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Program Aims to Stop 'Summer Slide'
Entering its sixth year, the Scholastic Summer Challengeis again tackling the dreaded “summer slide.”

Encyclopedia Britannica Ends Print Edition
In a move that highlights the emerging dominance of digital publishing, a hallmark of school libraries around the world is ending its print editions forever.

Fundraiser Review: Hershey's
Hershey’s candy bars. The bars are distributed to schools in assortments for selling. Three assortments are available, including a $2/per assortment box of big (king-size) bars.

Skype Teams With DonorsChoose
In an effort to expand student access to videoconferencing technology, Skype is partnering with DonorsChoose.

Fundraiser Review: See's Candies
The program is open to schools, churches, youth groups and organizations with registered 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) status.

Tweets Get Student Expelled: A Cautionary Tale
Despite a seemingly endless list of incidents trumpeting the potential dangers of social media, a student athlete in New Jersey is facing harsh consequences for comments he posted online.

Fundraiser Review: Chuck E. Cheese School Fundraising
This is a fundraising event instead of a traditional fundraiser. Schools set up a fundraiser night and students, families, faculty and other supporters go to Chuck E. Cheese that night. The school gets 15% of the proceeds from the purchase of food, tokens and merchandise by participating people/families. 

Good Teachers Lead to Better Pay for Students
Good teachers have an impact on the future earnings of students, according to a new Ivy League study.

Economists from Harvard and Columbia studied 2.5 million people for over 20 years and concluded that those who had good teachers in elementary and middle school earned more money as adults than peers who did not.    

Music Educaiton Lags Despite Benefits
More than half of U.S. children and adults have never received music education, though a majority (68 percent) thinks it's important, says a 2011 IBOPE Zogby poll commissioned by Primrose Schools. Over 70 percent of adults recognize that music education enhances children's music appreciation, cognitive development and creativity. Over the past 15 years, however, many school music programs have been cut to reduce budgets and to spend more time on math and reading instruction.

NBC Takes Educational Look at Environment
NBC, in collaboration with the Weather Channel, will air a special town hall event bringing students, educators, scientists and politicians together to discuss the future of our water supply.

Teacher Offers Tips For Parent Volunteers
As states continue to slash education budgets to accommodate declining tax revenues, schools respond by trying to squeeze even more out of their beleaguered teachers. Class sizes grow, planning periods are cut, and each student gets less attention.

Warren Buffett To Speak at Education Nation 2011
Famous for his immense wealth and his penchant for philanthropy, billionaire Warren Buffett is slated to participate in NBC’s Education Nation Summit as the subject of an exclusive interview.

National Teacher Town Hall Returning to NBC
Following the success of last year’s event, NBC News is bringing back the National Teacher Town Hall to the 2011 Education Nation Summit.

CA School Takes Top Honors at Panasonic Event
Val Verde High School of Perris, California was recognized as the grand-prize winner of the Panasonic Kid Witness News (KWN) 2011 Global Video Contest.

Ohio Expands School Choice
The state of Ohio is the first in the nation to offer four separate school voucher programs. The expansion of the offerings takes effect with the passage of a new two-year state budget.

Microsoft Names Top Educators
Microsoft has announced that 11 educators from Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington  have been selected as winners of the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF).

Adminitrators: What Worked in 2011
With 2010-2011 fresh in our minds and 2011-2012 edging ever closer, EducationWorld asked several school administrators about their most successful strategies during the past year. Here are the great ideas they shared.

Unbelievable School Decisions Series - Intro: What!?!
School officials make countless decisions every day that directly impact their students. Given the sheer volume of policies to enforce, rules to create and problems to solve, it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made. ..

Unbelievable Part 1 - Two Students Enter...
Regardless of age group or geography, a fight is going to break out at some point in every school in America. To those in education, this is not a stunning revelation. But when investigators discovered that a Dallas high school was encouraging student vs. student brawls, going as far as to stage Thunderdome-like fights for the entertainment of the faculty, academia’s collective jaw hit the ground.

Spies in the Lunchroom? Caputring Kids Calorie Consumption
Many have debated the merits of placing cameras in schools for security purposes, but in San Antonio, a new program is using cameras in a completely different manner.
 

Glee Helps Students Prepare for College
Glee's Iqbal Theba, America's Best Known Principal and Honorary Principal of SuperFutures.com, kicked off a national Dare2Dream challenge and introduced new "GleeK" technology to provide online guidance to America's youth.

Which Degrees Really Pay Off? Study Findings Can Help Teens Choose College Majors
A new study from Georgetown University gives high school students and the teachers, administrators and school officials who advise them one more tool when it comes to deciding what to study in college.

Money Maker - Intro: Unconventional School Fundraising
In this five-part series EducationWorld examines the often controversial and sometimes legally questionable ways in which school districts have raised money.
 
Money Maker Part 1 - A Madison Ave. Education
There are precious few places in America that have managed to avoid the seemingly endless bombardment of advertising. Until recently, that short list included schools. A growing trend among schools, however, is using almost every available space to generate money via advertising.
 
Money Maker Part 2 - Gold Digging
The economic recession has led to an explosion of cash-for-gold operations. When a Georgia elementary school invited one of these companies to host a fundraising event, however, people began to protest.
 
Money Maker Part 3 - Taking a Gamble
Bake sales, car washes and basketball games have all been used to raise money for various school needs. From time to time a charity “Casino Night,” held in the gym or other facility, has generated a fair share of funds. But when a group of schools began raising money by volunteering in actual working casinos, the Roman Catholic Church got involved.
 
Money Maker Part 4 - Cheating for Dollars
Any academic will tell you that cheating is an inexcusable act worthy of severe punishment. But what happens when school officials, not the students, are the ones fixing grades?
 

Part 5 - Bribery in the Classroom
Detroit gets kids to class any way they can.

NEA Highlights Teaching Trends
With the celebrations of National Teacher Day as a backdrop, the National Education Association (NEA) is revealing shifts in the teaching profession found through 50 years of study.
 
Star Helps Promote Summer Reading
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is teaming up with Nestle and Reading is Fundamental (RIF) to encourage summer reading and promote child literacy. 
 
CBP Takes On Dropout Rate
TheCorporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is taking aim at the nation’s high school graduation rates with a significant public media initiative to help them improve.
 
Report Calls for Expansion opf NCLB Subjects
A new report released by the RAND Corporation calls for an expansion of the criteria used to determine compliance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. MAy 2011

Cincinnati Turns Failing Elementary Schools Around
After implementing what officials call the Elementary Initiative, a group of floundering urban schools has exceeded expectations. May 2011

Athletics Budgets Face ‘Third and Long’ Situation
With the economy still recovering, schools across the country have been taking steps to trim their budgets. One area that often suffers is athletics. May 2011

Can Schools Fight Childhood Obesity?
With U.S. childhood obesity reaching a crisis level, schools find themselves increasingly responsible for ensuring that they offer healthy foods. May 2011

Memphis Recognized for Curbing Urban School Violence
The city of Memphis, TN is being recognized for its efforts in reducing juvenile violence in urban schools. April 2011

D.C. School Vouchers Renewed
With the passage of the federal budget, the school voucher program in Washington, D.C. has been spared from the chopping block. April 2011
 
Florida Education System Faces Huge Overhaul
In the sunshine state, changes are afoot regarding everything from standards for receiving college credit through AP classes to standardized testing protocols. April 2011 April 2011April 2011
 
What should districts do to get more "bang for the buck"? Learn about programs and practices that are working for schools across the country. April 2011
 
Princess-to-be Kate Middleton suffered childhood bullying—and has made the BeatBullying organization an official Royal Wedding charity. April 2011
 
No doubt your students have been talking about the “Teen Mom 2” star who appeared on video attacking another woman. Are teen girls actually becoming more violent? April 2011
 
It’s tempting to assume that bigger budgets will directly benefit kids. The formula may not be that simple, however, if we define “benefit” in terms of academic achievement. April 2011

Student Broadcasters Capture Headlines from the Hallways  
Students aren't just studying the news in school, they're reporting it! Budding "Walter Cronkites" run the show from choosing topics to scripting, filming and editing. Teachers report that students gain self-confidence from producing their own school news broadcasts.

A Token Economy and Fifth Grade Financiers
Students in Beth Moore's classroom know what to expect if they break class rules -- a big, fat fine! That's business as usual in a classroom where everyone receives a salary, maintains a checkbook, and designs and sells goods in the class store.

District Takes Steps to Improve Staff Wellness
While programs to improve student wellness have been in schools for years, some districts now are focusing on staff health as well. Teachers in Batesville, Indiana, have participated in fitness competitions and this year some are training for a mini-marathon.

Planning Your Retirement
Everyone is concerned about how much money they will need to retire. While that is important, its not the first question you need to ask yourself. The first question to consider is, What am I going to do with the time?

Virtual Active Technology Spurs Actual Exercise
Middle-schoolers in one Connecticut community cant wait for PE so they can run through the worlds cities, race mountain bikes, and ride skateboards and snowboards. The districts new virtual exercise equipment is getting gamers off the couch and into the fitness room.

Cookbooks Whip Up Fun and Funds
In what could be described as true "kitchen magic," school organizations are cooking up a virtual feast of funds by gathering recipes and publishing them in the form of school cookbooks. Included: What makes a "hot seller" in the field of school cookbooks?

Principals Launch School-Wide Wellness Programs
Many schools weave health awareness programs into their curriculum. Those programs improve school climate as they build wellness awareness in the wider community. Included: Principals share school-wide fitness, health, and nutrition awareness ideas.

Project Appleseed Grows Parent Involvement
On National Parental Involvement Day 2010, Kevin Walker, the founder of the organization that created the holiday, advises schools not to lament the lack of parental involvement, but to use the day to invite parents to do more.

Transition Programs Help Incoming Freshmen
Everyone knows the transition to high school can be a challenging one. Thats why high schools have initiated summer camps for incoming freshman and special programs that track and support students who experience difficulty during the first months in their new surroundings.

Letters Connect Generations
A pen pal program involving Utah fifth graders and senior citizens has created new connections between the generations and introduced students to the almost-lost art of formal letter-writing. The program is benefiting the entire community.

Place-Based Education Turns Towns into Classrooms
Place-based education projects get students involved in their learning and expand their perspectives of their community as they tackle real-world issues. The projects re-energize teachers as well. Included: Explore a handful of place-based education projects.

Differentiated Instruction, Flexibility Make Multi-Age Classes Work
Multi-grade classes sound like a lot of work for teachers. But by regularly assessing students, differentiating instruction, and using flexible groupings, the experience can be revitalizing for a teacher. Included: Tips for planning lessons in multi-grade classes.

From Chalkboard to Wall -- Managing the Benefits of School-Sanctioned Social Media Use
As more students, parents, teachers, and administrators tap into social networking sites, the lines between educational and personal networking are becoming more blurred. Schools need to provide clear guidelines to avoid legal issues around school-sanctioned social media.

Health Fair Gives Shot in the Arm to Parent Involvement
In Ronceverte, West Virginia, one middle school's health and wellness fair features free glucose checks, blood pressure checks, and flu shots plus healthy snacks and fun activities. The fair brings in parents who have never before stepped through the school doors.

Student-Written Books Spread Anti-Bullying Message
No one is more knowledgeable about the causes and consequences of bullying than bullies and their targets. Two anti-bullying books written by middle school students aim to help peers and younger students realize the importance of speaking out against bullying.

Schools Crayon Factory Offers Hands-On Economics Lessons
The challenge of teaching economics to second graders got easier at one Virginia school when a teacher created a crayon factory that allows students to learn first-hand about raw materials, producers, consumers, natural resources, and marketing.

Plinkoball Helps Students Exercise Math Skills
In search of a way to liven up the playground, elementary principal Sam Slarskey came up with Plinkoball, a game in which kids launch balls at funnels and calculate their scores based on where they were standing and the balls path to the ground.

Technology Closes Distance Between Kids, Schools
In the not-so-distant past, students had pen pals in other states and countries to learn about life elsewhere. Now with the help of Skype and other technology, kids are able to chat and work on assignments with students from across the district or across the world.

Students Experiment as Mad Scientists for a Day
Whats better than a hands-on science experiment? A school full of them! One Maryland elementary school holds a Mad Scientist Day so students and their parents can try all kinds of science activities. Included: Description of Mad Scientist Day projects.

Discount Card Fundraising Made Easy
Tired of the same old fundraising approaches? Discount card fundraisers are gaining in popularity. These fundraisers are a win-win for your entire community. Your school or organization can earn money while local businesses gain exposure and new customers.

Social Networking Tips for Teachers
Social networking in the classroom? Absolutely, says Facebooks chief security officer Joe Sullivan. Its educational and safe -- if you follow the rules.

Fundraising Q&A: Commonly Asked Questions
Do you have more questions than answers about current fundraising opportunities? Jenny Ann (her full name) has heard all the questions, and here she answers a few of the most common ones she gets from people responsible for raising money for school and community groups.

Using Quizzes to Measure Teaching Effectiveness
Quick quizzes throughout the day can help teachers assess the effectiveness of their instruction as well as student understanding of the concepts taught. Online quiz-making software can significantly simplify the entire process.

School Photo Day Made Easy
Do your school photos make you cringe? Professional photographer Linda Russell shares with teachers, parents, and students her tips for creating frame-able -- and embarrassment-free -- school portraits.

Dont Go Back to School Without a Flu Shot
As teachers and administrators finalize all the last-minute details for the start of a new school year, the American Lung Association wants them to remember to include an influenza vaccination in their back-to-school preparations.

Designing Schools That Enhance Student Learning
The average school and classroom designs havent changed in decades, but some architects maintain that a few renovations could make classrooms more student-centered and lead improvements in test scores.

Teachers Turn Classes Into Boot Camps
On a mission to improve student performance, some schools are starting boot camp-like programs to motivate kids before state tests. Student recruits march, chant, do sit ups, and pull for their battle buddies. Included: Tips for setting up a boot camp.

Intro to Fundraising: You Need to Raise Money, Now What?
Your fundraising efforts can either be a source of frustration or a unity-building way to make much needed money for your group -- so it is important to make the right choices, plan ahead, set a timeline, and rally the troops. Included: Tips for fundraising success.

Tools for Teaching Supplies Specifics for PBIS and RtI
The objective of Tools for Teaching for the past 40 years has been to develop specific classroom management procedures that prevent both discipline and instruction problems.

Staff Book Clubs Enhance Professional Development
When funding became available for staff book clubs, educators in Hamilton County, Tennessee, jumped at the chance to read professional literature. Teachers continue to read and discuss books about instructional and professional development strategies.

Creative Commons: Transforming Education Through More Accessible Resources
The Internet and digital technologies have transformed how people learn. Creative Commons provides the legal and technical infrastructure that makes it possible for educational resources to be widely accessible, adaptable, interoperable, and discoverable.

Academic Boot Camps Get Students in Test Shape
Concentrated reading and test-taking instruction in small groups -- known as boot camps -- is one of the strategies a California school district uses to help elementary and middle-school students on the cusp of proficiency improve their reading and test scores.

Students Pumped Up Over Fitness Rooms
Stairmasters and bicep curls are not just for adults anymore. Some schools have opened fitness rooms where students exercise and track their progress. Students enthusiasm is drawing in parents and community members as well. Included: Fitness rooms in action.

Student Mentors Encourage Wise Choices
A mentoring program brings middle schoolers into primary classrooms to teach lessons about manners, bullying, and more. The primary students are putting the lessons to good use. The older students confidence has grown and they take academics more seriously.

Creating Learning Communities: A Model for Ongoing Professional Development
The professional development model presented here represents an easy-to-implement program that makes disseminating information all the more personal, practical, and applicable.

Creating Learning Communities: Reaffirming our Roles as Lifelong Learners
The process of creating a learning community involves a step-wise, top-down process that recognizes that professional development programs need to combine an element of self-directedness, as well as connect to the collective environment.

Principals Blog to Share and Archive School News
While traditional newsletters can be overlooked and lost in bottomless bookbags, blogs are timely, accessible, and fun. Principals who use them say blogs are simple to set up and easy to update. Included: Tips for beginners from experienced principal bloggers.

Summer Expo Connects Kids With Careers
In one Illinois community, an annual summer job fair puts high schoolers in touch with summer employment, volunteer, and enrichment opportunities. Companies, camps, and community groups present opportunities that can set students on the path to a career.

Creating Student Engagement
To create student engagement, the teacher must succeed in managing both discipline and instruction. If kids are goofing off, you wont get much engagement.

Planting Seeds in Future Scientists
Research shows that interest in science must be fostered before students get to seventh grade. Engaging future scientists is the reason one Maryland middle school presents an annual night full of science exploration and enlightening presentations.

Principals Strive to Boost School Spirit
Every school experiences its share of challenges, but an invisible were-all-in-this-together spirit can go a long way toward carrying a school community through the highs and lows of a year. Included: Principals share their favorite spirit-building activities.

Authors with Artifacts
Through a writers’ workshop, participating fifth graders gathered family “artifacts,” learned their meaning, and created books that explained them. They also constructed wooden family artifact boxes that will last long after the lesson has passed.

Distinctive Charity Shares Stache of Cash with Schools
They may not be commonly recognized as a philanthropic group, but in cities across the United States men are banding together to raise fuzz and then razing that fuzz as part of a unique charity -- Mustaches for Kids -- that generates money for kids in local schools.

Keeping Kids Above the Line
Above and below are concepts most children grasp at a young age -- so that is the basis for the Above the Line behavior management approach, which stresses teaching children to keep their behavior Above the Line and encourages them to fix it when its not.

Planner Nights for Parents Give Students a Jump on Projects
Teachers were concerned about students effort on projects, so the schools Title I teacher planned a Project Planner Night. Parents appreciated this chance to gather project materials, clarify instructions, see sample A and C projects from previous years, and more.

Competition Spurs Energy Savings
One district recently challenged school leaders and other staff 93 identify ways to reduce energy consumption and help cut the districts electric bill. In return, schools that reduced consumption the most got to share in the savings. Could this idea work in your district?

The Process of Growth and Change
Training is the easy part of effective professional development. The hard part is follow-through. Follow-through requires organizational change to support personal change.

Fun Nights Teach Parents How to Teach Kids
To increase parent involvement both in school and at home, one intermediate school launched a series of Fun Nights to familiarize parents with the curriculum and pass on instructional strategies. Included: Tips to help parents help children with schoolwork.

Project Tutor Helps Boise Students Stay on Target in Reading and Math
An inventory of practices in one school district revealed that many of its schools were deficient in the area of training for school volunteers. Project Tutor was created to prepare community volunteers to work in the neediest schools and support reading and math instruction.

Principal Traits That Teachers Appreciate
Principals try to cultivate traits that improve communication, demonstrate respect, and inspire vision. They say the key to whether those traits take hold school-wide lies in their modeling of them. Included: Principals share the principal traits that matter most.

Music Sends Toes Tapping to Class
When students at one school hear the theme music to "Mission Impossible," they know their mission: to get to class. The music helps set a tone for the day and gets kids moving in a timely fashion. Included: More principals share how they use music to hit the right notes.

Principal Podcasts Get to the Point
Whether they launched their podcasts at the suggestion of a parent or the gentle prodding of a tech-loving staff member, principals who have tried podcasting repeat the same refrain -- it is easy, inexpensive, and effective. Included: Learn about the free podcasting tools.

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 5
At the very foundation of all creativity is novelty; being able to bring something new and fresh to what already exists. Creativity should exist in what we think and believe, as well as in our actions.

Reaching Out to Parents Over Brown-Bag Lunches
Administrators at the school and district level are finding that inviting parents and community members to chat over brown-bag lunches gains them allies in the community and helps keep everyone informed. Included: Tips and topic ideas for brown-bag lunches.

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work with All Kinds of Learners -- Part 4
Connection is a product of mastering the skill of being present. It is the ability to observe, interact, and affect the individuals with whom you co-exist. You can connect because you are aware, which makes you emotionally available to the young children in your class.

Campfire Gatherings Fire-Up Discussions
Camping enthusiast and principal Scott Myers initiated a series of campfire chats with students to free up some planning time for teachers and give students a chance to talk with him in an informal setting. Included: Activities that spur discussion with kids.

Steps for Making Good Schools Great
Good schools can be great schools if staff focus on best practices, common elements for instruction, and strategies to help all students learn, says Dr. Tim R. Westerberg, author of Becoming a Great High School: 6 Strategies and 1 Attitude That Make a Difference.

Renegade Lunch Lady Battles for Better Meals
Chef Ann Cooper, aka The Renegade Lunch Lady, is determined that all children have access to tasty, nutritional school lunches. So shes launched a Web site that could make mystery meat a thing of the past.

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 2
The notion of self-awareness is a concept we believe to be salient whenever questions of relatedness to people or the management of people (especially children) is involved.

The Best Part of My Day
We asked our Principal Files principals What is your favorite part of the school day? Their answers varied widely. As expected, a few prefer the time around the last bell -- but for reasons you might not expect. Included: Whats your favorite part of the day?

Quilting Program Enriches the Fabric of School
Stories are a way to bring individuals in a community closer to each other. Lexington Park (Maryland) Elementary Schools Tellin Stories quilt project turned out to be much more than a needle-and-thread project; it turned into a community bonding experience.

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 1
In this series, we will examine the way an educators understanding of his or her mode of being with young children in the classroom can influence his or her ability to support a diverse population of young learners.

Composting: Reduce Waste, Recycle, and Teach Green Habits in One Fell "Scoop"
Spend a little time in your school's cafeteria, and you may be startled by the amount of food that students are not eating. Rejected scraps are wasteful and fill up garbage cans. Composting takes those scraps and puts them to good use. Can it take root in your school?

Reaching for the Heart: Five Tips for District Communications Directors
Today, press releases and strategic presentations to special groups are only a small part of the positive media attention that’s possible. Learn how school districts can use social media tools to connect with the global audience, circumventing the traditional media to get the real story out there.

Turnaround Principals Are the New Sheriffs in Town
Their mission is to take charge of a failing or struggling school and try to turn it into a model institution. These turnaround principals bring formal training, insight, and instincts to their jobs. Included: Turnaround principals share strategies.

Annual Day of Parent Appreciation
From early in the school year, parents in Philadelphia schools receive a clear message that they are appreciated. "Parent Appreciation Day" recognizes the contributions of families and shares information about services to help parents navigate through life.

Learning Communities Share Resources, Strategies
For too long, teacher-to-teacher communication meant exchanging weekend plans in the faculty room. In professional learning community schools, teachers develop interim assessments, common goals, and share best practices.

VIP Families Honored for Involvement
Miami schools recognize their Very Involved Parents (VIPs) at an annual Family Involvement Festival. The district has made a special effort to define what a VIP is, to provide a standard that can be understood by the whole community and attainable by all parents.

Children's Museums "Exhibit" Educational Outreach
If you aren't lucky enough to have a children's museum nearby, you might be surprised to discover that many museums dont just open their doors to actual students and teachers; they also reach out to those who can't visit in person.

Teachers Observing Teachers Sparks Discussions, New Ideas
Looking for a way to encourage more collaboration and reflection among his staff, principal Terry Bradley worked with university professors to implement peer walk-throughs. The observations and discussions have changed the way teachers teach.

Keeping Teachers in the Family
To reduce the number of teachers lost to other schools or professions, administrators at two schools initiated programs to acclimate teachers new to the profession and the school to help them feel part of the family. Included: Tips for helping new teachers feel at home.

PE Curriculum Jumpstarts an Active Lifestyle
Fishing, cycling, and ping pong may not be expected aspects of the physical education curriculum, but they are up-and-comers. PE is getting a redo, with an eye toward exposing students to the kinds of active games that can be enjoyed throughout life.

A Parent Engagement Model That Works
Parent engagement efforts have resulted in the formation of school/community gardens, increased affordable housing opportunities, safer neighborhoods, better economic opportunities, and increased student achievement.

A Community of Angels
The "Angels" got their start in one Detroit school when a benefactor provided a Thanksgiving turkey for every student enrolled. Over time, other "angels" have joined in the effort to ensure that every family has a true Thanksgiving celebration.

Applying High Expectations to Everyone
Principal Dr. Gerald Gary knew his students could do better -- he just had to convince them and their families. He improved student achievement and changed the schools culture by setting high expectations for everyone in the building.

Firm Finding Formula for At-Risk-Students
Hard-to-reach students are a vexing problem at any age. Some schools are seeing success with reluctant learners by combining personal attention, high expectations, personal technology use, and flexible schedules. Included: A school for reluctant learners.

Collaboration Dinners Bring Together Staff, Parents
After a family dinner at school, daycare is provided for the students, who work on homework while the adults convene in another room where they work in small groups to define the schools mission and create an action plan for ensuring success.

This Old Lounge
If your teachers lounge leaves something to be desired, learn from expert Evette Ros and talented teachers and community members who have donned their tool belts and remodeled their lounges affordably.

Principal Turns Bat Presence Into Teachable Moment
Bats typically are not welcome indoors, and when bats in a school gymnasium raised concerns about potential attacks on students, a principal turned to a biologist to give the school and greater community an education about these misunderstood winged mammals.

Money Fun: Investing in Families and Math Skills
Each year, students and families come to share a night of family fun that really "adds up." The night includes games such as "Crack the Safe," which requires students to guess the amount of candy in a safe, to "Roll Down the Debt," a dice game about place value.

Camp Out Lures Dads to Get Involved
The Dad's Club Camp Out is one of the most looked-forward-to events of the school year. This is not just another event; it's involvement for the entire family -- the entire community. The most wonderful part is that each year the event grows in size and scope.

"Extreme Read--Warrior Style" Connects Kids, Parents, Teachers Through Books
Students at one Florida middle schools read and discuss young adult novels as part of the school's annual "Extreme Read." The experience gives students a chance to see those around them -- peers, parents, and even the math teacher -- as fellow readers.

School Adopts Yoga for Wellness, Behavior Management
Yoga, once linked primarily with Eastern religions, has found its way into the mainstream of life and U.S. classrooms. One Illinois school reported better test scores and fewer discipline problems after adopting a school-wide yoga program.

Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 4
Regularly engaging in healthy crucial conversations can be enormously helpful, not only in avoiding being consumed, but also in restoring much of the meaning and joy that attracted teachers to education in the first place.

Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 3
Five crucial conversations drive educational excellence while preventing teacher burnout. The last three of those conversations concern uncooperative colleagues, unsupportive parents, and students with discipline problems.

Bringing Back the Arts to Help Boys Learn
Reducing or eliminating art, music, and creative programs to spend more time on academics has been particularly hard on boys, some educators think. Integrating the arts into lessons is helping two schools close the literacy gap between boys and girls.

Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 2
Five crucial conversations drive educational excellence while preventing teacher burnout. The first two of those conversations concern unsupportive leaders and failing teachers.

Hands-On Reform Leads to Big Student Gains
When principal Stephen King decided that struggling readers needed earlier and better intervention, he plunged in with his staff to revamp instruction, assessment, and the curriculum. Test scores rose and the number of special education students declined.

Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 1
Teachers can master the stressors in their environment by engaging more consistently and more effectively in five conversations that are common, impactful and, too often, undiscussable.

"Pizza Party Patrol" Delivers Great Attendance
Students who get themselves to class each day at one Virginia elementary school may earn rewards that are both tangible and tasty. The schools pizza party patrol has motivated improved attendance in a school with the districts highest mobility rate.

Schools Parent University Graduates Active Parents
Rather than lamenting the lack of parent involvement, one Florida elementary school principal decided to reach out to parents and offer them a degree in how to be active parents. The schools Parent University graduated its first class of eager volunteers.

‘Are You Smarter…?’ Events Get Students’ Heads ‘In the Game’
Seeking new and motivating approaches to encourage students to excel on standardized tests, some administrators are borrowing the format of the program Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? to hold family game nights that prep students for those tests.

Student Spellers Earn Dollars for School
While looking for ways to raise money without spending money, a retired teacher heard about a spell-a-thon at another school and brought the idea to her former colleagues. Pledges students earned for correctly-spelled words yielded $15,000 for the school.

Ten Things Ive Learned from My Students
Here I was, thinking that I was in charge of the instruction occurring within our walls. Then it hit me. I found myself simultaneously astonished and inspired at the lessons that were delivered to me by the very students to whom Ive pledged to deliver lessons.

Eight Tips for Successful Online Course Facilitation
Learning is socialand online learning environments engage students in that way. But we have to be careful to avoid trying to engage students in online learning environments with face to face approaches.

Cultivating, Running a Great Parent Volunteer Program
Former teacher Rhonda Joness book Turning Parents into Volunteers features more than 175 pages of step-by-step instructions, tips, ideas, and forms for creating a successful parent volunteer program. Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with Jones.

Project Reach Offers Outstretched Hand to Community
When teachers at one Georgia elementary school recognized the need for more frequent and meaningful dialogue with the parents of their students, they decided to take the conversation directly to the parents in the form of "Project Reach."

Pete Hall: Less Is More
Weve got district initiatives, government regulations, grant stipulations, contracted obligations, state mandates Heck, our plates are full! Lets remove some of the clutter from our plates by removing some of the clutter from our teachers plates.

Sugar Ban in School Yields Positive Results
When Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler was appointed principal, she knew she had a responsibility to change the way students were eating. Poor nutrition was impacting their academic performance and behavior, and she knew good nutrition could improve those things.

Voting for Mascots Teaches About Elections, Inspires Fun
Three schools have used a powerful process that mirrors the presidential electoral process to choose candidates and vote for a school mascot -- a representative symbol that will encourage, inspire, and sometimes entertain them for years to come.

Tools for Teaching Implements Response to Intervention (RTI)
RTI is a multi-level system that focuses on the prevention of learning problems. It is designed to develop capacity for identifying, adapting and sustaining effective instructional practices.

Rejuvenate Recess
To help classroom teachers make the most of recess, even when the weather doesn't cooperate, author and PE expert Guy Bailey shares some of his favorite games.

The Questions I Wish Id Asked When Interviewing for the Principalship
As you prepare to interview for that next school leadership position, Education Worlds Principal Files team offers questions you might ask when the interviewers invite your participation. Included: Ten principals offer the questions they wished theyd asked.

Pete Hall: The Power of Positive Phrasing
At the state gymnastics championships, my daughter learned a valuable lesson about the power of positive phrasing. From her experience we educators might learn the power of framing challenges we face by using words that are uplifting and inspiring.

Practical Moodle Tips for Technology Administrators
How Moodle is used depends on your expertise in setting up Moodle for maximum educational use. Discover practical tips for enhancing Moodle for K-12 district use.

Principals Make Reading a School-Wide Goal
Students pledge to read thousands of pages. First- and fifth-graders buddy up for reading. Those events and others are part of school-wide reading programs at two Minnesota schools. Included: Additional activities to help make reading a school-wide goal.

College Day: A Corridor from Elementary to Academia
College Days at three elementary schools aim to get all students thinking about their futures. Whether the day involves guest speakers, visits to campus, or college courses taught by familiar teachers, the goal is to inspire kids to see themselves as college-bound.

Mix It Up at Lunch Day Teaches Tolerance
Last year, more than 8,000 schools participated in Mix It Up at Lunch Day, an event in which students gain new understandings -- and friends -- by eating with kids with whom they might not otherwise connect. Included: Three schools Mix It Up experiences.

No Fuss ”Green” Projects
Students at The Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, participate in "green" projects that capitalize on their energy and commitment, but don't overtax their busy school days.

Artsonia: Online Gallery Raises Funds, Art Awareness, and Self-Esteem
At a time when money for the arts is limited, one online resource seeks to support local schools in one broad stroke. Artsonias is a masterpiece: a fundraiser for the arts and a free online gallery for student artwork. Included: Tips for Artsonia newbies.

Carlton Ashby: They Are All Our Children
Any impact I have had on the lives of kids I visit in juvenile detention centers is overshadowed by the impact they have had on mine. Those visits are reminders that it is my job to be an advocate for all children -- from those in kindergarten to those incarcerated.

Tools for Teaching Tips for Substitutes
Consider two different perspectives when applying Tools for Teaching to the job of substitute teaching. The first is when you are about to have a substitute. The second is when you are about to be a substitute.

Bus of the Month Program Drives Better Behavior
In an effort to improve school bus behavior, two elementary schools started the Bus of the Month program, honoring the bus with the most thumbs up for good behavior in one month. Included: A description of a unique bus behavior program.

Every School Has One: Principals Share Tips for Working With Negative People
Most schools have a staff member or two who stand out for their negative attitudes. Allowed to fester, that attitude could infect others and eventually an entire school community. Included: Principal Files team members share how they handle negativity.

Lessons Learned from Dogs in the Classroom
Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills. Meet Morgan, Sadie, and Lucky, three dogs that are teaching students and their teachers lessons theyll carry all their lives. Included: Eighteen lessons learned from dogs.

Moodle-izing Your Education Enterprise
Moodle is one of those technologies that can transform how you handle online professional development and student learning.

Rainforest Rescue: The Earth Foundation Project
Its important that our youth understand the impact of rainforest destruction and become part of the solution. The Earth Foundation project is one way they can do that.

Pete Hall: Hope Aint a Strategy
As a noun, hope is a beautiful thing. Its what we all hold onto when we think about the future, about our children, our country, and our favorite baseball teams. Hope is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. But hope aint a strategy for improving schools.

Cultural Experience Night
Students and families gathered at one Illinois elementary school to enjoy entertainment and cuisine from places like Africa, Ireland, the Philippines, and more. The goal of this event is to improve students relationships and interactions with each other.

Teachers Lead Improvement at State Street School
Teachers at one Rhode Island elementary school are spearheading school-wide improvement, and the results have been positive. Principal Victor Ventura guides the improvements, but the teachers energy and commitment are making it happen.

Elementary, Middle Schoolers Glimpse the Future With Career Events
"Career day" and "career fair" events arent just for high school. Exposing kids of all ages to the world of work can broaden their perspectives. Included: Tips to creating a successful career day at the elementary or middle school levels.

Five Lessons for Mobile Device Implementation
Because many school districts are just embarking on implementation of mobile devices, Ive provided five lessons that should be considered before implementation.

School-Wide Rewards Improve Behavior, Boost Achievement
Many schools use rewards as one part of their school-wide effort to boost student achievement and test scores. Others reward attendance, behavior, attributes of student character, homework completion, or other pieces of the student achievement puzzle.

Psst! Have You Been to an NCTM Conference Lately?
There's something for every preK-12 math educator at an NCTM Annual Meeting. Here's one teacher's view on what to expect, why it's worth attending, and how to get the most out of the experience.

Excellence on a Shoestring
Keeping our program alive and well in the face of budget cuts requires training that can be done on a shoestring, and support and follow-through that costs nothing.

Principal for a Day: Kids Take a Walk in the Principal's Shoes
Have a goal for the students in your school? At your disposal is one of the most desirable and inexpensive incentives you might hope to find -- your job! As an auction item or reward, nothing can motivate kids more than to be your schools "Principal for a Day."

Brain-Friendly Teaching: Putting Brain-Friendly Strategies to Work
Marilee Sprenger discusses how to put brain-friendly strategies to work in the classroom and how teachers can avoid their own senior moments.

Brain-Friendly Teaching: From Sensory to Long-Term Memory
"BrainLady" Marilee Sprenger follows a seven-step process for taking information from students’ sensory memory to long-term memory.

Brain-Friendly Teaching: Strategies to Improve Memory
Neuroscience expert Marilee Sprenger shares what teachers need to know about the brain to help students learn and remember.

Dog Training and American Schools
So there I was, walking my pup down the snowy streets as I trained him to sit, stay, and get the neighbors cat, and then it came to me. If we really want to fix the American school system, we need to approach it more like training a puppy

Students Secondhand Store Earns Three Cheers from Community
A service-learning course led students at one school to develop a secondhand store that provides a community service, donates funds to charities, and even brings shoppers to struggling businesses nearby. Plus, it teaches students business and other skills.

"Classroom Coordinators" Capitalizes on Community Talent
The Classroom Coordinator (CC) program at one Minnesota elementary school is an organized effort to maintain a small-town, grassroots feel within the school community. This family-community-school partnership is one that truly benefits all students.

Senior Projects a Win-Win for Students, Community
Troubled by the lack of direction shown by seniors, staff members at one school decided to give them an experience that might give them some focus. The surprising outcomes for students and the surrounding community have impressed school staff and parents alike.

Pete Hall: Presentation Style -- Nonfat, Double-Shot, Medium, With a Splenda
Off I went, prepared to be mesmerized by a highly respected convention presenter. Fifteen minutes into the presentation: Zzzzzzz. Should I stay and catch up on sleep? Is it OK to bail? What are the best practices when it comes to presentations?

Carlton Ashby: Transforming Boys Into Men of VALOR
A few years ago, my colleagues discussed ways in which we might improve behavior, academics, and retention rates for the boys we taught. That discussion led to a mentorship program called Men of VALOR (which is an acronym for the life skills we hoped to develop).

Lack of School Nurses Impacts Students Health, Academics
At a time when schools have more students with serious medical conditions, many schools cannot expand nursing coverage or are reducing it. School nurses say educators must recognize their vital role in keeping students safe and able to learn, and make hiring nurses a priority.

Positive Discipline Management: Tips for Successful Implementation
Training is the easy part of effective professional development. The hard part is follow-through. Follow-through requires organizational change to support personal change.

Fitness Program Fortifies Bodies, Minds
Integrating a fitness and nutrition program into everyday lessons helped some elementary students tone up and prepare for a competition. On the way to the contest, students learned more about healthful eating, lost weight, and improved their test scores.

Support from One Family to Another
When students' families feel the economic pinch, volunteers rush to the rescue! The Family Connection at Naperville (Illinois) North High School meets the needs of students and their families anonymously as it strives to set an example of service and selfless giving.

Male Teachers Show That Real Men Read
A library media specialist thought posters showing real men reading and men talking about the benefits of reading could be just the thing to encourage more boys to pick up books. The Real Men Read program is so successful that it has spread to other schools.

Pete Hall: The National Boards and Your School
Purchasing more computers and implementing the most recent save-the-world boxed programs are two ways to raise achievement. But neither of them can trump the one thing we all know makes the biggest difference in education.

Game Room Enhances Successful School Turn-Around
When Constance Burnes saw her efforts to improve student behavior and performance at Wilkerson Middle School pay off, she listened to the students when it came to deciding on a reward. She invested in a high-tech game room that is a powerful student motivator.

Carlton Ashby: Making the Most of Parent-Teacher-Student Conference Time
A recent conference has Carlton Ashby reflecting again on the importance of relationships -- in this case, the parent-teacher relationship. Parent-teacher conferences are an ideal opportunity to reinforce these relationships that are key to helping students achieve.

School Foundations Help Out in Hard Times
Many communities are coming to the aid of their schools by setting up educational foundations that channel private donations toward specific schools or programs. Included: Foundation directors share tips for getting a new foundation off the ground.

Night of Math Games Preps Families and Kids for Tests
"The most memorable moment from our testing kickoff and math game night event was the evening's icebreaker activity -- a round of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? that pitted a team of volunteer parents against a group of students"

Teaching Service Is Part of Principal's Mission
Despite the pressures on schools to focus more on academics, Dr. Shannon Vincent is convinced it's her job as principal to teach students the value of service. She began a year-long, school-wide service program that engages students and their parents.

Schools 100 Mile Club Offers Exercise, Focus
With student fitness levels dropping and recess scuffles escalating, one school started a 100 Mile Club to improve student fitness and focus, and to provide some structure at recess. Students walk at least a half-mile daily to meet the goal of completing 100 miles.

Principal for a Day Programs Provide Lasting Benefits
Numerous school districts use the Principal for a Day experience to connect with businesses and community leaders for a few hours once a year. But many of those experiences turn into lasting partnerships that strengthen the school community and benefit students.

Five Essential Tech Tools for School Administrators (Part 3)
As an administrator who uses technology in K-12 settings, I like the idea of using technology to R.E.A.C.H. out to parents and create opportunities for learning and dialogue.

Pete Hall: 57 Games
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak -- The Streak -- is untouchable. Or so they say. For "they" who say it can't be beat, Pete Hall says Hogwash! That "can't" attitude is the only thing holding back many schools from breaking achievement records too.

Districts Offer Incentives to Curb Teacher Absences
Several recent studies showing the negative impact of teacher absences on student achievement, plus rising substitute costs, have prompted some districts to offer teachers incentives to reduce the number of days they take off.

SAMs Free Principals from Administrative Tasks
Many principals have the training and desire to work on curriculum and instructional strategies, but are buried under administrative tasks. School Administration Managers (SAMs) free principals to meet with students and teachers to improve instruction and learning.

"Sharing the Dream": A Grant Competition Links Schools and Communities
Do you find it difficult to maintain a strong and healthy bond between your school and the community? This is just what the National Association of Elementary School Principals hopes to foster with its "Sharing the Dream" grant competition.

Five Essential Tech Tools for School Administrators (Part 2)
In the second of a 3-part series on essential tools, we explore blogging. Of all the tools available, this one tool has the potential to bring about the most change in your learning and leading situation.

Recess Is Alive, (Mostly) Well A few years ago parent groups were angered by news that recess was being eliminated at many schools. A new report shows that most elementary schools continue to offer recess, although children may get less time to play. Included: New information on the status of recess.

School Makes "Community Read" Its Own
A local librarys community reading program has given rise to a month-long family reading program at Meadow Glens Elementary School in Naperville, Illinois. The program, which is focused on family literacy, has been a big success.

Your Schools Main Office: Setting a Tone for the Entire School
Is your schools main office set up to be a truly welcoming place? Is its layout conducive to conducting business? Are there tools in your office that you couldnt live without? Our Principal Files team answers those questions and offers tips for improving the office environment.

Recess Is Alive, (Mostly) Well
A few years ago parent groups were angered by news that recess was being eliminated at many schools. A new report shows that most elementary schools continue to offer recess, although children may get less time to play.

GoodSearch: Fundraising Through Internet Searching
You may be surprised to learn of a program that requires little effort and capitalizes on something everyone in your school community is already doing -- searching the Internet. GoodSearch, a search engine powered by Yahoo!, donates revenue to participating schools.

Reading and Math "Carnival" Equals Low-Stress Test Prep
A Hampton, Virginia, school prepares elementary students for standardized tests with "Reading and Math Mania." It is the most well-attended event of the year, and it helps staff get to know families by connecting with them in an open and lively setting.

Recognizing the Stars on Your Staff
Chances are the stars on your staff dont expect or require recognition, but you want to recognize and support them in any way you can. So just how do you reward their above-and-beyond efforts? Members of our Principal Files team share what they do.

Five Essential Tech Tools for Campus Administrators (Part 1)
Many administrative tasks could be made easier with the use of technology; these are the five tasks I believe have the most potential to be enhanced by technology-related tools.

Pete Hall: Charismatic Leaders and Ego
Are you a principal with charisma? While it is good to caution against blindly following charismatic leaders, Pete Hall issues a word of defense for all our charismatic colleagues out there: charisma is not a personality deficit. Nor is ego.

Hispanic Families Hear and Are Heard
As the Hispanic population increased, parent participation did not. So one elementary school reached out to Hispanic parents to learn what they needed. The result is increased participation, higher achievement, and an unbreakable bond between school and home.

PBIS Rules, Rewards Boost Behavior and Academics
By relying on concise rules and frequent rewards, principals say the PBIS approach to school-wide behavior management drastically reduces discipline problems and improves academic performance among all students.

Practicing Love & Logic Can Mean Happier Schools
Stressing positive teacher-student relationships, empathetic adults, and differentiated consequences, the Love & Logic approach to behavior management has fans among teachers and parents. Included: Nine essential skills for teachers practicing Love & Logic.

Discipline with Dignity Stresses Positive Motivation
The Discipline with Dignity approach teaches educators to create positive motivators for kids so they take responsibility for their own behavior. Included: Examples of Discipline with Dignity in action.

Bidding for Dollars: Online Auctions Help Schools Earn Cash
As budgets stretch to the breaking point, public schools are discovering the powerful fundraising possibilities of the auction with a technological twist. The flexibility, convenience, and popularity of online auctions enable schools to tap a limitless base of supporters.

Practical Advice for Coping With Difficult Kids, Parents
We’ve all experienced them -- the student or parent who not only pushes your buttons but leans on them until relief seems impossible. Building relationships with students and keeping yourself calm when issues arise can mean fewer conflicts.

Teaching Heroes, Toss the Zeros
Facing grade books filled with zeros, some teachers have decided that they simply won't accept incomplete assignments or "zeros." They have created programs that get the work done and improve students’ grades and self-confidence. Included: Three approaches that work.

Students "Stand Tall" Against Bullying
In a proactive attempt to squelch "bullying" behavior before it even emerges, one school district embraced an anti-bullying theme. Students were encouraged across the ages and the curriculum to avoid bullying behaviors and to help the victims.

Paired Schools Work Together to Solve Problems, Boost Achievement
Principals usually work in isolation, with few opportunities to share ideas. But since the Newport News Public Schools started pairing up elementary schools, more principals are sharing ideas, resources, talents, and strategies to make all schools successful.

Student Showcase Highlights Science and More
When one principal suggested a spring open house to complement one held in the fall, it was decided to combine the event with an already scheduled science fair to create one huge "showcase" of student work. The event has become a mainstay at the school.

The School Day:
Fitting In Everything Requires Creative Scheduling

Making time in the school day to emphasize academics, tutor students who need help, schedule planning times for teams, or meet many other needs is a challenge all principals face. Our Principal Files team shares how they make time for these things and more.

Middle Schoolers Apply Their "Talents" to Musical Production
One middle school's annual play has become firmly ingrained in the culture of our school. It is a great fundraiser and a wonderful team builder that crosses many divides. . It is also a lot of work, but well worth the time."

Big Test Pep Rallies:
2, 4, 6, 8 -- Taking Tests and Feeling Great!

A little stress over tests can keep kids on their toes, but too much will knock them off their feet. Lowering test stress is why many schools are using the popular "pep rally" to get students excited and motivated to do their best. Included: Cheers, skits, and more.

Pete Hall: Get Your Learnin On
Education fluctuates more than a rattlesnakes temperature. We cannot wait two years, then emerge and ask, What did I miss? Education moves much too fast for that. So what can we do to keep our heads in the game? Here are some ideas

Use Personality Types to Structure Staff Development
Can you recognize the Bricks, the Rebels, or Knowledge Royals in your school? Chances are you have some of those personality types on your faculty. Any or all of them can sabotage staff development efforts. But only if you give them the chance.

Advisories Inspire, Motivate Students
Helping students focus on what makes them happy and building connections to themselves, people, and institutions is part of the successful formula for a two-year advisory program at one Missouri middle school.

Principals Reflect on Teachers Who Made a Difference in Their Lives
Who was the teacher who had the most significant impact on your life? That’s the question we posed to our “Principal Files” principals. Their responses confirm that the most respected teachers are those who take time to build relationships with their students.

Assessing Technology Integration
We asked members of the Education World Tech Team What kinds of activities, lessons, resources, and so on should an administrator, parent, or other observer expect to see in a classroom in which technology is being appropriately -- and seamlessly -- integrated? Read what they said.

Morning Meetings in Middle School:
An Elementary Ritual Grows Up

Many elementary classes start each morning with a meeting, but more and more middle school teachers are realizing that their students crave the community and camaraderie of the morning meeting too. Included: Four components of a morning meeting.

Pete Hall: The Bulls-Eye of School Discipline
Remember that time when there was a line of students awaiting their punishments outside your office door? The school day was a blur of black eyes, name-calling, and disobedience. That was this morning, really? Oh, you mean that happens every day?

Paperless Packets Save Money, the Environment
School board packets in the Tolleson (Arizona) Union High School District used to take days and reams of paper to prepare. Now all the information is presented and archived online, not only saving the district time and money, but also helping the environment.

Principals Favorite Read-Aloud Books: 2008
Do you love to read aloud to students? If so, you understand that modeling a joy of reading is one of the most valuable things you can do. So what is the book you most love to share? Here are our Principal Files principals favorites. Please add yours!

Principals’ Classrooms Visits Help Build Better Readers
When principals and literacy coaches understand what students are learning and teachers are teaching -- and participate in literacy lessons -- they set a positive tone for the school that can lead to improvement in reading, say author and educator Dr. Beth Whitaker.

Sports4Kids: Reforming Recess by Teaching the Rules of Play
Is recess the most harried time of your day? A time when fights and visits to the nurse's office skyrocket? Before you eliminate recess, consider these principals’ thoughts about Sports4Kids, a program that has reformed their playgrounds and restored order to recess.

Organizing Staff Meetings Even You Want to Attend
Do you run your staff meetings like press briefings -- that is, read the news and run? More principals should use faculty meetings as opportunities for problem-solving and professional development, according to the authors of Energizing Staff Meetings.

Stop It!
The principalship is one step shy of One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, so a little diversion is nice. But when all the diversions in our day get in the way of what is most important, we need to say Stop it! because sometimes succinct wins.

Developing, Retaining Strong Teachers in the Schools That Need Them Most
Too often, beginning teachers in urban schools or teachers new to an urban setting become frustrated when their students don’t respond to them. It’s not that they are bad teachers -- they just need to learn how to reach out more to students and their parents.

Yearbooks Capture Elementary, Middle School Memories
The yearbook is a classic souvenir of high school days, but today elementary and middle schools are getting into the act. Preserving the priceless moments and toothless smiles of young children is the goal of hardworking advisors, parents, and students.

Interviewing for the Principalship: Tips from Principals
Interviewing can be a grueling process. But aspiring principals can relieve the pain by heeding this advice from our Principal Files team. Included: Practice interview questions, sound advice, plus a few surprises that might be encountered along the way.

Getting the Most Out of School Counselors
While elementary-school guidance
counselors still are not the norm, those that are assigned to schools can provide valuable support to students, teachers, parents, and principals. The key is to let them do their jobs.

Pete Hall: Leading Off the Edge of the Map
It might not surprise you to come across in a column about principal leadership names the likes of Thomas Edison and Ferdinand Magellan. So how the heck did Pete Hall manage to add to that mix Rowlf the Dog
from The Muppet Show? Follow along

In-School Daycare Benefits Faculty, Community
One of the biggest headaches for working parents -- particularly mothers -- is reliable childcare. A district that opened an on-site daycare center for employees and the community finds it gives administrators an edge in recruiting and retaining faculty.

Principals Share Lessons Learned About Communicating With Parents, Others
Seldom does a day go by when most school leaders dont learn something new about the importance of communication. Here, our team of experienced Principal Files principals share their thoughts and tips about best practices in communication.

Kids Learn Better With a Song in Their Hearts
Do you recall the multiplication tables, grammatical terms, or historical documents because of a song you learned as a kid? Educators recognize that teaching with song makes learning not only more fun, but more effective and long-lasting.

Ten Ideas for a Successful Take Your Family to School Week
PTA Take Your Family to School Week is just one of the PTA programs revitalizing parent involvement in education. This special week in February is easy to implement too, with these ten ideas and the PTAs online guide and poster.

Souper Bowl Connects Kids to Their Communities
Dont miss this opportunity for your school to connect with the community during Super Bowl week. Each year, the Souper Bowl of Caring involves students as they collect millions of pounds of food to benefit local organizations. Participation tips included.

Pete Hall: Confronting Concerns With Teacher Performance
The time is now to confront the malpractice being committed by teachers who dont pull their weight. If there are children in that teachers classroom, we have an obligation to provide the best possible learning environment and to insist upon excellence from that teacher.

Community Scavenger Hunt Teaches Research Skills, Much More
When armies of students descend on local libraries, it has to be time for the State of Jefferson Scavenger Hunt. The three-day event challenges kids to track down answers to a series of questions. The results include improved research skills, priceless memories.

Guidelines for Grading Principals Stress Multiple Benchmarks
Concerned that administrators might not have enough input into NCLB-inspired criteria for assessing principals, a national principal association has offered criteria that include more than test scores. Included: NASSPs recommendations, comments from NAESP.

Reformers, School Leaders Work Closely to Improve Schools
Sometimes an outside perspective is what is needed to jump-start change. Some districts are committing to reform through long-term partnerships with foundations and centers that can provide consultants, money, and other resources.

If You Were Handed a $10,000 Windfall
Principals can make a seemingly small windfall like $10,000 go a long way! Thats what we learned this month when we gave members of our Principal Files team $10,000 to spend. The principals offered wise tips for spending in ways that add true value.

Study Circles Help Gather Input, Solve Problems
Many schools and communities use study circles to ensure that diverse perspectives are represented as they address issues such as the achievement gap, redistricting, building projects, racism, and bullying. Included: Tips for starting a study circle.

Pete Hall: Whos Doing the Work Here, Anyway?
Ill just spit this out there: Its time that we, as educators, evaluate everything that we do in our classrooms. Many of us are spending a tremendous amount of time and a monumental amount of energy in low-yield practices.

One Book, One School, One Community: A Singular Reading Experience
Driven by the desire to enhance literacy skills and bring together generations, these three schools organized One Book community reading activities. Is this something your school might do? Included: Tips for choosing the right literary selection for a community read.

Twenty-Five Ideas for Celebrating American Education Week
American Education Week was first celebrated in 1921 as a way to help raise Americas literacy rate. Today, AEW offers a special opportunity for educators to shine a light on the great things they do. Included: Twenty-five ideas for celebrating AEW in your school.

Principals Promote Reading Aloud With Special Award
Are you a principal who is looking for a special way to recognize Childrens Book Week this year? You can share your love of reading and set a great example for students by reading aloud the five books nominated for the 2008 Principals Read Aloud Award.

A Leap in Leadership
True leaders (and their followers) will not resort to throwing up their hands in despair. It is imperative that leaders create a culture of empowerment, a place where creative problem solving reigns. True leaders do not perpetuate a culture of We Cannot Do.

More Schools Turn to Extended Days
Hours of test preparation, especially in underperforming schools, has left little time for electives or even some of the un-tested basic subjects. Adding time to the school year and day has helped some schools improve their scores and flesh out their curriculums.

Pete Hall: Whos Your Joey Amalfitano?
You wake up late, you burn the toast, the cat vomited on the rug and you find out by stepping in it, you leave the house just barely behind schedule but then have to stop for gas Ever had a day like that? Thats the day you have to find your Joey Amalfitano.

Is This "It" for Tag?
Schools in a handful of states have recently made news headlines by banning tag on their playgrounds. While school officials seek to make playgrounds safer, others disagree with the decision to eliminate tag. Included: Views from the trenches and the benches.

Principals Share Programs That Work
There are hundreds of programs out there. Some claim to raise student achievement. Others aim to improve student behavior, stop bullying, or keep kids off drugs But do these programs work? Included: Principals share ten programs that work.

Principals' Feats Fuel Fabulous Reading
What would students do to see their principal throw cow chips, spend a night on the roof, or get slimed? It turns out that they will do a great deal -- of reading! Principals everywhere are capitalizing on their students' desire to see them perform wacky stunts.

Social Studies Fairs Inspire Young Historians
Picture a room filled with colorful project displays and students who look like they just stepped out of the pages of a history book -- and you are imagining the view teachers, parents, and students alike enjoy during a social studies fair. Tips included.

Partners for Student Success: Parenting Workshops
Principal Becky Ford worked closely with her district's parent liaison to design parent support workshops for students who had behavior issues. Strategies to help children become better students were presented, including tips for using reward systems at home.

Volunteers and Mentors Add So Much to a School
Setting up and maintaining a strong volunteer or mentor program is not an easy task. But most principals who take time to recognize the immediate and countless benefits of establishing volunteer programs feel the extra effort is well worth it.

Forging Relationships With the Larger Community Pays Off Big-Time
Schools cannot afford to function independent of other segments of their communities. Now, more than ever, it is essential that schools form relationships with community members, groups, and agencies for the mutual benefit of the students and schools.

Experienced Administrators Share Their Advice With Aspiring Principals
Twenty-three students in George Pawlas's graduate educational leadership course recently interviewed experienced school administrators to learn, What two pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring administrator? Here is what they said.

Take Care of the People Who Take Care of You
The words of a local dentist's grandmother have got me reflecting on what school principals can and should do for their internal and external publics and members of their immediate families. "Taking care" efforts with all three groups are vitally important.

Crisis Planning -- Have You Done Yours?
No one can predict when or where the next disaster or tragedy will strike, so principals must be prepared to deal with any possible crisis. Principals who develop effective crisis plans are those who understand the true meaning of the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Teacher Selection Counts: Six Steps to Hiring
As principals, we feel an enormous amount of pressure to staff our buildings with strong, effective, intelligent people. If youve ever had to fill a teaching vacancy, you know how hard that is: Hard as a coffin nail. Included: Tips for getting the right people on the bus.

Mapping Instruction With Interim Assessments
Officials in one school district needed to know if their instructional interventions were working. They needed data reported more often than state tests could provide, so they created an online assessment tool that has improved instruction and raised test scores.

For Hungry Kids, Backpacks Lighten Load
Students who are disruptive, can't concentrate, or lack motivation may not need a firm hand; they might, instead, need a helping hand. Principals in many states have initiated programs that fill backpacks with food to help kids get the fuel they need to flourish.

Teachers Take Lead in Instructional Talk Throughs
To meet teachers professional development needs, one districts administrators developed Instructional Talk Throughs. Teams of teachers observe colleagues and offer written and verbal feedback. Included: An outline of the Instructional Talk Through

Pete Hall: Reviving the American Dream
Pete Hall is wondering if the American Dream is dying. "As educators, we can teach -- through some direct instruction and intentional role-modeling -- what the American Dream means," he says. Will you be joining Pete in reviving the American Dream this year?

Order in the Cafeteria: Tips for Improving Behavior and Supervision
Some principals have nightmares about cafeteria time. But with rules for traffic flow and behavior firmly in place, many principals say lunchtime can run hitch-free. Included: Tips for improving behavior, training monitors, and planning trouble-free recess time.

The Best Thing About This Year
So what was the best thing to happen in your school this past school year? Was it a special event? A school-wide effort that paid off? A special recognition? A kid who made great strides?... Read what our Principal Files principals had to say.

Paul Young: The No-Hat Rule
Would you agree that manners, civility, and respect for decorum are values that are heading the way of the horse and buggy? Paul Young thinks so. He says a return to teaching manners in school must start at the top -- so take off those ballcaps!

The Five Levels of Principal Leadership
Joe had arrived when in early August, at age 29, he was selected as the principal of Union Elementary School. In a rush to make a great first impression, Joe made a momentous mistake. If only hed read John Maxwells Leadership 101

Have You Got Enough Love to Be a Mentor Principal?
Have you got what it takes to mentor the next generation of school leaders? If youre a principal who has benefited from the helping hand and heart of a skilled mentor, youve no doubt picked up skills that will support you as you grow great teachers and future principals.

Who Is Responsible for Unruly Kids at School Bus Stops?
Community members finally had it with unruly students at a neighborhood bus stop. So they turned to the school for help. After being confronted, the principal knew he had to take action. But how would he handle this potentially dangerous situation?

Paul Young: The Light in the Principals Office
Youve all heard of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is often triggered by the shorter days and longer nights of winter. But have you heard of BAD? Principal Paul Young offers his perspective and a few tips for managing kids who suffer from BAD.

Paul Young: The Omnipresent Principal
To students in a school, the principal often seems to be everywhere. While we know that is physically impossible, there are things that any principal can do to make it seem that way. A principals omnipresence sets a tone for a school and gives it a personality.

Give Yourself the Best Gift -- The Gift of Time
Time. Busy principals always seem to need more of it. So why do they give so much of it away so freely? By gaining control of the time they do have, principals can save precious minutes every day and create more hours in a week for more important things.

Preventing Gridlock -- The Principal Traffic Cops Job
The job of a principal is not all that different from the job of a traffic cop. When gridlock forms in our schools, it is the principal -- the schools traffic controller -- who must make the quick decisions that drive achievement and remove barriers to improvement.

Becoming a Principal Is Like Learning to Swim All Over Again
The lessons Paul Young learned while learning to swim stick with him today. Learning to swim and learning to principal arent all that different, he says. Both require encouragement from trusted teachers. So are you ready to dive into the principalship?

Paul Young: Landing Your First Principalship
When it comes to being interviewed for that first principalship, all principals-to-be can benefit from the experience of a mentor. Mentors help their mentees focus on what must be said rather on what not to say. Included: Tips for aspiring principals.

These Shoes Were Made for Running/Walking
A runner for many years, Principal Kim Pavlovich has created a run/walk program that each week attracts teachers, parents, and more than half the student body to the school track. Included: Tips for starting this simple and inexpensive program in your school.

Beyond Standardized Testing: District Focuses on Assessing the Whole Child
Concerned that high-stakes testing was narrowing student assessment down to a few scores, educators in one Illinois district developed a system to assess a wide range of skills -- including thinking skills and social skills -- they wanted students to master.

Principals on the Move: Tips for Making a Smooth Move
If you have just been assigned to a new school for next school year, or if youre taking your first job as a principal, members of our Principals Files offer practical advice. Included: Tips from principals who have experienced a move or two or more.

Pete Hall: Changing Addresses
Forward this column to anyone you know who will have a new principals office in the coming school year. That includes new principals beginning their first assignments and vets who are moving to new schools or districts. Plus: Tips for starting off on the right foot.

This Is Only a Test
Testing may not be a favorite activity, but it is here to stay. When the adults around them are nervous -- or worse yet, negative -- about standardized tests, students can adopt those attitudes as well. Included: Simple tips to help administrators facilitate a smooth test day.

Teachers, Parents, Kids Bond Over Books
Inviting parents to participate in a book discussion group with teachers has led to better relationships between teachers and parents and a deeper understanding of current education and child-rearing issues. Included: Tips for starting a group at your school.

The Web and Teacher Growth
Do todays classroom teachers have a shelf life? Is it possible that teacher "restlessness" is a natural consequence of life-long learning? Does being on a constant learning curve alter the persona of our profession? How has the Internet contributed to that change?

Pete Hall: Turning Teacher Evaluations on Their Ears
The scheduling, the classroom observations, the reports, the checklists Teacher evaluation time is an exhausting time. Just ask our ulcers. But when you keep SITTM in mind, and pair it with frequent classroom walk-throughs, students end up the big winners.

March Madness
Put me behind a podium, flip the switch, and I can talk the hind leg off a donkey. Its fun, having a platform where you can express your opinion. Its even more fun when people appreciate what you have to say.

Military Veterans Proudly Serving Again, in the Classroom
Former servicemen and women bring to the classroom unique management skills, flexibility in dealing with others, and the ability to respond to nearly any situation. Included: Three troops-turned-teachers talk about the rewards, difficulties of their new.

Showing Appreciation on Secretaries Day
Administrative Professionals Week (formerly called National Secretaries Week) is celebrated each April. What are you doing to recognize the folks in the front office who keep things on an even keel in your school? Here are some practical ideas

Even Little Makeovers Make a Big Difference
Many schools would benefit from an extreme makeover but cant afford one, let alone a coat of paint. Some community volunteers are taking on the job of making over rooms and teacher lounges, surprising and delighting school staff.

The Principal as Troublemaker
Paul Young is past president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). And he is a troublemaker. But, as he describes in this essay, being a troublemaker is a necessary thing for strong school leaders to be.

Administrators Praise Three-Minute Walk-Throughs
Since one North Carolina school district started using three-minute walk-throughs, principals have become more involved with curriculum, provided support for educators, and learned from students. Included: How a three-minute walk-through program works.

Students Clean Up Their Act and "Dare Not To Swear!"
At Bremerton (Washington) High School, the student-generated "Dare Not To Swear!" program has proven that students can be even more effective in reducing swearing than teachers. Included: Two schools approaches, plus Dare Not To Swear! poetry.

Marriage, Family, and the Principalship: Making It All Work
The demands of the principals job cant help but take a toll on marriages and families. According to our Principal Files principals, keeping families intact requires plenty of effort, teamwork, a well-used calendar, and a cell phone with lots of minutes. Included: Principals offer their advice.

Pete Hall: Before Lightning Strikes
Around and around we go with the Frequent Fliers. The Detention Crew. The kids who have difficulty staying out of trouble. They are the Lightning Club. Lightning can strike at any time, without warning. Included: Start a Lightning Club in your school.

Crafting Thorough Cleaning Plans
Few educators may link school cleanliness with student performance, but cleaner buildings can mean higher attendance and more learning. Included: Tips for developing a comprehensive cleaning program that creates a healthier environment for all.

School Spotlight
Its Morning Meeting time in Angie Morrisons second grade classroom. Seated quietly outside the circle are several teachers from other classrooms. Such peer observations are becoming part of life at Newman Elementary, thanks to a new initiative called Lab Classrooms.

Improving School Environments Through Green Cleaning
As research mounts about the link between indoor air quality and health, and as more children enter school with respiratory problems, schools, districts, and even whole states are switching to more environmentally-friendly cleaning agents.

Pete Hall: Why 100 Matters
According to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, all students -- thats 100 percent of enrolled students -- will test proficient by the 2013-2014 school year. Do you know what 100 percent really means? One goal-oriented school in Washington State does!

Ten Things Everyone Needs to Learn
Your school will try to teach you the facts you'll need to pass their tests, but schools won't teach you the things you really need to learn to be successful. What are they? Stephen Downes offers a list of his top ten things you need to learn.

Dealing With Angry Parents
Education Worlds Principal Files team always provides practical tips that help out school leaders in sticky situations. In this article, they tackle the topic of angry parents. Included: Tips for calming upset parents and solving problems.

Pete Hall: Four Things You Must Do in 2007
For this new year, let's promise ourselves we won't overdo it with pledges we can't keep. Let's make a few subtle shifts in our attitude that can pay substantial dividends in our daily routines. Let's make a special effort to do these "Four Things You Must Do in 2007."

More (Short) Tests Can Help Learning
With all the testing going on these days, it's hard to imagine doing more. But some schools are finding that assessing students throughout the year with short tests can improve learning and better prepare kids for the big tests. The idea is backed up by research.

Wellness Policies Promote Healthy Choices
The federal mandate for schools to adopt written wellness policies has prompted many to focus on cafeteria and snack items as well as opportunities for physical activity. What have school leaders learned as they implemented new wellness policies?

The Greatest Thing About My School Is
Do you have a sense that the media too often focuses on the negative news about our schools? With that in mind, all principals should be prepared to spread the good news about their schools. And we asked our Principal Files principals to do just that.

WatchDOGS Unleashed on Schools
WATCH D.O.G.S. is a K12 program that makes it easy for father figures to spend meaningful time in a school setting. The program is overseen by a Top Dog volunteer dad who partners with the school administrator to identify opportunities for WatchDOGS dads.

Online Grades Provide Access and Accountability
In many schools, teachers use online grading systems to keep parents (and kids) informed. Administrators say the improved communication makes students more accountable for their work and eliminates unwelcome "surprises" on report cards.

Pete Hall: Why I Wear Red Socks to School
The earliest known socks were discovered in Egyptian tombs. In subsequent years, socks have taken many turns on the paths of style and function. Principal Pete Halls socks, for instance, are red. Every day, red socks. So why does Hall wear red socks to school every day?

Principals Who Cant Live Without Technology
Easy access to technology has changed the way school principals work. So what tech tools cant principals live without? High on their lists are handhelds, calendaring tools, data warehouses, and curriculum software that helps boost student test scores.

Demonstration Puts More Meat into Essays
Students and parents construct burgers to build better essays. Parents and students used sample topic sentences, explanations, and diagrams to construct effective essays using the Hamburger Writing Model.

Mentoring New Administrators to Success
Too often new administrators are dropped into their offices with a list of expectations and little support -- not even a bottle of aspirin. But the Savannah-Chatham County (Georgia) mentoring program is designed to nurture and mold quality educators into quality administrators.

Programs Connect U.S. Students, Orphans Abroad
The Memory Project enlists students to create portraits and books for orphaned children overseas. Teachers say the program helps students learn about the world and provides opportunities for authentic learning. Included: How your school can participate.

Creating Your Own Web Site
Bernie Poole provides 11 easy-to-read handouts designed to lead you or your students step-by-step through the process of creating a content-rich education-oriented Web site.

Weekly Folders Deliver News from School to Home
Need an easy and inexpensive way to reach parents with important news from your school? Many elementary and middle schools package all communication and student work into a "weekly folder" that is sent home on the same day each week.

"You Must Remember This"
We asked members of the Education World Teacher Team "If you could give a brand new teacher just one piece of advice, what would it be?" Discover what they told us.

Pete Hall: T2 -- Togetherness and Teamwork
There is a Kilimanjaro-sized mountain of research supporting the importance of teamwork in our schools. Quotes such as "many hands make light work" and "two heads are better than one" could not be more apropos than they are in today's schoolhouses.

Bulletin Boards: Powerful Teaching, Community-Building Tools
Bulletin boards loaded with student work add personality to school hallways and speak volumes about what teachers value most. Included: Ed World's "Principal Files" team speaks about the power of bulletin boards from the primary grades to high school.

What Structures Need To Be in Place To Make Teacher Leadership Thrive?
The hierarchical structure of schools perpetuates a tradition: principals lead and teachers teach. Given that structure, it is difficult to imagine how teacher leadership can thrive. But it can thrive, and principals are instrumental in creating conditions to make it happen.

Best Bulletin Boards: Principals Share Favorite Hallway Displays
Some bulletin boards reflect student learning. Some attract attention as they display students' work or family photos. Others simply brighten school hallways. Included: Principals share "best bulletin boards."

Saving Kids from Stress
Facing fierce competition to get into top colleges, many students are compromising their health and values to get ahead. Experts are even seeing stress levels increase at the elementary school level. Some educators are working to reduce the pressures on students.

Pete Hall: The Attack
With the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act, higher standards and expectations, growing pressure for preparing children for global competition, and an increasing need to address the whole child on behalf of 50 million children I ask you to join me in "The Attack."

Teachers Teaching Teachers: Professional Development That Works
If you're not capitalizing on the expertise of your school's teaching team, you're missing out on the most effective professional development around. Ed World's "Principal Files" principals share their experiences with and enthusiasm for teachers-teaching-teachers PD.

Teachers Receive Due Praise at Graduation
There is no time like the present to begin planning your school's best commencement ever. This year, take a page from the book of higher learning and recognize not just the graduates but the elementary and middle school educators who helped get them there.

"Recovery Rooms" Put Disruptive Students on Road to Recovery
Are disruptive students inhibiting learning in your school? If so, the answer may be creating a place for them to refocus and regroup -- a "recovery room." With guidance, students can reflect on their mistakes and find ways to improve.

Pairing At-Risk High School, Elementary Kids Benefits Both
Mixing at-risk high school and elementary-aged students might sound like a plan for perpetuating bad habits. But when asked to serve as mentors, the high school students stepped up, and they and their charges are learning about themselves and each other.

Carle, Cleary, Rowling, and [Your Students' Names Here]: Kids Can Be Published Authors, Too!
Kids of all ages can be encouraged to write when they know that their work will be returned in the form of a published book. Learn how to get started with book-writing projects for whole schools or individual classes.

Put "Punch" Into Your Parent Handbook
Is it time to take a fresh look at your school's parent handbook? How can your school get more out of this essential resource for parents? Education World takes a look at ten handbooks from across the grades and shares what each one does especially well.

My Three Favorite Things: Data, Data, and Data
"Educators, as a breed, are afraid of data," says Ed World columnist Pete Hall. "We treat them like contagious numerical pathogens. After all, for decades we have been the evaluators, but now we are the evaluatees, often left to the mercy of unpleasant school designations..."

Group Brings Waves of Humor to Professional Development
The group Wavelength proves that professional development can be fun and full of substance. Using skits, music, and improvisation, the troupe zeros in on hot education topics. Included: Descriptions of Wavelength presentations.

Teacher Feature
Her eyes open to a family that had no food, one teacher was prompted to come to the aid of kids in need through a unique program she calls the "Backpack Buddy Club." Kids are sent home with sacks of food to be used over the weekend.

Summer Reading Picks
What's on your summer reading list? Members of the Education World Teacher and Tech Teams share their favorite books for professional development, personal information -- and pure pleasure.

Integrating Technology and Science
Discover how technology enhances the science program in the Greece Central School District, Rochester, New York.

It's Time to Reinvent the Principalship
The idea of a single principal who can do everything is not working. Here are eight recommendations for reinventing the principalship to help reduce stress on current administrators and entice new candidates to the profession.

Principals as Leader-Managers
Principals often view leadership and management as two different roles, but the most effective principals know how to blend the two. Included: Tips for combining leadership and management skills to be a more effective administrator.

America's Battle of the Books: Dueling Readers Spar About Literature
Students choosing to read meaningful literature and avid readers from different schools working together as teams: does it sound too good to be true? America's "Battle of the Books" combines literature and friendly competition. Start a "battle" at your school!

Pete Hall: 600 Reasons To Do It Again Next Year
"I cannot begin to share the number of times that I've sat alone in my car at the end of a long day of principaling. I sit, unwilling to turn the key as dusk creeps into the staff parking lot, and wonder aloud, 'Why, exactly, do I continue to do this?'"

The Best Convention Speakers We've Seen...
Have you been to a conference session that truly inspired you? Have you run into a speaker whose message changed the way you do things? Improved your school? Improved your life? Our "Principals Files" principals name the speakers you must see!

Counseling: A School Improvement Tool
The role of counselors in schools is expanding from just attending to individual students to leading discussions and activities for groups of students that can help improve school performance and behavior.

Pete Hall: Prioritize and Delegate Your Way to Effective Leadership
"If a principal cannot effectively prioritize time and energy, and if a principal cannot delegate certain tasks and decisions, then that principal will find him or herself dangling at the end of a very short rope over a frothing sea of sharks, piranhas..."

Schools and Online Social Networking
Most educators working with middle and high school students are aware of the explosive involvement of youth on social networking sites. Few are prepared to deal with it. In this article, Nancy Willard discusses the risks and benefits of such sites and offers schools a comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access.

BRAVO Principals Act With Courage, Conviction
Making difficult decisions requires courage. A principal's acts of courage help ensure that all children learn. Those acts also serve as catalysts; they motivate colleagues to act with courage. Included: Sandra Harris offers ten actions of courageous principals.

Getting Kids to Read By Keeping Their Eyes on the Prize
Educators know that children who read and are read to are more likely to become life-long readers. That's why many schools are using reading incentives -- from reading honor rolls to "prize patrols" -- to encourage kids.And they're reading more as a result.

Create a School Profile Brochure
Most corporations have professional brochures that promote their history, goals, and results. So, asks George Pawlas, why shouldn't schools create brochures to boast of their history, their stats and awards, their community connections, and their visions and goals?

Systems Let Schools Call More Parents Faster
School phone trees are being eclipsed by phone systems that can dial thousands of numbers in minutes and alert parents to emergencies, schedule changes, and even events, saving administrators time and stress.

Got Motto? -- Twelve Slogans to Help Build School-Wide Community
You've seen those celebrity-filled "Got Milk" magazine ads? Now it's time to meet the "Got Motto" poster principals! They're using school-wide slogans to spur enthusiasm, inspire teamwork, and build community. Included: Twelve mottos for your consideration.

Professional Learning Communities
Professional learning communities are teams of educators systematically working together to improve teaching practice and student learning. Learning communities are characterized by shared values and vision, collaboration, and support. Learn more!

Teaching and Learning Online
Whether you're planning on taking or teaching an online course -- or pursuing an online degree -- you won't want to miss this Teacher Team article, in which our resident experts talk about their online teaching and learning experiences.

Tech Conferences: For Geeks Only?
Afraid you're not techie enough for a tech conference? Think again! Four classroom teachers share how attending a national tech conference impacted their teaching and networking.

Scrabble Clubs Spell Learning, Fun
Many schools are luring students away from TV and video games with the chance to out-spell classmates in after-school Scrabble club competitions. Educators say playing Scrabble improves language and social skills. Included: Scrabble as a teaching tool.

Pete Hall: Get Out of That Chair!
Principal Pete Hall says walk-throughs are the most powerful thing he does. They provide him with a clear picture of the state of learning in his school and many peripheral benefits too. Walk-throughs, Hall says, should be a priority in every principal's day.

Use a Daily "School Pledge" to Build Community
While discussing morning rituals that would be meaningful for teachers and students, the staff at the Adams School in Castine, Maine, decided to introduce five daily pledges -- a different one each day. They got their inspiration from literature, history, and pop culture.

BRAVO Principals Celebrate Diversity
Columnist Sandra Harris says principals make their schools stronger by valuing their students' diversity. By highlighting-- even encouraging -- diversity, they make kids who might feel "different" feel welcomed instead. They limit bullying and harassment too.

Triumph Over Truancy: Tips for Improving Student Attendance
Greater learning, a brighter future, less delinquency, and more funds for schools -- there are countless benefits to increased student attendance. Many schools are coming up with novel approaches to resolve their truancy woes.Will their ideas work in your school?

Support Personnel Are P.R. People Too
Secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, crossing guards, and bus drivers are key personnel in creating a school's reputation. Education World columnist George Pawlas shares tips for capitalizing on the P.R. potential of your school's support personnel.

Principals Reflect on the Best Parts of the Job
Being a school principal is a tough job. But many principals stick with it because the joys of the job far outweigh the frustrations. Education World's "Principal Files" team recently reflected on what it is that gets them out of bed each morning!

What's the Most Frustrating Part of Being a Principal?
What are the biggest challenges faced by school principals? Members of our "Principal Files" team recently shared the downside of being a school leader. They reflected about unfunded mandates, kids who fall through the cracks, a lack of parent support, and more.

Hallway Greeters Make Morning Transition Safe, Pleasant
The atmosphere at New Hampshire's Dame School is slower and happier since hallway greeters have become part of the morning routine. The number of students running through the hallways has decreased, and the noise level has dropped considerably.

Morphing Your Elementary School Into a Literacy Academy
We used to call them grammar schools. Now we call them elementary schools. I propose a new definition of our schools -- especially those that service the primary grades. We need to shift our mindset and rename them as

Community Effort Links In-School, After-School Learning
Louisville, Kentucky, school officials wanted youngsters to get more out of their after school hours. With the help of a software program, schools share data with after-school program staff who develop content to address students' areas of weakness.

BRAVO Principals... Help Staffs and Students Cope With Stress
Sandra Harris has seen firsthand how principals have handled the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But not all disasters are natural ones. In the event of job loss, illness, death, and divorce BRAVO principals do all that they can to help faculty and students cope.

"Together We Can" Motto Spurs Columbia Elementary's Success
Columbia Elementary's school motto is "Together We Can!" Together principal Lori Musser and staff members have adopted initiatives such as after-school clubs and intensive reading instruction to help students achieve.

Pawlas on PR: 50 Million Students Can't Be Wrong
Research says that people base their opinions of schools on what children tell them. That's why principals should take a good look at their schools from a kid's perspective. Included: Tips for improving students' -- and parents' -- perceptions of your school.

School-Wide Mail Delivery System Teaches Kids Letter-Writing, Responsibility
In this IM, e-mail age, many children haven't experienced the excitement of getting a hand-written letter. One popular program, though, allows students to write letters and work in an in-school post office. Included: See how it works, try it in your school!

Budgeting in the Accountability Age
Doing more with less has been the challenge for school districts in recent years, but now the demands of the No Child Left Behind Act, coupled with shrinking resources, are making budgeting even harder.

Got Three Hours? A School Needs You
Who could say no to giving three hours to their child's school over nine months? That's what the founders of the parent volunteer program Three for Me reasoned -- and they discovered once parents got a taste of volunteering, they were eager to keep coming back.

Pete Hall: Mentoring and the Three Golden Rules
New principals have no idea what they're about to encounter. That is not their districts' fault; they hired competent leaders. The principalship is simply a beast that cannot be understood until one has wrangled with it. Included: Three "golden rules" for principals.

Principals Offer Practical, Timely "Time Management" Tips
Have you mastered the 3 D's (Delegate it, Dump it, or Do it)? Could a "closed-door policy" help you better manage your time? Maybe you should set up "satellite offices" -- or find a hiding place? EW's "Principal Files" team offers those tips and more.

BRAVO Principals Care About People
How do caring principals show teachers and students that they care? Sandra Harris shares ten traits of caring principals that she has observed -- ten ways in which principals make teachers and students feel important, respected, recognized, heard, and included.

Schools Where Wellness Is a Way of Life
The need for students to eat more healthful foods and get more exercise is getting a lot of attention in schools these days, but some school leaders are going a step further, developing wellness policies and health alliances with their communities.

More Tips for Great Newsletters
Surveys say newsletters are the second most important source of information about your school. George Pawlas offers timely reminders about what to include in the newsletters you produce during the second semester. Included: "Fifteen Tips for Writing Right."

Breakfast Book Club: Feeding Bodies and Minds
Every school wants to foster a love of reading in students, but how can schools fit another reading activity into a packed educational day? Some schools are inviting kids to join in book discussions as they eat breakfast. Included: How to organize a breakfast book club.

Schools Celebrate Martin Luther King and His Dream
Each January many schools celebrate the life of Martin Luther King by bringing to life his words and his dream. Learn what some schools, including three that bear his name, do to keep the meaning of this holiday foremost in the minds of their students.

How Does Your School Handle the Homework Dilemma?
Do you have a school-wide policy? Do students earn a homework grade? What about late homework? Or the effects of homework zeros on student grades? Education World's "Principal Files" team members share their thoughts on those questions and others.

BRAVO Principals Rekindle the Spirit
Sandra Harris says principals who encourage others "rekindle the spirit" of their schools. Harris shares ten ways in which principals are encouraging teachers and students and, as a result, creating a school-wide atmosphere of encouragement and achievement.

School-Wide Handwashing Campaigns Cut Germs, Absenteeism
School-wide handwashing programs can improve the health and attendance of students and staff. If your school does not have a program in place, many resources are available to help you get one started. Included: Links to valuable free resources.

The Benefits of Being an MBWA Principal
As principal, getting out of the office and into classrooms can have countless benefits for your school. George Pawlas offers three easy and fun ways to get into classrooms more often. A couple of his ideas are accompanied by favorite classroom memories.

Schools Offering Service With A Smile
Greetings, smiles, and eye contact may be standard customer-service training in the retail industry, but now it is moving into schools as well. Some districts are training all staff members, including administrators and bus drivers, to be more customer-friendly.

Setting New "Sub" Standards
The demands of the school day are altering the role of substitute teachers as placeholders or baby sitters. More districts are training their subs in classroom management and instructional skills so a teacher's absence does not mean a lost day of learning.

School-Wide Rules Creation
Learn about one school's efforts to improve school climate by developing a more consistent approach to discipline from classroom to classroom and in common school areas, such as the playground, lunchroom, and hallways.

Pete Hall: 3 Steps to Embracing Change
Change is scary. But as leaders of school improvement, we are faced with the daunting challenge of making change a necessity, a known quantity, and fun. Yes, change is fun! If you don't believe that, come along with me.

Visitation Day: Parents "Walk in the Shoes" of Students
Tight-lipped kids often keep their parents in the dark about school activities. How can schools bring them out of the cold? Invite them in! "Parent Visitation Days" are easy to organize and a great way to get parents in touch with their kids' school life.

Yearlong Themes: Principals Use Them to Build Spirit, Achievement
Does your school use a yearlong theme to motivate students and increase student achievement? Education World's "Principal Files" team shares a dozen ideas to help others see the power and potential of using yearlong, school-wide themes.

BRAVO Principals... Communicate Effectively
Author and EdWorld columnist Sandra Harris says that BRAVO principals follow three principles of effective communication. They are truthful, yet tactful; available; and active listeners. Included: Examples of those three principles in action during the school day.

Preparing the Next Generation of Urban School Leaders
In an effort to deepen the pool of qualified urban principal candidates, the Institute for the Mentorship of Urban School Leaders at Lehigh University was established to give proven school leaders the training and support needed to be effective administrators.

Kids Tutor Kids to Big Gains
When Ivy Hall School staff members were searching for a way to provide more individual support to struggling readers, they turned to Stevenson High School's service club, and found a supply of free, effective tutors.

Panning for Gold in the Era of Accountability
Is your school's public perception in need of a little polishing? Even if your school is "in need of improvement," you can mine golden nuggets of good news and silver linings to make the school's image shine. Here are some ways you can do just that.

Does Your School's Atmosphere Shout "Welcome!"?
Does your school's atmosphere shout "Welcome!" to parents, students, and staff? Our "Principal Files" team shares how they've created welcoming atmospheres in their schools. Most of their ideas are easy to duplicate. Learn from their ideas, share your own.

Tools for Teaching: The School Discipline Code
The logic of all school discipline codes is timeless: "The punishment fits the crime." The greater the crime, the greater the punishment. Look in your student handbook under the heading "Discipline Code" and you will find a "hierarchy of consequences," arranged from small to large. It begins with a verbal warning and ends with suspension and expulsion. Does it work?

A Techtorial: e-Portfolio Fever
Discover what an e-portfolio can do for you and for your K-12 students! This techtorial includes an overview of portfolios as well as a simple and quick demo of e-portfolio building.

Rise and Shine with Morning Assembly
Connect students and staff at the beginning of each day with a "morning assembly." Principals say a well-organized assembly establishes a positive tone for teachers and students and encourages community involvement.

BRAVO Principals Share Power
EdWorld columnist Sandra Harris says sharing power means acknowledging that every faculty member at your school is a leader. By empowering others, you inspire others, you build a climate of trust and respect, and good decisions get made.

Parents and Teachers Working Together
How do you establish and maintain a good working relationship with your students' parents? The Education World Teacher Team shares their strategies for increasing parent involvement and ensuring parental support.

Dressing (Teachers) for Success
"Dressing appropriately" used to be a phrase with universal meaning. But in an age where flip flops appear in White House photos, some school districts want to make it clear how they expect all staff members -- including teachers -- to dress.

Newsletters: An Essential Tool for Every Principal
George Pawlas learned early in his years as a principal that regular, informative communication from his office helped build support for his school. That's when he discovered the true value of parent newsletters. Included: Newsletter do's and don'ts.

Parent Planning for Parent Involvement
Too often administrators view parent involvement programs as neglected gardens. If by chance they grow and bear fruit, terrific. If they don't, it can't be helped. But a national institute says that, with some planning, all schools can grow parent involvement programs.

Always Strive to Be a Better You
Just as James Bond exists by the words "Live and let die" so award-winning principal Pete Hall lives by the words "Always strive to be a better you." How does Hall's motto guide his principalship? He shares ideas that might help all principals be their best.

Schools Recruit, Recognize Contributions of Volunteers
Is your school crawling with volunteers? Or are you looking for ways to recruit more volunteers? In this article, our "Principal Files" principals talk about the benefits of volunteers and offer tips for recruiting them and recognizing their contributions.

Co-Principals Face Challenges Together
Many principals have days when they wish they weren't alone at the top. Mary Gentili and Jeanne Wall say they have found that working as co-principals gives them the help and support they need to efficiently run a school with 1,100 K-2 students.

BRAVO Principals Calm the Storm
Sandra Harris teaches at a university near Houston, which has been a focal point of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. She is witnessing firsthand the essential role that principals are playing in the effort to bring relief and normalcy to the lives of children and families.

Bring "Order" to the Cafeteria
Is your school's cafeteria a place where you love to spend time, or is it a nightmare come to life? How can you make the lunchroom a more "orderly" place? Administrators share their best tips for improving atmosphere, behavior, and manners in the lunchroom.

Students Design School Uniforms
Telling a teen what to wear can be both futile and exhausting. So when Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials were considering adopting student uniforms in three high schools, they recruited designers with insight into what kids would wear: other kids.

Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-teacher conferences are an important part of any school's communication plan. And principals are in a position to help ensure that the first conference of the year sets a tone for future communication. Included: Tips for prepping parents and teachers ahead of time.

Staff Meeting Idea: Teachers "Stand" for Students
Looking for an inexpensive, powerful way to remind your staff of why they embarked on a career in education? Try "I Stand For...," an activity that asks teachers to rise and name a student for whom they have made a difference. Tips for using this activity included.

Mastering the New Three R's
Most educators find themselves constantly feeling that they have too much to do and too little time. John Blaydes offers advice for mastering the three R's of resiliency, renewal, and reflection to keep you healthy and more productive.

Schools Bring Professional Development In-House
More districts are getting away from generic professional development -- the "spray and pray" approach -- in favor of their own professional development programs targeted to their needs and presented by their staff.

Coaching Teachers to Success
Staff development teachers in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools are coaches, mentors, and on-site resources for classroom teachers. Many bring years of teaching experience and a desire to help their peers do the job.

Is Your Parent Newsletter the Best It Can Be?
Education World's "Principal Files" principals agree that parent newsletters should be an essential part of every school leader's communication plan. They offer encouragement, ideas, and advice for those who want to start a newsletter or improve their current one.

Accessibility Tools
The NEA reports that, as of 2004, nearly every U.S. classroom includes students with physical and/or learning disabilities. Learn about the new technologies that make it possible for those students to work alongside their classmates.

State Your Mission: Creating Mission Statements that Work
What is your school's mission statement? If it doesn't exist or you can't recall it, it's time to take another look. A mission statement can be a focal point for learning. It can guide all school activities, and even assist you in choosing the right people to join your staff.

From Chaos to Coherence: Managing Teacher Stress
"I'm totally stressed out." Listen carefully when teachers repeat that routine mantra. The stress they're experiencing could affect their performance, students, and personal lives. But stress doesn't have to take a toll. Included: Effective stress-fighting strategies.

Principals Hold Key to Teacher Retention
Recruiting and hiring teachers for schools is hard enough -- so its frustrating if teachers leave after a year or two. A Houston, Texas, principal talks about the important role a principal plays in retaining teachers.

What Great Principals Do Differently
You can tell great principals by what they do, what they say, and who works for them, according to educator, author,and speaker Dr. Todd Whitaker. They are the people who lead by example and recruit other effective people.

Principal Ideas Volume #1
Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the article for information.

School-Community Relations is Great PR And Then Some
George Pawlas, author of The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations, says every principal should carry a list of "six statements you can say with pride about your school." Pawlas offers that PR advice and much more in this EdWorld interview.

What Makes Effective Teaching Teams Tick?
Many of the most successful schools teem with the spirit of team teaching. Educators agree that teaming has huge benefits for students' academic and social growth, but what makes the most effective teams tick? Included: "Ten Commandments" for team teaching.

Improving School Culture
What kind of culture pervades your school? Do staff members feel like a family? Or is it like a factory or a Little Shop of Horrors? One way to assess school culture, and then strive to improve it, is through the Center for Improving School Culture's triage survey.

Schools Strive for Waste-Free Lunches
Schools are discovering the benefits of cutting down on the waste they produce, particularly in the lunchroom. In addition to monetary benefits, the schools are producing stewards of the Earth. Included: Simple ways to reduce waste in the lunchroom.

Green Schools Save the Environment, Money
Green schools, which are built to rely more on natural resources or have extensive recycling and conservation programs, may sound expensive or a lot of work, but actually they save districts money in the long run, some experts say.

Walk-Throughs Are On the Move
Principals use walk-through observations to engage teachers in conversations about student learning. Included: Principals share the benefits of walk-throughs; how to initiate walk-throughs with teachers who might fear frequent classroom visits by principals.

Community Evaluates Superintendent Online
Opening oneself up to an evaluation by the community takes some nerve, but Nashville's superintendent Dr. Pedro Garcia was up for it. The responses are leading to changes in how he communicates with the community. Included: The online evaluation form.

Excellent Evaluations: Practical Tips for Improving Principals' Observation, Teacher Evaluation Skills
Evaluating teachers is a principal's most important responsibility. Education World's "Principal Files" team offers their advice for doing this process better. Included: What to look for, evaluation form options, walk-through tips and forms, tips for teachers, more.

Report Calls for Overhaul of Administrators' Programs
A report on graduate education programs says they do a poor job of training school leaders. The system needs overhauling, according to the author, Columbia University's Dr. Arthur Levine. We talked with principals who have some suggestions.

Parents Try High-Stakes Tests
One Mississippi middle school is offering parents the chance to answer questions from its state tests, to help them understand what their children face. Included: Description of a test information night for parents.

Sharing Your Legacy: Words of Advice and Encouragement to the Next Generation of School Principals
The knowledge of thousands of soon-to-retire principals will be lost forever unless we capture it in some way for the next generation of school principals. A new project is intent on capturing the knowledge with which you will retire.

Enforcing Dress Codes a Continuous Challenge
Dress codes are hard to create -- and harder to enforce -- but with enough parent and student involvement at the beginning, and consistent enforcement once they are in place, educators at three schools report that dress codes can work.

Before You Fly Off to That Conference Have You Thought of Everything?
A big conference can be the best experience of your professional life -- or a big waste of time! To help you out, our "Principal Files" team shared their experiences. Included: Tips to help you plan for -- and get the most out of -- the next conference you attend.

50 Great Questions for Teacher Interviews
The questions you ask during interviews are key to drawing out the personalities of applicants and selecting the right people to join your staff. Find your next new hire with these questions that will help you learn about their knowledge, experience, and more.

Homework Club "Memberships" Grow
Attendance at homework clubs soon could rival the turnout for more traditional afterschool offerings. The clubs give students the help and structure they need to complete assignments. Included: Tips for organizing a homework club in your school.

Susan Patrick on the National Educational Technology Plan
Recently, Susan Patrick, director of the DOE's Office of Educational Technology, talked with Education World about the vision of the National Educational Technology Plan -- and responded to its critics. Included: Share your opinion about the report.

Principals Offer 30 Ways to Fight Stress
Being a principal is a stressful job -- no doubt about it! But principals do a great job of figuring out how to beat that stress. We asked our "Principal Files" team to share their stress-busting tips. Maybe some of these 30 ideas are ones you haven't thought of before.

Crafting A Workable Cell Phone Policy
With so many families depending on cell phones, banning them from schools became pointless. Now the debate is how to regulate phone use in schools, as more students own camera phones and ones that can send text messages and connect to the Internet.

NETP Offers Action Steps for Success
On Friday, January 7, 2005, the U.S. Department of Education unveiled the National Education Technology Plan. Find out how NCLB started the ball rolling, why today's students are different, and what the DOE says educators must do to meet the needs of today's students. Included: Exclusive comments from National Educational Technology Director Susan Patrick.

Using Data Rooms to Map Your Way to Success
Got data? Most administrators would say of course. The trick is to get it off the shelves and into the open. By setting up data rooms to display, track, and analyze information, administrators can make meaningful, measurable changes in their schools.

Promoting Respect and Service: Two Programs Get A+ for Impact
While students at one Connecticut elementary school learn the "ropes" of respect, middle schoolers in California are making community service part of the curriculum. Both schools received special awards for their programs. Included: Community service tips.

The Journey Back: Administrators Return to the Classroom
They have taken the path from the classroom to the principalship and beyond, then gone back because they realized the lure of teaching surpassed their desire to sit at the helm. Included: Advice for school leaders who are thinking about returning to the classroom.

A Live-In Principal Explains His Move
To squeeze more family time into an 80-hour workweek, principal Michael Bremont moved his wife and four sons into a building on the school campus. The move fits in with his belief that showing students commitment nurtures success.

Recess Before Lunch Can Mean Happier, Healthier Kids
Recess follows lunch almost as predictably as four follows three, because it always has been that way. Principals who have put recess first, though, have noticed children eat more and behave better after lunch. Included: Tips for making the transition.

Tech & Teaching: Principals Share Best Uses of Technology
Technology can be used to engage students in ways that other tools cannot. So what are the most fun or creative ways principals have seen teachers use the technology at hand? That's the question we asked our "Principal Files" team.

Principals Review Teacher-Graded Student Written Work, Enhance Instruction Quality
Principals can and should assess the quality of graded student work in their schools. Yvonne Bender offers straightforward, simple suggestions for accomplishing this kind of assessment, which can improve instruction.

Outreach Through the Airwaves: Schools Bring Message Home With Television
Some districts are using cable TV to reach out to their communities. These "education stations" keep citizens informed and show the lighter, "human" side of faculty and administration. Included: Successful programming from two districts.

Easy Ways to Market Your Schools
School administrators often are so busy or so cautious that they don't get to know their local media. But developing good public relations, as well as a solid plan for marketing a school district, are easy to do and can pay big dividends.

Professional Development Via E-Mail: All You Need is a Keyboard
E-mail is a great way for keeping teachers informed about school goings-on. But are you using e-mail as a tool for providing professional development for your teachers? Ed World's "Principal Files" principals share how they are doing just that. Tips included.

Lesson Study: Practical Professional Development
For teachers who have wished for hands-on professional development, lesson study is it. Teachers gather to research, create, try, and evaluate lesson plans to determine if they are helping students learn. Included: A description of lesson study practices.

Parent University: Adults Hone Skills for Stronger Kids and Communities
No one can be completely prepared for the trials and tribulations of every stage of parenthood. Now some schools are offering workshops and seminars through what is termed "Parent University" to help parents better understand and deal with kids. On weekday evenings and Saturdays, these parents are going "back to school" -- sometimes with their children -- as an investment in them and the community.

Looking Beyond Schools for School Leaders
Since the traditional ways of training and finding new principals are not producing enough qualified candidates-- or enough who want the jobs -- a study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute recommends looking to the outside for the next wave of school leaders.

Fifteen More Ideas for Fundraising Fun
Last month we offered "Fifteen Ideas for Fundraising Fun" in your school. This month we offer 15 more new ideas to raise money to support school programs. Included: Rock-a-Thon, Turkey Legs Contest, Goat Insurance, Lip Sync Contest

Classified Web Page Raises Money for Schools
A bake and yard sale veteran, Falmouth, Maine, resident Carolyn Gillis decided to take school fundraising to a higher level. She founded, Classroom Classifieds, a free Web site that generates money for schools from items that community members sell.

One-to-One Computing: Is Your School Ready?
Handhelds, laptops, tablet PCs...Which is best for your school? Guest columnist Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain offers a simple rubric for administrators, teachers, and parents to use when evaluating their school's readiness for one-to-one computing. Print this rubric and share it with your entire school community.

Making Data Work for Your School
Most educators today probably would balk at the mention of more testing, but when results from interim assessments are used to tweak the curriculum and applied to individual learning, schools often see gains.

More "Do" for Less "Dough": Inexpensive Field Trips Enhance Learning
Seasoned educators recognize that field trips are the stuff of which learning and memories are made. Teachers share ways they get around money issues to provide inexpensive trips that are both meaningful and memorable.

Fifteen Ideas for Fundraising Fun
Need to raise money to fund a school trip, buy new uniforms, or for needed classroom supplies? Education World offers 15 fun ideas for school fundraising. Included: Idol competition, Penny Challenge, poster sale, Anti-Dance, more.

Film A Day in the Life Eases Sixth Graders' Fears
Even after school tours and orientation programs, many students still worry about the transition from elementary to middle school. A student-made film acknowledges those fears and reassures new students that middle school is not so scary.

A Community Pitches In to Repair its Schools
A lack of maintenance and funding had taken a toll on Baltimore, Maryland's schools. A call to the community for help this summer, though, yielded donations and thousands of volunteers who completed hundreds of thousands of dollars of work -- and are still at it.

Math Night by the Numbers
Is it time for a "Math Night" at your school? Math Night gets students excited about math, familiarizes parents with the math curriculum, and encourages families to continue the fun of math at home.

Capping State-Test Week With a Fun and Educational Reward
We always like to reward students for their extra effort during state-test week each spring. But we wanted to plan a fun event that would be more than a big party. Our teachers came up with a special event that was super fun and educational.

Has the Threat of Lawsuits Changed Our Schools?
A recent survey revealed that most school principals have been threatened with lawsuits. That ever-present threat of legal action -- by disgruntled parents or teachers -- can affect the way principals work and schools run. Included: Tips for handling the threat.

The ABC List: A Public Relations Tool That's as Simple as A-B-C
Have you been looking for a quick and easy way to promote your school's finest qualities and its best ways for the community to get involved? South Carolina principal Ann Mohr has a great idea for you, and it all begins with the alphabet.

Lean Regime: A District Cuts Almost Half Its Administrators
With a ballooning deficit and shrinking resources, Mundelein High School District 120's superintendent decided in 2003 to pare down its administrators' ranks by almost half. While there have been challenges, staff members are making the new system work.

Rubrics Help Improve School-Wide Behavior
Teachers have seen the value in using rubrics to assess student work and behavior. Now some principals are using them as a tool for monitoring and modifying behavior on a school-wide basis. Included: Examples of behavior rubrics.

How Can Parents Tell If Teachers Are Doing a Good Job?
How can parents tell if their child's teacher is doing a good job? Sometimes parents' ideas are misinformed. Ed World's "Principal Files" team members offer their perspective. Included: Look at the work students bring home and "the hard sell."

Boosting Test Scores: "Principal" Strategies That Work
Raising test scores is a goal at the top of all principals' lists. It's a task that requires focus and a multi-pronged approach. In this article, Ed World's "Principal Files" team shares strategies that have helped them boost sagging scores -- strategies that could work for you too.

Bag It: A Professional Development Activity That Works
Looking for a great staff meeting idea? One that is totally practical and fun? The "Brown Bag It" activity gives all members of your staff an opportunity to play the role of professional developer for an hour. Included: Step-by-step activity instructions.

Twenty-Five Activities for Building Student Character, School "Community"
In an already packed school day, finding time for character education can be a challenge. Most of these 25 activity ideas can be worked seamlessly into the school day to build student character and to develop a sense of community in your school.

The School-Building Dilemma: Is Leasing the Answer?
Some states and organizations are taking a new approach to opening schools. Can leasing buildings or enlisting private entities cut costs or at least speed up construction? Included: Descriptions of some public-private partnerships.

Scavenger Hunts Fun Way to Introduce Staff
Staff scavenger hunts are a fun way to kick off the year and help new and returning faculty members get better acquainted. Armed with a list of descriptions, staff members "hunt" for a person who matches each item on the list.

Principals Share "Best Meetings of the Year"
It takes only one waste-of-time meeting to give all staff meetings a bad name. That's why we asked our "Principal Files" team to share a meeting that went exceptionally well. You're sure to find ideas here to help you pump up the value of meetings in your school.

"Survivor" Fosters Community Through Friendly Competition
Schools are capitalizing on the popularity of the TV program Survivor by establishing their own competitions to promote community spirit and teamwork. Should your school host a sequel to "Survivor"? Included: Ideas for starting your own program.

Rounding Up Pre-K Kids, Parents
Inviting parents and pre-kindergartners to meet teachers and see their schools six months before school opens can noticeably reduce first-day jitters -- for everyone. Called kindergarten round-ups, these events also let teachers meet their incoming charges.

Morning Sing: School's Weekly Tradition Is Music to the Ears
What has "risk takers" performing on stage, teachers reading and singing to the entire school, and students still talking about events from elementary school years later? It's Lake Street School's "Morning Sing," a weekly event that brings together the entire school.

PR Ideas for PRincipals
Is it any coincidence that the word principal begins with the letters PR? Many principals overlook the importance of strong public relations, but these principals recognize the important role PR can play in creating a "buzz" about their schools.

Teacher Training: Time to Review, Renew, Redo
The last few weeks of school present the perfect opportunity for staff developers to step back, look at what they've done, and plan what they're going to do. This is the time, says Lorrie Jackson, for teacher trainers to review, renew, and redo.

A Day With Experience Corps Volunteers
They worked all over New York City, almost all of them in fields other than education. Now they are a team, helping first and second graders at P.S. 154 in Harlem learn to read. Included: Descriptions of an Experience Corps program.

Calling All Grandparents: Senior Volunteers Transform Schools
They are reliable and passionate, and they bring learning and love to urban classrooms. They are Experience Corps volunteers, retirees recruited and trained to tutor students and assist teachers. Volunteers and educators alike have nothing but praise for the program.

No More Lost Lunch Money
Probably every day in every classroom, a teacher hears, "I lost/forgot/spent my lunch money," sparking phone calls home, IOUs, or snack food searches. Pre-paid lunch programs can end the problems of missing money and save parent and teacher time.

School Stores Teach Lifelong Skills
This "local shop" can stock merchandise ranging from pencils to tasty snacks, and sell its wares to students, teachers, principals and even the occasional visitor. A school store, however, is more than a "convenience store;" its shelves also are stocked with the materials for building academic and lifelong learning skills.

Teacher Training: Web Resources for K-12 Staff Developers
The next time you need resources for staff development, try surfing the Web instead of rooting through mountains of paper documents. Web based resources save time, are current and relevant, and save you the trouble of reinventing the wheel.

The Interview: Principals Share 30 Favorite Questions for Future Teachers
It's springtime, which means it's also the beginning of job-interview season in schools. Since principals are starting to interview candidates for open teaching positions, we asked our "Principal Files" principals to share their favorite questions to ask applicants.

Good Morning! -- A.M. Announcements Build School Community
Are morning announcements at your school deadly dreary and dull? Education World's "Principal Files" team shares how they have used their daily announcements to build school "community." Included: Ideas for spicing things up, getting kids involved, more.

Eight Pillars Of Successful Technology Implementation
Integrated education works best when it is well planned, well-integrated, closely monitored as to its effectiveness, and given a fair chance. "A fair chance" only can be guaranteed, however, if computer-based teaching and learningis constructed on eight pillars of success.

Walking School Bus Paves Way to Healthier Kids
A new program eases traffic congestion around schools while putting more exercise into students' days. Perhaps your school should be the next stop for the "walking school bus," a program in which groups of children are led to and from school by adult volunteers.

Would You Switch Schools for More Money?
Staff turnover and inexperienced teachers increasingly are seen as hindrances to improvement in poor, low-achieving schools. Some see extra money as the best way to attract and keep good teachers in these schools.

Making Peer Mediation a Part of Campus Life
Teen skirmishes over rumors, perceived put-downs, and he-said-she-said arguments might seem inconsequential to adults, but to kids they can be major distractions. Mediation by peers can clear up misunderstandings quickly and improve school climate.

Homework Study Hall: Mandatory "Make Up" for Missed Work
Startled by the large number of failing students, principal David Chambers made making up missed homework a mandatory activity. The policy has produced more honor students, raised GPAs, and improved teacher morale. Could it work for your school? Tips included.

Hold the Fries! Three Programs Are Improving Student Nutrition
Halting the trend toward child obesity is a challenge, but some schools are meeting it with more than food that is nutritionally balanced. Included: Learn about three school nutrition programs that are working.

Teacher Training: Hosting Professional Development Sessions at Your Own School
Have you ever considered hosting your own professional development sessions? Holding your own "conference" saves money, allows you to gear sessions to the needs of your staff, and exposes them to fresh viewpoints, experiences, and networking opportunities.

Using Satellites to Track Wandering Students
Losing a child, especially in a crowded, unfamiliar place, is every parent and teacher's nightmare -- and a real concern during fieldtrips. Now, a wristwatch-size Global Positioning System receiver can allow students to be tracked and located within minutes.

Making Retention A Last Resort
Too often, educators find themselves choosing between social promotion and retention, when neither benefits children. Some districts have found that intensive intervention in the early grades can eliminate the choice between two unappealing options.

Celebrating Students: Schools Recognize Achievement in Many Ways
When we asked our Principal Files team to share the ways in which their schools celebrate students' accomplishments, we had no idea how many and varied the responses would be. Included: Practical ideas, food-for-thought for all school leaders.

Home Visits Forge School, Family Links
Getting to better know students and their families can make parents powerful advocates in their children's education. Home visits can give teachers the insight they need to help all students succeed.

To Close or Not to Close: A Superintendent's Winter Worry
How deep is the snow? How fast is it falling? Have their been any accidents? What is the wind chill? That is just some of the information that administrators process on cold or snowy winter mornings as they decide whether or not to close schools. It's not always easy.

Principals Solve Inclusion Challenges
Five principals share how they faced -- and overcame -- obstacles to inclusion. In spite of budget and staffing constraints, they are committed to educating kids in the least restrictive setting. Included: Ideas for creating an inclusive environment.

Math Night by the Numbers
Is it time for a "Math Night" at your school? Math Nights get students excited about math, familiarize parents with the math curriculum, and encourage families to continue the fun of math at home. Included: Advice from organizers of Math Nights.

From Custodian to Principal
After working with students and teachers as a school custodian, Jack Yates knew he wanted to be an educator. With support from family and colleagues, Yates earned two degrees, and now is an elementary school principal.

Family Reading Nights Create Avid Readers
For administrators looking to increase student reading at school and at home and improve parent involvement, family reading nights have proven successful for many schools. Included: Practical suggestions for initiating a family reading night program.

ABC Book of the Principal's Job
What do principals do? That's the question we asked our "Principal Files" team last month. They told us what they do, and here are their responses -- from A to Z! Included: Contributions from more than a dozen great principals.

Staff Development Through Peer Mentoring
K-12 teachers can be a challenging group to train. Although deeply committed to their students, they often feel overwhelmed by the many demands on their time and energy. Establishing peer mentor relationships can help encourage reluctant teachers to implement change in their classrooms.

Signaling an End to Classroom Chatter
Some teachers are finding that mini traffic lights are as effective at regulating student conversation levels as the real signals are at controlling traffic flow. Devices such as the teacher-created Yacker Tracker tell students when to put the brakes on their chatter.

A "Signature" Event: The Autograph Auction as a School Fundraiser
When some students' need for shoes was discussed at a school meeting, Marty Kelsey saw a potential event that would be entertaining, require little investment, and, hopefully, raise ample funds -- the Celebrity Autograph and Shoe Auction.

Teacher Training: Is Your Staff Development Program Working?
We train -- and we hope that our training makes a difference. But how do we really know? Gauging the success of a professional development program requires self-assessment, objective assessment, critical friends, and observation.

Teachers Start Report Card Revolution
Some teachers have taken it upon themselves to rework their report cards. Two teachers talk with Education World about the systems they developed and the benefits to students and parents of their improved grade-reporting systems. Tips included.

What Will Your School's Next Report Card Look Like?
Report cards are yet another area of education affected by the standards movement. With more things to teach, assess, and track, teachers need more precise ways of assessing students than A to F.

In the Loop: Teachers and Students Sticking Together for a Second Year, or More!
Seeking to make more of an impact on students, some educators are choosing to remain with their classes a second year -- or longer. Is looping right for your school? your teachers? Included: Tips from teachers who have the scoop on the loop.

More Principals E-Mailing Parents
Instead of picking up the phone to call parents, more principals are tapping on their computer keyboards. Increasingly, principals are finding that e-mail is the best way to communicate -- for them and for parents.

Teacher Training: Delivering Relevant Staff Development
Teacher training expert Lorrie Jackson explains how K-12 staff developers and administrators can overcome the barriers of fatigue, boredom, frustration, and distrust, and make staff development relevant and effective for their teachers.

Principals Collaborate, Bring About School Change
After years of working in isolation, a group of Milwaukee principals decided to collaborate rather than compete. Principals create yearlong themes, share problems and strategies, and advocate for all students. Included: Descriptions of the group's programs.

In-School Suspension: A Learning Tool
While educators agree that keeping suspended students in school is better than having them home unsupervised, schools need more than a room and a teacher for in-school suspension to change behavior. Included: Administrators share effective programs.

New Union President Ready for Big Issues
An educator for 34 years with solid union experience, Baxter M. Atkinson, new president of the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), is ready to tackle education issues in the national arena.

"Married with (Many, Many) Children": Principal Partners Speak Out
When Pam and Roger Burton met during college, they could not have anticipated that both would end up working not only as educators, but as principals. Ed World chatted with the Burtons about the pluses and problems of being partners at work and home.

Party! A Year of Special School Events
Getting parents involved is no easy task. But Education World's "Principal Files" team offers some great ideas for school-wide events that are sure to draw parents in large numbers. Included: More than 30 events to add to your school calendar.

Teacher Training: Navigating the Information Highway
Successful professional development depends on the acquisition of information. But with so much information available, how do educators choose what to use? Teacher trainer Lorrie Jackson offers advice on selecting the best resources for you and your staff.

Student-Led Conferences Successful in Elementary, Middle Grades
As student-led conferences grow in popularity, educators are finding ways to improve their flow and productivity. Preparing students and parents for what's involved and practicing before "going live" can help. Included: Tips from K-8 teachers.

Second Time Around
In the midst of an epidemic of principal burnout, Robert Yeager has come out of retirement to lead a school that has had four administrators in only seven years. What keeps this seasoned educator going? And what lessons does he have for others?

Is the Time Right for "Elemiddles"?
Some communities have found that middle schools full of hormone-drenched adolescents are neither tranquil nor productive. So they have reverted to the old "grammar" school structure of grades K to 8 in one school -- and they are pleased with the results.

National Teacher Calls for More Teacher-Leaders
Dr. Betsy Rogers, the 2003 National Teacher of the Year, wants to share with other educators and the public her passion for teaching and the need to provide a quality education for all students.

School-Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories from Schools of All Sizes
Schools and businesses are working together to benefit students, teachers, and entire communities. Successful partnerships can be found across the grades, in schools large and small. Included: Ideas, tips for successful school-business partnerships.

Teacher Training: Capitalizing on Conferences
How can you be sure the conferences and conventions your staff attends make the best use of the limited time and money available? Tips on selecting, preparing for, and getting the most from conferences and conventions.

Principal Goes Door to Door With Back-to-School Message
Tired of low student turnouts on the first few days of school, Hartford, Connecticut, principal Dr. Robert E. Morris decided to remind parents about the opening of school. In person. Staff and community members joined Morris walking door-to-door.

A Smooth Transition Can Mean a Smooth Year
With researchers finding that successful transition programs can mean more successful students, sending and receiving schools are working harder and more cooperatively to help students more easily make the passage from one school to the next.

Teacher Training: A Matter of Timing
Before school or after school? During release-time or as paid extra time? During faculty meetings or at special in-services? Principals must answer those questions and others as they plan teacher training. Included: Tips to get teachers to attend training, benefit from it.

Schools Find Many Ways to Say "Welcome Back"
Will open house be before school opens or sometime after students arrive? How about holding an ice cream social? A scavenger hunt for new students? A meet-the-principal lunch? Included: Our P-Files team shares ideas for welcoming students.

Retreat, Review, Recharge!
Retreats can be the perfect way to re-energize faculty, flesh out new programs, and help people get to know one another better. While getting away is a treat, some creative activities also can make an in-house retreat productive and fun.

Great Starts: Veteran Principals Offer Opening Day Tips
Are you a first-year principal? A veteran with many years under your belt? Doesn't matter! All principals will learn a thing or two from this article about making the first day of the new school year a smooth one. Included: Tips for a great first day.

What Would Dad Say About Education Today?
Father's Day is just around the corner. With that in mind, principal Paul Young considers what his did might think about the state of education today. Down-home stories and common sense prevail in this principal's touching tribute to his dad.

Power Napping Refuels Weary Students
With school starting at 7:30 a.m., extracurricular activities stretching past 8 p.m., and jobs and volunteer work as well, sleep often falls to the bottom of the adolescent priority list. An after school Power Napping Club gives teens a chance to just relax.

It's About Time (and Sleep):
Making the Case for Starting School Later

High school administrators who have pushed back their schools' starting times to coincide with adolescent sleep cycles report fewer discipline problems, less tardiness, and happier and more alert students.

Managing Difficult People: Turning "Negatives" Into "Positives"
You find them at staff meetings, in the classroom, and even at social occasions. They are the always-negative people whose outlook drains everyone's energy. How do you counteract their negativity so you can maintain an upbeat workplace? Tips included.

Technology Innovation and K-12 Education
Hewlett-Packard education technology expert George W. Warren reveals the latest technology tools and trends and discusses their possible applications in K-12 classrooms.

Principals Caught Up in FISH! Philosophy
Long popular in the business world, the FISH! philosophy developed by ChartHouse Learning is rapidly fans in education circles as well. Employing FISH!'s four guidelines in their schools has brought spark back to working and learning, principals said.

Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades
Whether you call it Graduation Day, Move-Up or Step-Up Day, or Recognition or Promotion Day, the day you set aside to honor your school's "senior" class can be a special one with these ideas from Education World's "Principal Files" team.

Motivating Teachers to Use Technology
Dr. Walter Tobin, interim superintendent of the Calhoun County, South Carolina, Public Schools, talks about ways of motivating teachers to use technology in the classroom more extensively and efficiently.

Executives Get an Education as Principals for a Day
Once a year, bankers, lawyers, computer executives, plumbers, and others get to step out of their offices and walk the hallways and visit the classrooms as part of PENCIL's Principal for a Day Program. Included: Long-term benefits of principal shadowing programs.

Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long
Have you special plans for Teacher Appreciation Week? Are you searching for new ways to show your teachers how much you appreciate their efforts? Education World's "Principal Files" principals share 65 ways to show your appreciation.

Effective Strategies for Staff Development: A Wire Side Chat With Angela Peery
In-service teacher training is a popular approach, but it might not always be the most effective way to nurture professional growth. Angela B. Peery shares thoughts about video, journals, study groups, and other effective professional development strategies.

Budgets Pose Multiple-Choice Dilemma for Administrators
With education budget cuts continuing, there is no relief this year for administrators trying to meet an ever-shifting bottom line.

Principals Share Lessons Learned: Staffing Decisions, Bringing About School Change
Members of Education World's "Principal Files" team have turned mistakes they've made into valuable lessons they are willing to share with you. Included: Lessons learned about staffing, bringing about change, and the importance of listening.

Superintendent of the Year is a Ready Advocate
Superintendent of the Year Dr. Kenneth Dragseth plans to advocate for children, education needs.

Tech Team: Technology Training Programs That Work
Tech experts discuss the evolution of technology training programs for teachers.

Principals Share Lessons Learned: Dealing With Student Discipline, Parent Involvement
Members of Education World's "Principal Files" team have turned mistakes they've made into valuable lessons that they are willing to share with you. Included: Lessons learned about student discipline, involving parents, and school poli-tricks.

Md. Asst. Principal is ASCDs First Outstanding Young Educator
Barely ten years into an education career, Patrick J. Bathras has gone from the classroom to the assistant principals office to the national spotlight as ASCDs first Outstanding Young Educator of the Year. Bathras recently sat for an Ed World e-interview.

Online Book Club Promotes Student Literacy
Are you looking for new ways to encourage students to read and write with greater effort and enthusiasm? Students in Kentucky have demonstrated both since the Literary Book Club -- an online forum that offers students a real audience and incentive -- was formed.

Beyond the Bake Sale: A Guide to Phenomenal Fund-Raising
Looking to marshal your parent volunteers into an effective fund-raising team? Jean C. Joachims book, Beyond the Bake Sale, offers a manual for principals. Included: Advice on launching and maintaining effective fund-raising efforts.

Preparing For The Worst: Why Schools Need Terrorism Plans
With terrorism advisories and talk of war commonplace, school principals need to create and test terrorism preparedness plans of their own, according to some school security consultants. Included: Recommendations for developing and implementing a plan.

Make Parental Involvement a Priority
Every important study on the subject has found that parental involvement in their children's education results in higher student achievement and more effective schools. Discover 13 simple solutions that can help you make parental involvement a priority in your school or district.

Classroom Management: Principals Help Teachers Develop Essential Skills
Almost everybody agrees that strong classroom management skills are essential to successful teaching. So what is a principal to do with a teacher who has great potential but needs help with classroom management? Our "Principal Files" team has a plan.

Teaching Students to "Go Fourth" Peacefully
Go Fourth, an anti-bullying program based on classroom discussions and exchanges among children around the globe, recently brought teachers, parents, and fourth grade students from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, school to Shaoguan, Guandong province, China, on a mission to promote respect for cultural diversity.

Tech Team: Encouraging Teacher Technology Use
Teacher surveys indicate that about half of U.S. teachers use technology in classroom instruction. That use, however, varies greatly from school to school. In some schools, staff technology use nears 100 percent; in others, it is virtually non-existent. To find out why, we asked the Education World Tech Team how their schools encourage-- or discourage -- staff technology use.

Learning and Living the First Amendment
Does your school's involvement with the First Amendment consist of one or two civics lessons a year? Find out how you can use your school as a mini democracy lab, applying the First Amendment's five freedoms to school governance and everyday issues. Included: Links to lesson plans and resources on the First Amendment.

Teachers Observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Every School
More and more schools are discovering the professional development and student performance benefits that occur when teachers observe their peers. Included: The benefits of teacher-to-teacher observations -- for the entire school.

Motivating Teachers: A Wire Side Chat with Todd Whitaker
"Outstanding principals know that if they have great teachers, they have a great school," Todd Whitaker, author of Motivating and Inspiring Teachers, told Education World. In this Wire Side Chat, Whitaker shares his tips for motivating teachers.

Show Me the Money: Tips and Resources for Successful Grant Writing
Many educators have found that outside funding, in the form of grants, allows them to provide their students with educational experiences and materials their own districts can't afford. Learn how they get those grants -- and how you can get one too.

Interactive Programs Enhance Teacher Learning
Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) can watch a video of a teacher presenting a mathematics lesson, analyze it with other teachers, and then try it out, through a program of the LAUSD/UCLA Collaborative Institute.

Parents On Board: Persuading Parents to Join the Team
Most administrators recognize the need to get parents involved in school activities, but often efforts to draw them into the educational equation yield disappointing results. Included: Strategies for Parent Days, parent teams, more.

"Story Bits" Strategy Works
Last summer, principal Addie Gaines read about a strategy called Story Bits. This fall, that strategy is exciting students -- and their parents -- about reading and it's improving reading comprehension. Included: Ideas for implementing Story Bits at your school.

"Reaching Out" Tops New AASA President's Agenda
Dr. John Lawrence, the new AASA president, recently talked with Education World about reaching out to members, training new administrators, and monitoring national issues.

Starr Points: Dear Santa -- A Holiday Wish List for Schools
Put a school on your holiday gift list this year! You'll find that schools are a lot easier to buy for than those distant cousins you've been fretting over -- and the school will be a lot more grateful! Included: A shopping list for schools.

On the First Day of Christmas, the District Office Gave to Me...
Principals can dream too, can't they? We asked Education World's "Principal Files" team to dream big. We "gave" them $25,000 as a holiday windfall and asked what they would do with it. They had no trouble coming up with ideas.

Team Teaching: Teaming Teachers Offer Tips
Education World explores two essential questions -- What constitutes an excellent teaching team? and How can teachers strengthen their teams? Included: Practical tips to share with teaming teachers.

25 Ways to Motivate Teachers
What special things do principals do to inspire teachers to keep on learning and improving? What do they do to make their schools fun places to work? Included: Principals share more than two dozen practical ideas for motivating teachers.

Howdy, Neighbor! Collaborating with the District Next Door
Buying in bulk may be standard operating procedure for some companies and families, but what about school districts? Two Wisconsin districts have started sharing purchasing and ideas about saving time and money. Administrators hope the idea spreads to other school systems.

Better Students Through Technology!
Technology-planning expert Dixie Conner explains how technology coordinators, by extending the use of technology beyond the classroom, can increase students' chances to reach -- and surpass -- today's stringent education standards.

New Leaders Trains New Principals
Hoping to change urban education one school at a time, Jonathan Schnur and some colleagues founded New Leaders for New Schools, a training program for principals. By meshing coursework, on-the-job training, and mentoring from administrators and executives, New Leaders hopes to produce principals who can turn schools around.

I Wish I Had Taken a Course In
A principal's day can be full of surprises. In this article, Education World's "Principal Files" principals share the courses they wish they had taken before they took on the job. Included: Ten courses universities might be wise to offer.

A Lesson for Principals: Put Instruction First
"Making time for a focus on instruction is very difficult," said Joy Hood, a coach with a principal leadership program in Denver. "We help principals see which of their daily activities add value to their role as an instructional leader" Education World writer Sharon Cromwell recently interviewed participants in Denver's program.

Badge, Please? Schools Turn to ID's to Enhance Security
While many school districts have policies requiring visitors to sign in and wear a badge while in a school, some schools are choosing to issue photo identification badges to all staff as well. Administrators say badges allow them to know at a glance who is who, and adds an extra feeling of security to buildings. Included: A description of several schools' identification badge procedures.

Sub-Searching Made Easier
Hours of pre-dawn phone calls in search of substitute teachers to fill a school's daily vacancies soon may be a thing of the past. Some districts are turning to automated systems that use the phone, the Internet, or both to allow teachers to register absences and substitutes to review and sign up for jobs. While the systems do have some shortfalls, they have won over administrators who use them, and numerous substitutes as well. Included: Descriptions of how automated substitute systems work.

There's No Sub for a Good Sub Plan!
Is there a substitute shortage or not? Do substitutes require special training? How do teachers arrange for sub coverage? What if a teacher doesn't leave behind plans? Are substitute teachers evaluated? Education World's "Principal Files" principals offer a picture of how school districts manage finding, training, and retaining substitute teachers. Included: Elements of a truly helpful "sub folder."

The Wild World of Teacher Recruiting
Some districts and states with teacher shortages of their own are watching teachers leave for jobs in wealthier states or towns. Higher salaries, bonuses, better working conditions, and special programs that help develop career educators lure teachers to new jobs. But while some districts can afford to aggressively recruit teachers, others are struggling with budget reductions.

Data Is Making a Difference in These Schools
Many schools are using collected data to drive change. Test scores are analyzed and used to lead curriculum improvement. Survey instruments provide feedback from students, staff, parents, and the community that lead to change too. And data can be used to group students and to assign teachers with proven skills to teach specific student groups. Those are just a few of the ways in which Education World's "Principal Files" principals are using data to lead their schools to success.

Could Four-Day Weeks Work for You?
Some school districts looking to save time and money have switched to four-day school weeks, either leaving the fifth day free or available for tutoring and parent conferences. Although some superintendents favor the concentrated class time, some say the wear and tear from a longer day has not been worth it for staff or students.

When All Else Fails, Turn to the Survival Kit!
Though the new school year may seem daunting on the first day, survival kits can help teachers and students feel welcome and inspire them to start the year on a positive note. Ingredients can include bandages, Life Savers, and pennies.

Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them
Stuck for ideas for effective staff meetings? Looking for ways to make sure everybody is present and interested? The Education World "Principal Files" team has some ideas for you.

High Notes, Hayrides, and Hot Dogs: Making Open House a Hit!
With so many parents and children leading very busy lives, schools need to do more than simply open their doors during open house activities; they need to draw families inside! Through games, food, student performances, extra-credit points, and more, schools are turning open house into a must-see event. How can you make open house hip and happening to improve attendance and parent-teacher cooperation?

It's Back-to-School Time for Administrators Too!
Education World has gathered 20 great resources from our archive that offer advice, tips, and resources all principals should have at their fingertips.

Is Your School's Culture Toxic or Positive?
"School culture is the set of norms, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the 'persona' of the school," says Dr. Kent D. Peterson, a professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Education World recently talked with Peterson about the differences between positive and negative school cultures and how administrators and teachers can create a positive culture in their schools.

Making Class Lists Needn't Be a Nightmare!
You've just completed the annual ritual -- the creation of next year's class lists. You've promised yourself you'll look for ways to make the process run more smoothly next year. First step: Read the advice in this Education World Principal Files story from school administrators who've been there, done that.

The Teacher Shortage: Solutions That Work
Low pay, large classes, lack of respect for the profession: Those are probably the most common in a long list of reasons cited for the nation's teacher shortage, which most experts predict will worsen over the next decade. What can school administrators do to combat the dearth of teachers? Included are Education World's 18 solutions.

Success Stories: Principals Reflect on the Year's Achievements
Test scores aren't the only measure of success in today's schools. We asked our Principal Files team to reflect on the past year in their schools and to share with us the biggest achievements -- the "success stories" -- of the year. Their successes big and small offer food for thought for all school administrators as they plan ahead toward a new school year.

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