Are We Committing Educational Malpractice?

One day I was visiting my family medical doctor, when a nurse asked me to follow her to another room.
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She asked if I would unbutton my shirt so that she connect me to some small leads and do an electrocardiogram.

I was surprised since I thought this was just a routine physical. Perhaps she was aware of my family history, I thought. Or maybe the doctor recommended more information on my heart than his stethoscope could give. I wasn’t sure. So I just sat there and let her complete the test. Continue reading

PMP: Encore 03 Purpose-Driven Leadership

In this encore episode of Principal Matters Podcast, I talk about the reason behind why some people find meaning in their work.
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Research confirms that when you understand the meaning behind your work, you actually serve with more effectiveness. Listen in for reminders on how your work matters! Continue reading

Caught in the Middle: Policy, Principals and Practice

Jack is a middle school student who is found in possession of something dangerous at school.
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His assistant principal guides his parents and Jack through disciplinary actions based on school policy, which may include temporary or long-term removal from the school setting while still receiving educational services.

Jill is a middle school found in possession of the same dangerous item. Because she is also allergic to peanuts, she is on a federally mandated 504-Plan, which requires an entirely different set of meetings, including a manifest-determination hearing, which shows her behavior was not affected by her disability but still may result in discipline consequences very different from the ones Jack received.

Even though Jack and Jill are fictional characters, their scenarios exemplify the ways public policy often creates conflicts in school practice. And the principal is often the one caught in the middle of interpreting and implementing these competing interests. Continue reading

PMP: Encore 02 Courage, Teamwork, and Purpose

This week is another encore episode of Principal Matters Podcast.
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You can link here see the original post accompanying this episode and all the show notes. Thanks for everything you do in serving schools and for doing what matters! Continue reading

NASSP Advocacy Conference Update

On June 21-22, 2016, the National Association of Secondary Principals hosted its Advocacy Conference for members in Washington, D.C.

NASSP Principals gather before visits to the Hill on June 22, 2016

NASSP Principals gather before visits to the Hill on June 22, 2016


Principals and school leaders from across America received updates and heard presentations from experts in advocacy, leadership, and federal policies that affect schools. As State Coordinator for NASSP, I joined Clay McDonald, Middle School Principal from Piedmont, Oklahoma and President-Elect of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals for the two-day conference and Hill visit.

On Wednesday, June 22, we visited Congressional members and staff in their House and Senate offices on the Hill. Mr. McDonald and I visited the offices of Oklahoma representatives: Congressman Frank Lucas, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, Congressman Steve Russell, and Senator Jim Inhofe. Continue reading

PMP: Encore 01 Three C’s For a Great School Year

The weeks of summer are a good time to revisit some original Principal Matters content. This week is an encore episode of the very first episode of Principal Matters Podcast.
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Listen in for reminders on 3 essential to-do’s for providing a great school year for your students and teachers. For the original blog post accompanying this episode, you can go here. I hope summer is giving you time for finding creative ideas and motivation for your own personal growth and for serving others. Continue reading

Confronting the Brutal Facts

When I was a teenager, I was splitting logs for our woodpile when I couldn’t find the familiar wedge I normally used.
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Looking around I spotted an old axe head and decided it would have to do.

Placing it into a good crack in the end of a large log, I knocked the axe head into place with a sledgehammer, and then began swinging. Suddenly, I felt a vibration running up the bones of my left arm from my wrist up to my elbow. Continue reading

PMP:028 Why Vacation Matters

This week’s episode is a reminder of four reasons why your time away from school can help you better serve your school.
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Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or short, taking time away from work is healthy for a number of reasons. Also, if you listen to then end, I share one of my creative moments with you from a previous vacation: a song and recorded from a trip to Colorado.

Here are the show notes for Episode 28

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Guest Post: Michael Allison on Advocacy

This is a guest post by Michael Allison, President of the National Association of Secondary Principals.

Michael Allison, NASSP President

Michael Allison, NASSP President


Michael is also principal of Hopewell High School, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

On June 20-22, 2016, NASSP hosted an advocacy conference for state leaders to discuss current federal education issues. Michael’s opening remarks were so poignant, I ask him if he would mind reposting part of it here as a guest blog post:

As the leading organization and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders from across the United States, NASSP connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. Continue reading

PMP:027 10 Tips for Education Interviews

Whether you are conducting an interview or being interviewed, I have found some common expectations anyone should have when walking into an education interview.
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This week’s podcast covers 10 tips anyone can use when interviewing for an education position. Also, I mention a resource at the end: 30 Questions from Principal Interviews, if you want to check it out.

Here are the show notes for Episode 27

Continue reading