of Elementary School

Principal November/December 2009 2009 NATIONAL DISTINGUISHED PRINCIPALS Diversity in the Classroom Remember when fun didn’t require downloading? H...

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