#PrincipalProject Blog

Here’s How I Show Appreciation for Teachers in My School Community

I joined a new school community this spring as a brand-new instructional coach. I aspired to this role because I know how hard teachers work to support and encourage students, and I believe a key part of instructional leadership is being a supporter and encourager of teachers. That’s why I created a “teacher appreciation mission” […]

Advice to new principals: Get away from your desk

For school leaders, visibility really matters. I’m always out and about in our building – and it’s my personal goal to spend as little time as possible tied to my desk. Every minute I have, I’m out talking and asking questions to people in the building. Instead of sending five separate emails, I’ll walk to […]

My Two Spring Strategies for Promoting Teacher Energy

As a principal, I always say that spring is a season of opportunity: It’s a time to make our students feel proud of their growth and inspired to achieve even more. But we leaders know that this time of year can feel tiring for teachers. Spring break is behind us, our end-of-year goals are top […]

Here’s What I did When Student Stress and Conflict Rose

As a middle school principal, I’ve seen that sustaining behavioral expectations for my students is harder this year, and I’ve heard the same thing from fellow leaders. When my school started experiencing multiple behavioral conflicts every day, that was new territory, and I have to admit, I didn’t see the path forward right away. I […]

Here’s How I Look for True Learning in the Classroom

When I reflect on my first 10 years of teaching, I know it would have been a completely different classroom if I’d known what we know now about student learning. I came into teaching well versed in my content area, having taken literature classes and secondary English and writing classes, but I didn’t step into […]

Catching Kids Before the Waterfall: The Case for More Proactive SEL

As many of you know, the American Academy of Pediatrics has declared a mental health emergency for children. And as heartbreaking as this is, between the societal challenges and mental health issues already present in our prior “normal” conditions, as well as everything the pandemic has exacerbated, it’s hard to say that it’s surprising. Increasingly, […]

5 SEL Systems That Can Transform School Culture

The school I help lead was designed for students who have experienced some interruption in their high school education, either because of academic issues, life disruptions or both. Our program helps support them along the path to graduation and connects them with resources. Because of this, social emotional learning (SEL) has long been our priority. […]

How Our Students Pushed Us to Rethink the Dress Code

When we reached the point in the pandemic when students could return to in-person learning, we wanted to make them feel like they could come back to the safest, most welcome space possible. We did away with rules about hats and headphones. We did away with all kinds of things in order to extend grace […]

Why I Hold Monthly SEL Sessions with Students’ Families

As a student, I came to school every day from a chaotic household. The safe and nurturing learning environments fostered by my teachers provided a refuge where I could grow and thrive despite my circumstances. And now as a school principal, promoting that same affirming environment for every student is at the heart of my […]

How I Build Math Mindsets into My School Culture

When I joined my K-8 school community a few years ago, our students were, on average, in the 18th percentile in math achievement. These days, despite all the disruptions and traumas they’ve experienced during pandemic learning, our students are demonstrating mastery at and beyond the 40th percentile, with more and more students in the 90th […]