Content

Across the Nation
President Gives Speech to Nation's Students
Administrators Say Stimulus Funds Aren't Saving Teaching Jobs
Changing Face of School Principals
Are Rural Schools Being Overlooked for Federal Funds?
Seven of 10 Parents Want Their Kids to Become Teachers
Top-Notch Teachers Found to Affect Peers

In Federal Policy
ED Releases Draft Guidance on School Improvement Grants

Other News and Highlights
School Facilities Photo and Essay Contest
Take Part in the National Learn &Serve Challenge
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards to Honor Students

Last issue's hottest link: Most Students Not College-Ready, ACT Scores Reveal


Across the Nation

President Gives Speech to Nation's Students
"You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job," President Obama told the nation's students in a live speech today. In his much-anticipated and highly debated back-to-school message, the president urged all students to stay in school and to set goals for themselves in education—whether that means doing homework, paying attention in class, volunteering, or even standing up for kids who are being bullied. Read the transcript.

Toward 21st Century Supports
Education policy expert Linda Darling-Hammond shares her thoughts on how issues of equity and policy make school safe for good practice. From the September 2009 issue of Principal Leadership. Listen to a podcast of the interview.

Administrators Say Stimulus Funds Aren't Saving Teaching Jobs
Over half of district leaders haven't been able to use stimulus funds to save teaching positions in core subject areas or special education and 67% said redirecting funds for reform has been difficult, according to a new survey from the American Association of School Administrators. Administrators reported that State Fiscal Stabilization Funds have been largely used to fill gaps from diminishing state and local funding. The remaining money has had to go to federally mandated requirements: Title I stimulus funds for low-income students and Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) dollars for special education. Administrators also report that they're worried about a "funding cliff"—creating jobs or starting programs that they won't be able to fund after the stimulus ends in the 2010–11 school year. Christian Science Monitor, 8/25/09

Changing Face of School Principals
Can the enthusiasm of young principals outweigh their inexperience? With a cadre of young and eager school leaders entering our nation's school system for the first time this fall, some fear that burnout—resulting from the unprecedented pressure that comes with the position—will take hold of these newly minted principals before they have the opportunity to get their feet planted. Boston Globe, 9/7/09

Advice for New Principals
No matter how old or experienced you are, tackling the principalship for the first time can be daunting. Take advice from three principals who have been there. These experienced school leaders reveal the leadership models that have helped them grow and succeed in "Veteran Advice for New Principals," from the Principal Leadership archives.

(Access to most articles requires member log-in. Not a member? Join now.)

Are Rural Schools Being Overlooked for Federal Funds?
Rural educators across the country are showing concern over the federal priorities emerging under the Obama administration, fearing that education reform programs are catering to urban schools' needs. Initiatives such as the Race to the Top Fund don't recognize the distinctive problems facing rural districts, which serve about one-quarter of the nation's public school students, says the Rural School and Community Trust. In addition, approaches such as charter schools may not work for rural areas, making these districts ineligible for some funding. In South Dakota, for example, more than half the school districts have fewer than 300 students, a population that is likely too small to draw the kind of numbers needed to justify opening a charter. Education Week, 9/1/09

Seven of 10 Parents Want Their Kids to Become Teachers
In the highest favorable rating in more than three decades, 7 of 10 U.S. citizens want their children to grow up to be public school teachers, according to the 41st Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitude Toward the Public Schools. Although the poll revealed that the public views teachers in a more positive light, the public's overall perception of the nation's education system is substantially less approving. Christian Science Monitor, 8/26/09

Top-Notch Teachers Found to Affect Peers
Teachers raise their game when surrounded by high-quality colleagues, reveals a new study that offers some of the first evidence of a "spillover effect" in teaching. The researchers, who analyzed 11 years of data on North Carolina students, found that student achievement rises across a whole grade when a high-quality teacher joins the staff. Interestingly, those effective teachers seem to have the most impact on beginning teachers, as well as those who are certified or have regular teaching licenses. Education Week, 9/1/09

Talk About Teaching!
Ongoing informal dialogue between school leaders and teachers is the foundation for improved classroom instruction, increased learner achievement, and more formal discussions about education. Talk About Teaching! from renowned educator Charlotte Danielson helps school leaders understand the value of reflective professional conversations in promoting a positive environment of inquiry, support, and teacher professional development. The guidebook outlines the conversation skills that school leaders need to initiate and engage in successful conversations and includes "mental maps," sample topics, and conversation activities.
Talk About Teaching! icon

In Federal Policy

ED Releases Draft Guidance on School Improvement Grants
In an effort to transform the lowest-performing 5% of schools nationwide, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released draft guidance on the School Improvement Grants (SIGs). The guidance, published in the Federal Register, will be open for public comment through September 25. Principal's Policy Blog, 8/26/09

Urge Congress to Cosponsor the Success in the Middle Act
Take action! As a school leader, you are in a prime position to educate your members of Congress about the needs of middle level schools and their students. Please visit the Principal's Legislative Action Center and urge your representative and senators to cosponsor the Success in the Middle Act.
PLAC icon

Other News and Highlights

School Facilities Photo and Essay Contest
Critical Exposure, in collaboration with the 21st Century School Fund and the Healthy Schools Campaign, is launching a national photo and essay contest about school facilities called "Through Your Lens." The contest is open to students, teachers, principals, parents—anyone with a stake in public schools. The contest is seeking images and stories that highlight both positive examples of facilities that provide safe, healthy places for learning, as well as examples of the impact of inadequate school facilities. Deadline for submissions is September 14, 2009.

Take Part in the National Learn &Serve Challenge
The National Learn &Serve Challenge (October 5–11) is a weeklong series of local, state, and national events designed to raise awareness and public support for service learning. To join the challenge, obtain free tools, and learn how others are accepting the challenge, visit www.learnandservechallenge.org.

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards to Honor Students
Prudential and NASSP are launching their 15th annual search for outstanding youth volunteers. Students in grades 5–12 who have worked to improve their communities through volunteer activities over the past year have until November 2, 2009, to apply for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.