Principals' Top 10: From 'Juuling' to 'Toxic' Staffers, News They Could Use
Principals told us repeatedly in 2018 that they wanted actionable information they could use in their buildings to help students and staff.
They were busy. They didn't have time to read long articles. They wanted tips on how to address challenges their students were facing—from vaping on campus, school shootings, to students' social-and-emotional needs.
But they also needed help managing the incredibly long hours that they put in each day and working with difficult staff members.
And what they read showed it. Here are the top 10 stories for principals (blogs and articles, but not opinion pieces) in 2018.
This article by Evie Blad brought principals up to speed on the crafty ways that students conceal their vaping habits in school and what the research says about vaping and the use of e-cigarettes among teens.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was fond of saying that he'd never seen a great school without a great principal. How do principals do it? Not necessarily by focusing on test-preparation, but by building a supportive culture for students and teachers, according to research from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.
"Complainers. Freeloaders. Procrastinators. Backstabbers. Know-it-alls. Bullies." If any of those people work in your building, you should read this story by Corey Mitchell on how toxic adult behavior can derail even the best-laid school improvement plans and how principals can work with staff to get them on board.
From changing teacher conferences, to shadowing a student, or teaching a class, Stacey Decker offers some suggestions that principals can try this school year.
Principals spend more than 60 hours a week on school-related activities, and the profession has a high turnover rate. This story, part of a special report on principals, provides examples of principals who found the right work-life balance and discovered more joy in their work. It also provides some easy-to-use tips for other principals juggling the demands of the jobs.
With an increase in concern over student suicides and mental health needs, this heartbreaking story from Arianna Prothero provides timely resources for principals on how to help students and families.
This story looked at the research on six districts that are part of the Wallace Foundation's principal-supervisor initiative. The study found that the changes districts made as a result of the principal-supervisor work were not confined to the central office, and that the districts were also rethinking how they funded and grouped schools.
Education Week's School Shooting Tracker reported 24 school shootings with injuries or deaths this school year, with 28 students and seven employees or adults losing their lives. School shootings are still relatively rare, and this story looks at the ways that principals can create a safe, nurturing environment for students.
When the National Association of Elementary School Principals conducted its once-in-a-decade survey 10 years ago, students' social-emotional needs were not among the top 10 student issues that principals ranked as of "high" or "extreme" concern. But in the report released this summer, those student welfare issues led the list—from student mental health and student poverty to bullying and student stress over self-identity.
An interesting finding in the PDK-Gallup education survey released in September: Amid frustrations about their jobs, teachers have more faith in their principals than their union leadership.
Photo caption: Mojdeh Henderson, principal at Berewick Elementary School while participating in a planning meeting with teachers in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 5, 2018.--Chris Keane for Education Week