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April 25, 2013
ASCD SmartBrief Special Report
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ASCD Special Report:
The challenges facing principals (Part II)
The principal serves as the captain of the ship or perhaps the mayor of a small town. As such, principals wear many hats and address many issues each day in school -- deftly working with students, parents, teachers, staff, other principals, district administration and the community.

In Part II of this two-part ASCD SmartBrief Special Report, we look at issues facing principals on the job and what they do to embrace technology. In case you missed Part I of this report, published Tuesday, we examined efforts by principals to bridge achievement gaps and make a difference in students' lives.

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On the Job 
  • Principals shoulder responsibility for their schools
    Principals juggle many diverse duties, with high expectations from every corner, but they also put pressure on themselves, with 9 in 10 principals in a recent survey indicating that they are responsible for everything that happens to the children in a school. This article, by Marge Scherer, addresses how the latest issue of Educational Leadership has identified how principals can meet the challenges they face and gain the support they need. Educational Leadership (4/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to make classroom observations a positive experience
    In this response to a question from a reader of Larry Ferlazzo's blog about how to make classroom observations a more positive experience, PJ Caposey, an Illinois high-school principal and author, said school leaders do not have the power to dictate changes in culture. Instead, he writes, cultural shifts require school leaders to gain influence with others by building relationships, giving purpose and establishing a community that is safe for innovation, creativity and sometimes failure. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (4/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Principal-evaluation system draws protest in Texas district
    A new system for evaluating principals is drawing criticism in Dallas, where some say principals have not been given enough time to prepare for the changes. Under the new system, 65 of the district's 223 principals have been put on a "growth plan," and the failure to make improvements could mean the loss of their jobs. Critics say principals need additional time and resources, while Superintendent Mike Miles said principals had known since June that the changes were coming and were given appropriate training. The Dallas Morning News (free content) (3/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Studies say people skills are key to successful principals
    There is no national data for principal turnover, but state and local figures indicate rates of 15% to 30% per year, with low-income, low-performing schools suffering from even higher rates, according to Bryan Goodwin, author and chief operating officer at McREL, Denver. Goodwin writes that research indicates that people skills are key to longevity in the position of principal. Those who leave the job often cite bureaucracy, heavy workloads and a sense of powerlessness -- areas that people skills can help principals overcome, he writes. Educational Leadership (4/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Understand the Role of Oral Language in Reading for your Title I and ELL Students
Oral language is a predictor of future academic success. It is important to build an oral language foundation through listening comprehension and oral expression even before a student can read, particularly in Title I and ELL populations where socioeconomic status and home experiences result in a growing academic gap. View Lexia's tech-based approach.
Embracing Technology 
  • The role of school technology director is changing
    School technology is evolving, and with it, the role of technology directors, according to Doug Johnson, director of media and technology at Mankato Area Public Schools in Minnesota. Johnson writes about the current shifts, including technology chiefs' doing less configuring of networks and servers and more outsourcing of contracts. They're also moving away from writing policies to ban online activities and toward writing guidelines on digital citizenship. Johnson writes that technology chiefs should have teaching and leadership experience in addition to tech skills. Educational Leadership (4/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How education IT can support teachers, students
    In this commentary, Bryan M. Berretta, director of academic technology at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn., suggests that school IT professionals work to balance their focus on the latest technology innovations with their support for teachers and students. He recommends, among other things, that IT professionals go into the classroom to experience the technology firsthand and ensure that curricular goals and vision are supported. EdTech magazine (Spring 2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Principal: Every school will soon have a mobile application
    Stenette Byrd, principal of Smithfield High School in Smithfield, Va., predicts that every school will have its own mobile application in the next few years. Byrd's school launched its own app, using SchoolInfoApp, at the start of the 2012-13 school year. The application saved the school $2,000 in printing costs by offering its student handbook digitally, and the program also helps the school raise money through in-app sponsors, Byrd reports. EdTech magazine (4/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How principals can monitor student achievement
    Professional learning communities are a better way for principals to monitor student achievement than the micromanaging and intensive supervision and evaluation model that is often employed these days, write Rick DuFour and Mike Mattos in this article. DuFour and Mattos, both authors, consultants and former principals, write that, among other things, schools with professional learning communities are more likely to embrace collaborative culture and collective responsibility for student learning. Educational Leadership (4/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Find more time for individualized instruction
Nearly 25% of teacher time is spent testing, rather than teaching. Lexia individualizes instruction, delivers real-time assessment data without testing, and provides recommended resources to differentiate instruction. Learn more.
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