Finding New School Employees in Cyberspace
The latest recruitment tools on the Web can help you automate initial contacts with prospective employees, find "A" list candidates, and much, much more.
My 'Book Buddy'
Tutoring a kindergartener in reading teaches a superintendent some valuable lessons.
Proficiency for All?
A superintendent reflects on how he learned to stop complaining and love NCLB.
Resisters in Our Midst
Dealing with reform saboteurs
Leadership and Learning
As superintendents are being asked to take more responsibility for improving academic achievement, what is necessary to be successful?
Newsmaker: Paul Vallas
During a wide-ranging interview with Associate Editor Joetta Sack-Min, Paul Vallas discusses the end of his tenure in Philadelphia, what it was like to work under political “master” Richard Daley in Chicago, and the opportunities to make a difference as New Orleans continues its struggle to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
As school board members, your performance sets the tone and, ultimately, the public's perception of your district.
New board members and administrators must have the right information and know how to use it.
Make Me a Match
Search consultants can help school boards delve more deeply into the talent pool for school leaders.
The Search for Character
What are you looking for in a superintendent? Your ultimate action can sometimes uncover your motives.
Anything But Ordinary
Principals can’t be taught humility, compassion, or concern for others. These things simply emerge as they come face to face with the reality of their students’ lives. At times, the sad stories involving many of my students raged on in my mind like a ceaseless battle. Once cannot hear them and remain unchanged.
Where We Teach
If a sizable number of teachers in America’s urban schools question whether their students can succeed—no matter how good the instruction—what does that tell you? That these teachers are burned out? That their expectations for children are shamefully low? Or are they simply reporting the harsh reality of what it means to teach in a big-city school serving a largely poor, at-risk population? A new survey examines how urban teachers and administrators feel about their students’ chances for success.
Newsmaker: Krista Parent
When Krista Parent started teaching 23 years ago in Cottage Grove, Ore., she didn't think she would spend her entire career in the South Lane School District. And during a grueling period that saw five superintendents in 20 months and a board member sue the district, Parent didn't believe the top job was for her. Today, there’s no question about who is in charge. In March, Parent was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.
A Chance for Change
The great irony of our time is that the brutal reality of poor instruction is seldom addressed or even mentioned at school board meetings. It isn’t written about in the education section of newspapers or honestly discussed at faculty or central office meetings. It works silently to cripple every well-meant improvement initiative. There is a fairly simple way out. We can turn the tide immediately by instituting the most effective, widely recognized structure for guaranteeing effective teaching and coherent curriculum: professional learning communities.
A Dynamic Duo
An increase in the student population is the reason most cited for initiating a co-principalship. Parents, teachers, and community members expect to be able to talk to the principal, see a lead administrator at extracurricular activities, and have someone available in the building when important issues arise. As the student population increases, the principal’s role just becomes too much for one person. Why not consider two?
Practitioners and Practice
Comedian Paul Reiser has a routine in which he explores Americans’ inordinate faith in "them" and what "they" say. There is an ill-founded assumption in public schools that some people somewhere else—"they"—are sorting out the big issues while the administrators and practitioners tend to the daily business of running schools. Yet, the absence of strategic thinking is hindering the breakthrough solutions and innovations that are necessary for public schools to remain viable.
The Compassionate Leader
With all the recent research and discussion about competency, change leadership, communities of learning, commitment, and collaboration, we must not ignore a leader's need for the essential ingredient: compassion. In our push for academic excellence, we must not take the heart and soul out of our schools.
What I Wish I Had Known
After almost 20 years as a superintendent, I was tired and looking for a new challenge. So, I took early retirement and an assistant professor’s job at a private, urban university, in charge of a graduate program for teachers. I thought I had a lot to teach others, but it turned out I had much more to learn.
Look Back, Look Ahead
To ensure a smooth transition in leadership, boards should take time to study where the district has been—and where it hopes to go. One way to avoid making the wrong choice is by commissioning what's known as a transition case study—a timely and focused look at where the district has been in the past decade and where it hopes to be going.
Mastering Online Education
The number of online programs at postsecondary schools has exploded in the past few years, with enrollment reaching 2.35 million nationwide. Today, almost two-thirds of colleges and universities that offer face-to-face courses also are providing graduate courses online. More teachers and administrators are taking courses via the Internet. But do these advanced courses give them what they need to succeed?
A Precious But Fragile Bond
What is at the very top of the list of factors that influence the educational and administrative performance of every school district? The answer is simple. It’s the most precious but always-fragile professional marriage between the school board and its chief executive officer, the superintendent. When this precious bond is allowed to become badly frayed, your school system is in for real trouble. The cost of a ruptured board-superintendent partnership can be awesome.
The Tech-Savvy Leader
In school districts, you must be a quick study, watch changing and evolving trends, and have a clearly defined picture of success to be at the top of your game. Here are lists of Edtech Leaders to Watch, Top-Ranked Digital School Boards, Top Tech Tools, and Most Helpful School Technology Reading Materials to help.