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Principal Principal Document Transcript

  • volume 39 • No. 1 Fall 2009 Straight Talk with Lawmakers What Money Can’t Buy: p. 17 Powerful, Overlooked Opportunities for Learning The Technology Leader By Mike Schmoker Your School Has Been Waiting For p. 12 p. 30 s p ec i al s ec t i o n : 2 0 0 8 - 2 0 0 9 aw s p an n ual re p o rt t h e m a g a z i n e o f t h e a s s o c i at i o n o f w a s h i n g t o n s c h o o l p r i n c i p a l s
  • Leading teachers is your passion. Strengthening their skills is ours. You have a vision for your success as an educator. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University can help you realize it. Walden is an accredited institution with nearly 40 years of experience in distance learning and over 37,000 education students and alumni. For the third Online Program Offerings year in a row we have the largest online graduate program in • Ph.D. in Education education by enrollment, according to U.S. News & World Report. • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Ready to make an even bigger difference? • Education Specialist (Ed.S.) Visit us at • M.S. in Education • M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology • B.S. in Child Development To schedule an Information Session • B.S. in Instructional Design at your school, please contact and Technology • Endorsement Programs Cynthia Tracey at 425-495-9693 • Teacher Preparation Programs or • Graduate Courses for Teachers Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, Walden University cannot guarantee that completion of coursework or any degree-level program (bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, or doctorate) will lead to educator licensure, certification, or endorsement. Walden does offer some Minnesota state–approved programs. While it remains the prospective student’s responsibility to comply with state requirements, a Walden enrollment advisor can provide generalized state–specific information. Call 1-866-492-5336 or visit for details.While it remains the prospective student’s responsibility to comply with state requirements, a Walden enrollment advisor can provide state-specific information. Call 1-866-492-5336. Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6320 or to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement. WU-256
  • Introducing a NEW K–8 supplementary mathematics curriculum MAKING SENSE of PROBLEM SOLVING: Targeting Washington 2008 Mathematics Standards Created with Washington math educators to precisely match Washington Core Content and Core Process Standards. Costs only $99 per classroom! Each grade level book includes 12–16 units with 50–65 Problems: • Targeting the new Washington State Performance Expectations • Student samples with scored commentaries • FIX IT! evaluative activities • Black line masters Making Sense of Problem Solving: Targeting WASHINGTON 2008 Mathematics Standards Check this out: • Interactive CDs for SMART PROFESSIONAL boards • Virtual manipulatives! Development • District server options Teacher to Teacher offers professional development in various ways to deepen content See samples, information on Title I school knowledge and strengthen powerful instructional improvement plans, success stories and research at: strategies: • Build local capacity with programs for Math Coaches and other instructional leaders • In-person and collaboration network options • Online course options (1-5 credits) For more information, contact: Kathleen Barta, Teacher to Teacher Publications: Excellent for Title I, Part A funds 503-659-5616; Copyright © 1998 – 2009, Teacher to Teacher Publications, Inc.
  • professional development calendar To learn more about AWSP professional development activities or to register for an event, visit the AWSP Web site at september Renton 23 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Moses Lake 30 ASB Finance Issues and Answers october Wenatchee 6 FULL SeaTac 1–2 How to Work Less, Produce More and Still Get the Job Done in a Sensible School Week ASB Finance Issues and Answers Pasco 13 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Yakima 18-20 The AWSP Principals’ Conference Olympia 8 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Vancouver 22 ASB Finance Issues and Answers november Olympia 3 If Disaster Struck Your School Today, Bremerton 12 ASB Finance Issues and Answers How Would or Should You Operate? Kennewick 16-17 Extraordinary Leadership Institute Yakima 5 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Anacortes 17 ASB Finance Issues and Answers december Olympia 11 Working Successfully with Difficult Olympia 7-8 Extraordinary Leadership Institute and Challenging Students Spokane 8 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Tacoma 15 ASB Finance Issues and Answers january 2010 Shoreline 7-8 Effective Strategies to Maximize Instructional Conversations Renton 12 ASB Finance Issues and Answers february Bellevue 3-5 Assistant Principals’ Leadership Conference Burien 23-24 Extraordinary Leadership Institute To register for the ASB workshops, please visit the WASBO Web site at Association of Washington School Principals The Principal News is the official publication of the Association of Washington School Principals’ Education Foundation Washington School Principals (AWSP). It is published in the fall, winter State Components and spring each school year. Advertising inquiries should be addressed Elementary School Principals Association of Washington to the AWSP Olympia office. All articles published become the property Association of Washington Middle Level Principals of AWSP and may not be reprinted without permission. Washington Association of Secondary School Principals AWSP • 1021 8th Ave. SE • Olympia, WA 98501-1500 National Affiliates (P) 360.357.7951 • (F) 360.357.7966 • National Association of Elementary School Principals National Association of Secondary School Principals 4 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Gary Kipp AWSP STAFF Executive Director FEATURES Jerry Bender Director of Governmental Relations Don Rash Director of Middle Level Programs 9 Vulnerability and Leadership Director of Assessor/Mentor and Intern Programs 12 What Money Can’t Buy: Paula Quinn Director of Elementary Programs Powerful, Overlooked Opportunities for Learning Director of Professional Development Robert Mc Mullen Director of High School Programs 17 Straight Talk with Lawmakers Director of School Improvement Principal Support Sharon Green Director of Diversity Initiatives and Services 19 Senator Honored by AWSP Jennifer Fellinger Director of Communications and 21 AWSP 2008-09 Annual Report Business Partnership Development Susan Davis Executive Assistant 29 Difficult Times Call for Student Leadership Annalee Braley Membership Services Support Middle Level Programs Coordinator 30 The Technology Leader Your School Denise Johnson Professional Development Coordinator Has Been Waiting For Diversity Initiatives and Services Support 39 Managing the ‘Unsolvable Problem’ Caroline Brumfield Communications Specialist Rick Stacy Financial Services and Information Technology Coordinator 41 Cultural Competency: It Takes a Village Linda Thomas Principal Leadership Support High School Programs Coordinator Legislation Committee Support Cris Sippel Elementary Programs Coordinator PAC Support COLUMNS Principal Support Susanne Danubio Production Room Coordinator 6 The Editor’s Desk Jennifer Fellinger FIELD CONTACTS Harry Clemmons Eastern Washington Member Services Support 7 From the AWSP President Tom Eisenmann PAC Membership/Special Projects A Sound Investment Terry Barber Special Projects Phil Brockman John Kvamme Legislative Support/Retirement Issues Joe Pope Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS)/ 8 Student Leadership School Safety Authentic Engagement—Real Results Sandie Cannady Northwest Association of Accredited Schools Susan Fortin (NAAS) Support 20 Outdoor Learning The Outdoor School STUDENT LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS Susan Fortin Director of Student Leadership Martin Fortin, Jr. Joe Fenbert Communications and Curriculum Coordinator 34 Honor Roll Jan Phillips Leadership Support Staff Profiles of Educational Leadership Featuring Steve Mullin OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTERS Martin Fortin Director of Outdoor Learning Centers 46 From the AWSP Executive Director Quotes and Questions Gary Kipp Managing Editor Jennifer Fellinger Printing Capitol City Press 2975 37th Ave. SW DEPARTMENTS Tumwater, WA 98512 4 Professional Development Calendar 360.943.3556 32 PR for Principals Design Daniels-Brown Communications 36 Book Reports 2510 RW Johnson Blvd. SW, Suite 103 Tumwater, WA 98512 42 AWSP/WSPEF Board Highlights 360.705.3058 44 Component News the principal news | fall 2009 5
  • The Editor’s Desk THERE’S a scene in the movie American Beauty where Lester, played by Kevin Spacey, asks his wife, Carolyn, played by Annette Bening, “When did you become so joyless?” The first time I saw this scene, my stomach dropped. Could there be anything worse in life than being joyless? But in these challenging economic times, we find ourselves dangerously close to becoming just that—deprived of joy as anxiety, fear and cynicism threaten to transcend happiness, hope and gratitude. It seems to me that principals are par- ticularly at risk. They walk a tightrope, keeping steady while juggling countless Jennifer Fellinger concerns—not just the pressures of changing assessments and dwindling resources, but also the personal challenges of staff and students facing job loss, illness, Managing Editor, The Principal News AWSP poverty and abuse. And yet, after being with AWSP for just over one year, I can say one thing for sure: Despite having to shoulder this collective burden, principals and assistant principals are among the most joyful people I know. I was reminded of this recently at the Principals’ Summer Leadership Retreat in Leavenworth, where I joined AWSP members who had gathered to reflect on their jobs and recharge their batteries. What impressed me was how often the participants, often unprompted, wove joy into their conversations about leadership. Sure, there was talk about challenges; as we all know, there are real challenges out there. But throughout the participants’ many discussions, there was an underlying focus on what makes them happiest in their jobs. Even casual chats led to humorous reflections on the most gratifying things about being a principal—most often, not “things” at all, but rather simple acts by students, staff or parents that might otherwise go unnoticed. Don Rash, AWSP’s director of middle level programs, recently described an exercise he used to share with his staff: Think back to the best teacher you ever had. Write down all the things that made him or her a great teacher. Now, look at that list—how many of the things cost money? Chances are, very few. The same could be said, I believe, of great leaders. Joy doesn’t cost a thing. While joy may not be a prerequisite for leadership, it seems that there are very few great leaders out there who are joyless. Perhaps this is why, even in the toughest times—especially in the toughest times—great leaders shine. My joy comes from having the opportunity to collaborate with some outstanding AWSP members on this magazine. I hope you enjoy this issue of The Principal News as When you see this symbol much as I enjoyed working on it. In addition to featuring the voices of your colleagues after an article, you know in this issue, we offer a special contribution from Dr. Mike Schmoker. (Consider it a preview of coming attractions: Dr. Schmoker will be a keynote speaker at The AWSP there’s even more great Principals’ Conference, Oct. 18-20, in Yakima.) We’ve also included our 2008-09 material online! Annual Report, to let you know what your Association accomplished last year. Best to you as you make your way through the new school year! 6 the principal news | fall 2009
  • FROM THE awsp pREsIDENT A Sound Investment Even in a climate of economic uncertainty, an investment in leadership never ceases to pay high dividends. WHEN we opened our schools for the new academic year, we did so under the charge to lead our schools with fewer resources, reduced Leadership does matter, according to the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). In fact, staff and diminished support services for our students. McREL research shows that effective leadership is Fortunately, as AWSP members, we have access to countless associated with a 10 percent point gain in school achieve- resources that support our work in the principalship. ment. Perhaps you know about the 21 leadership The Principal’s Handbook, the members-only section of responsibilities McREL researchers have correlated with, offers ready-to-use materials and the latest student achievement. Three of these responsibilities— research on principal leadership. In addition to The intellectual stimulation, optimizer and culture—are Principal’s Handbook, particularly helpful to leaders during difficult times. AWSP offers excellent The responsibility of “intellectual stimulation” ensures professional development that faculty and staff are making current theories and through workshops, practices a regular aspect of the school culture. At The conferences and various Principals’ Conference, Dr. Mike Schmoker will discuss one training programs. of the most effective practices in schools today—profession- One of the best confer- al learning communities—and its direct connection to ences of the year—The raising student achievement. AWSP Principals’ The responsibility of “the optimizer” reflects the extent Phil Brockman Conference—will return to which a leader inspires others. The closing speaker of the Principal, Ballard High this fall on Oct. 18-20. conference, Helen Thayer, will share her inspirational story Seattle PS This year, building of trekking to the magnetic North Pole. Like Helen’s, your administrators and other challenges can seem overwhelming—and yet you must press conference-goers from on. Learn how to become the optimizer in your school and across the state will meet in Yakima to focus on the most motivate staff and students to reach their goals. important aspect of their profession: leadership. The responsibility of “culture” drives a leader to foster When it comes to conferences, I often hear colleagues a shared sense of community and cooperation. Dr. Gene say they can’t afford to go, usually due to schedule or budget Sharratt will kick off the conference with a conversation concerns. We all know how it feels to be mired in the about building the capacity for hope in others and a culture day-to-day demands of the principalship. And these days, of continuous improvement. “When you have hope for those demands are intensified by the pressure of having to tomorrow,” says Gene, “you have the power to change today.” do “more with less.” This is precisely why professional The common thread of all AWSP resources, including the development opportunities like The Principals’ Conference conferences and workshops throughout the year, is leader- are so critical. In just three days, attendees will gain ship. We must continue to build our capacity and experience and knowledge that will impact their leadership knowledge, especially in difficult times, so that our school beyond measure—at a time when their leadership skills are communities sustain their focus on student achievement. needed more than ever. The truth is, if leadership matters to It is an honor to represent all of you as the president of you, you can’t afford not to go. AWSP. Have a great year! the principal news | fall 2009 7
  • sTuDENT lEaDERsHIp Authentic Engagement— Real Results Raising Student Voice and Participation—five years later. BEING number one feels good. I’m not particularly competitive and certainly didn’t set out to achieve this standing. However, with five years of Raising Student Voice and Participation (RSVP) under our belts, Washington state leads the nation with the largest number of high schools that have Susan Fortin been trained and have implemented the RSVP process. I find this exciting—not Director of Student because we’re at the top, but because behind each of our RSVP schools there is a story. Leadership Programs — AWSP Each story reflects powerful changes in school climate because of student engagement. Here’s one story: In the late afternoon on May 19, 2009, I drove down • What community issues concern you? 40th Street in Yakima. Kids with signs, T-shirts, smiles • What national or global issue concerns you? and hands waving lined the street in support of the The results of Summit 1 were clear. Eighty-five Yakima School District building bond. My first thought: percent of the issues students identified as problems “That’s cool—kids rallying for the bond.” Second thought: were related to their outdated facility. Rather than “Wow, running a bond in this economy?!” seeking solutions to each individual issue, the student After three intersections and at least 100 students, I coordinators met with school administrators, the district spotted Alyssa Patrick holding a sign. Alyssa, a senior at superintendent and ultimately the school board to Eisenhower High, was the co-coordinator for RSVP at encourage their support of a building bond. With more Eisenhower for the 2008-09 year. Seeing Alyssa flanked than 1,000 students actively involved in the campaign, by peers who reflected the ethnic diversity of the Yakima the building bond passed, and a new facility for School District—students coming together to make a Eisenhower is in the works! Following the election, I read difference—I was overcome with a “goosebump moment.” the news reports, district comments and local letters to What I didn’t know at the time was that the student the editor. Every article referred to the fact that student involvement in the bond was a direct result of the RSVP involvement had made the difference. process. In the fall of 2008, the entire student body at The school-wide conversations that happen because of Eisenhower participated in Summit 1 of RSVP. These the RSVP process are powerful, but beyond the conversa- student-led conversations focused on four questions: tions you find focused action. Student voice. Students • What is going well at our school? taking action. Students shaping school climate. Give • What is one thing you would change students the opportunity to be your partners in improving about our school if you could? school climate. In reality, you can’t do it without them. 8 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Vulnerability and Leadership An unlikely pair? Not for those who want to build a culture of trust and success. LET me ask a simple question: Are you a school leader? Now, let me ask: Are you a vulnerable school leader? During my 20-plus years as a principal, I have wrestled with this and many other leadership questions. To what extent am I simply managing or indeed Paul Bodnar leading? What do I believe about change? Is there congruity between my words Sunrise Elementary and actions? Perhaps part of the reason for my persistent questioning is that many Northshore SD definitions of “leader” abound, each reflecting different theories of leadership. By some definitions, I may be a leader; according to others, I may not. In their book The Soul at Work, Roger Lewin and • Communicate with each other in an honest, recep- Birute Regine noted that leaders need to pay as much tive and positive manner. attention to how “we treat people as we do to our struc- • Use “I” statements. tures, strategies and statistics.” Margaret Wheatley said, • Speak only for yourself and not for a collective “we.” “We cannot hope to influence any situation without • Use e-mail for positive comments or general informa- respect for the complex network of people who contrib- tion and meet face-to-face if the information could ute to our organizations.” Hans Selye observed, “Leaders be perceived as negative. are leaders only as long as they have the respect and • Silence does not indicate agreement. loyalty of their followers.” To these insights, I would add • When a conflict arises with another staff member, that at the heart of leadership is a life template that go directly to that coworker to discuss the situation. includes vulnerability. • Avoid “triangles.” When I first arrived at my current school, I recog- • Avoid meeting when you are angry. nized that earning trust had to begin with my own • Hold each other accountable in order to avoid behav- willingness to be vulnerable and manifest transpar- ior that is divisive to our team. ent behavior. To foster trustworthy actions within the • If “we” is brought into the discussion, ask the parties school, we took time to create operating norms in three who “we” is. distinct areas—Communication, Preventing/Recovering • If pulled into a triangle, listen, but ask colleagues from Misunderstandings and Disagreements, and to discuss the issue directly with the person. Draw a Accountability. Some of the norms included: line when you start to feel uncomfortable. (continued) the principal news | fall 2009 9
  • Once these were adopted, I asked the staff, first and fore- Five Precepts most, to hold me accountable for following our agreements. Because I knew my actions were going to be scrutinized and Everyone is important. Do I pay attention to analyzed for meaning as to my intentions and character, I everyone in our organization? In what ways do I became more thoughtful about my behavior. strengthen the self-esteem of staff members? Do I To gauge the perception of my leadership, I conduct an know what motivates each person? What do I know administrative leadership survey about every three years. about their families, the seemingly minor details Using a 1-5 scale, staff members assess the extent to which of their lives, the burdens they are carrying? Am I they have observed 30 specific behaviors on my part and the ready to affirm evidence, even glimmers, of excel- extent to which these behaviors are important to them. In a lence from all corners of the school community? subsequent staff meeting, I revisit one or two items with the biggest disparity between what is occurring and what Model consideration, patience and courtesy. is important. I ask staff to provide me some ways that these Do I get so wrapped up in my work and my image particular areas could be improved. For example, when I noted that I walk past people without acknowledging that the staff felt I didn’t “respond to their needs in a timely them? Or, worse yet, do I acknowledge only some manner,” they offered suggestions for ways I could improve. people? Are people valued as individuals or are In being asked for this level of feedback, people recognize they thought of primarily as assets? Do I maintain the importance of seeking personal growth. In fact, a confidentiality? Do I hurt when others hurt? Am I number of staff have conducted similar surveys with their timely in responding to people’s needs? Am I good students and/or parents. to my word? While “vulnerability” may not be the first quality you associate with leadership, it is deeply powerful. Think of the Listen to understand. Do I stay focused on the implications of taking the time to evaluate your meetings person who is talking with me? Does my body lan- and ask questions such as, Did I, as facilitator, seek every- guage say I am not interested in the conversation? one’s opinion? Did you feel that you had a chance to ask Do I try to multitask when talking with people? questions and to offer your thoughts? What would you like When a person rambles, do I hang in there, mind- to see changed ahead of our next meeting? True, you may ful that the sentence I tune out might hold some expose yourself to an unexpected critique, but the benefits crucial fact? When we’re done talking, do I reiterate of soliciting and responding to input far outweigh the what they said? Do I ask clarifying questions? minor discomforts of a bruised ego. In closing, I offer five precepts (at right) that have Let the staff get to know me. To what extent influenced my thinking as a principal. The extent to which does my staff know me? Do I believe that I can’t I am able to build and sustain trusting relationships in a manage well unless I have an image of impervious spirit of humility, using these five precepts, is foundation- strength? Do I hide my humanity, especially my al to our success as a school. These precepts, however, are in flaws and weaknesses? Do people around me know no way exhaustive. As part of an ever-changing blueprint what I care deeply about, and even what I struggle for strong leadership, they continue to evolve as I continue with? Do I regularly share my core values with staff? to revisit them. As principal, your behavior sets the tone for your Get formal feedback about performance. Do building. Take a step toward vulnerability—and take a step I institute regular feedback mechanisms? Do I ask toward a stronger, more trusting culture. staff for input about how I facilitate meetings? Do I model that learning from mistakes is OK, or do people perceive that they will be reprimanded See an example of Paul’s administrative leadership for errors or failures? Do I model commitment to survey. Go to The Principal’s Handbook at continuous improvement and learning? Do I use, then click on The Principal News. surveys in a judicious manner? If I have made a mistake, do I own it? 10 the principal news | fall 2009
  • FREE Admission in 2009! 3rd Night Free Specials! Call for more details. © Disney Get Away Today Vacations donates a portion of each vacation package purchased by families of students in Washington State to benefit student leadership and professional development programs hosted by the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) and the Washington School Principals Education Foundation. This is a great way to save money on family vacations and assist AWSP in its service to students and principals. Make sure your school receives this free vacation Fundraiser Program by calling 877-564-6428. We make everyone’s dreams come true! 1-800-523-6116 the principal news | fall 2009 11
  • What Money Can’t Buy: Powerful, Overlooked Opportunities for Learning Simple fundamental changes in instruction are less about cash than courage and could make gargantuan differences in student learning. Dr. Mike Schmoker, author of Results NOW: How We Can Achieve Mike Schmoker Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning, will be a Writer and consultant keynote speaker at AWSP’s 2009 Principals’ Conference, Oct. 18-20, Flagstaff, AZ in Yakima. Be sure to join Dr. Schmoker for his presentation, “The Opportunity: From Brutal Facts to the Best Schools We’ve Ever Had.” STATES are in a fiscal funk. This means, as we are told in Education Week, that “ambitious education initiatives” Stop wasting time by using worksheets, movies and the like as if they were important instructional tools. Virtually every audience I have spoken to will admit to the are being scuttled (Jacobson 2008). inexcusable proliferation and abuse of worksheets, movies Sounds grim, but there may be an opportunity here. and other time-consuming activities that only masquerade The current downturn could force us to see how much as instruction. Even teachers and administrators in high- can be accomplished by attending to some long over- scoring or award-winning schools openly acknowledge looked, incontrovertibly effective actions and initiatives. this. Most of them agree that, with exceptions, low-quality Best of all, these are largely free. It’s not that funding is worksheets consume as much as 25 percent or more of irrelevant or that money couldn’t help us institute these class time in most schools. Replacing these with worthy changes. But the simple, fundamental actions I recom- learning experiences (which I later describe) would be like mend could all be done with existing resources. In adding two months to the school year—enough to have a combination, they would have more impact on learning, breathtaking impact on learning. on the achievement gap, and on civic, college and career And then there are…the movies. When I walk the preparedness than anything we’ve ever done. halls of schools, from high-scoring to low, I routinely This might sound farfetched. So before you weigh hear the blare of movies emanating from too many their merits, know that each of the following suggestions darkened classrooms—in science, history and English. has been tested on hundreds of educators, including For most of these (often recent release) films, we hear members of state and national education organizations. the same flimsy justifications, year after year. Most of Overwhelming majorities of these audiences have these movies consume about three entire class periods. strongly agreed with these proposals, as well as the Then, there is the ubiquitous coloring, cutting and problems—the brutal realities—which they address. poster-making, the collages and arts projects—in 12 the principal news | fall 2009
  • subjects like history and English, from kindergarten to text and the chance to argue about the characters and senior year. In a rank perversion of “active learning,” issues within it, and they will do the rest (Wiliam 2007). “differentiated instruction” and “multiple intelligences,” I have led countless discussions with students from collages and mobiles have emerged as unit assessments 2nd grade through university. If you give them a fair for gauging student understanding of To Kill a Mock- chance to read a good text closely and then to form and ingbird and The Great Gatsby—even in honors classes. express an opinion about it, they will respond. This is Something is amiss when high school students spend especially true if they have adequate in-class time to do weeks building a medieval castle for world history, a the reading, under a teacher’s supervision, followed by a course in which time is so clearly precious. chance to pair up to share opinions and impressions All this starts in the early grades, when many chil- before whole-class debate or discussion. dren’s academic futures and their college prospects are This year, I’ve been working with a teacher who does made or broken. That’s when many students discover that this with students continually. With middle schoolers, “reading” class means lots of coloring, cutting and we’ve had great discussions, analyzing and comparing pasting—about two-thirds of classtime, according to Ford readily available texts. We make sure that every student and Opitz (2002). participates. We’ve discussed Plessy v. Ferguson and Add it up. These various diversions translate to several Disney’s use or abuse of history in the movie Pocahontas, months per year of precious instructional time. As bizarre and we’ve closely compared primary source documents as these practices might describing the lives of sound to the average a slave and a New person, educators admit England mill worker. that they are oh-so-com- Of course, we exten- mon in every kind of sively model such school, even as they analytical reading diminish kid’s futures. and thinking for Fixing this is not a every assignment and matter of money. Like all give students plenty of the following, these of opportunities to problems will be solved engage in these only with candid, coura- activities in class, geous dialogue. It’s time with teacher guid- to break the silence on ance. We explicitly these insidious, indefen- and repeatedly teach sible practices. them how to under- But what will replace these activities? Simple, pow- line and annotate a text as they read (I can’t overemphasize erful lessons and activities that are affordable within the importance of this). most school’s budgets. Once you get the hang of these simple activities, they won’t fail you, even if you vary and repeat them hundreds of Dramatically increase the amount of purposeful times per year in almost any subject. Moreover, students do reading, writing and discussion—in as many subjects their best, most impassioned writing after they have as possible. If we replaced the most egregious and time- carefully read and discussed one or more texts—in the wasting activities with vastly more reading, writing and argumentative mode. A legion of thinkers and researchers discussion, something marvelous would happen for has found these simple activities to be the best way to students. There is a revealing story in Cross X, the bestsell- prepare students not only for college, but for the intellec- er about the meteoric rise of an all-black debate team at an tual demands of 21st-century work and citizenship (Conley inner-city high school in Kansas City. Their adventure 2005; Allington 2001; Schmoker 2006). began with a simple practice: Give students an interesting (continued) the principal news | fall 2009 13
  • The impact of this one simple change—replacing poor ments is an essential and ongoing professional learning teaching and pseudo literacy practices (described previ- experience (summer is an excellent time for such work). ously) with large daily doses of purposeful reading, writing Finally, teacher leaders or administrators must meet and discussion—would be seismic. But keep reading: There with teacher teams to constructively discuss the results are other, equally rich opportunities for improvement. of these assessments for continuous improvement purposes. These simple practices have had a stunning impact on schools like Adlai Stevenson High School in suburban Chicago and many schools that have faithfully implemented Stevenson’s model. For what it’s worth, even in the small school district where I once worked, it cost us less than $30,000 in the late 1990s to create the curriculum maps and common assess- ments—about 5 percent of our federal funding allotment for a single year. Monitoring such a simple system is cost-free. And remember: These simple mechanisms address the #1 factor that affects student learning, that is, what we teach (Marzano 2003). Which brings us to how we teach. Huge Ensure that a high-quality, coherent curriculum rewards await those who, at no additional cost, will actually gets taught. On the one hand, Marzano and actually implement what we’ve known for decades about others found that a coherent, agreed-on curriculum effective instruction. (which includes higher-order literacy and problem solving) has more impact on achievement than any Ensure reasonably sound lessons in every subject other factor (Marzano 2003). But only if we actually and classroom. The work of several eminent educators, teach that curriculum. over several decades, points to one of the most simple, And there’s the rub. Numerous studies, including powerful sets of practices we know. They form the Marzano’s, confirm what most educators know all too general structure of an effective lesson. This simple, well: “curricular chaos”—not coherence—still prevails in well-known pattern is supported by the work of Dylan most schools, a result of our no-oversight, high-autono- Wiliam, Robert Marzano, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, my culture (Schmoker and Marzano 1999). Fortunately, Madeline Hunter, James Popham, Richard Stiggins, many successful schools have seen achievement levels Marilyn Burns, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. Together, soar after developing coherent, high-quality curricula— they have a monumental impact on learning for every but only when they instituted monitoring mechanisms kind of student. But alas, these practices are seldom for ensuring that it is taught. consistently implemented in the preponderance of our There is a simple way to ensure a common, high-quality schools and classrooms. Indeed, we don’t insist on them curriculum: Teachers, by school or district, must create or even monitor to ensure that they are implemented. maps, by grading period, designating clearly which Effective lessons (most of them, anyway) start with standards and objectives students will learn, with ample teaching only those skills or standards that teachers fully inclusion of higher-order, critical-thinking, reading and understand and which come directly from the agreed-on writing standards. Then, for each grading period, common curriculum. Then, start the lesson by being scrupulously assessments must be built and administered (not bought clear in conveying both the purpose of the lesson and from a test-prep vendor). Building these maps and assess- how it will be assessed, with a careful description of the 14 the principal news | fall 2009
  • criteria necessary to succeed on the assessment. The lesson References must be taught in manageable steps or “chunks.” Between each step, the teacher must “check for understanding” or Allington, Richard L. What Really Matters for “formatively” assess (e.g., by circulating, scanning, observing) Struggling Readers. New York: Addison Wesley to ensure that students understand the “chunk” that was just Longman, 2001. taught. Between chunks, students engage in “guided practice” replete with teacher modeling (or “thinking aloud”), with Conley, David. College Knowledge: What It Really frequent use of student and adult models and exemplars, Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can where helpful, to help students understand the work. Do to Get Them Ready. San Francisco: Jossey- Throughout the lesson, the teacher makes ongoing adjust- Bass, 2005. ments and clarifies difficult concepts or processes when Elmore, Richard F. Building a New Structure for students are struggling. These general elements are as School Leadership. Washington, D.C.: Albert important for learning three-digit multiplication as for Shanker Institute, 2000. learning how to take notes for content mastery or to effective- ly select and explain supporting quotes and references in an Ford, Michael P., and Michael F. Opitz. “Using argumentative paragraph. In sum, these should be “routine Centers to Engage Children During Guided components of every lesson” (Marzano 2007, p. 180). Reading Time.” The Reading Teacher 55 We know these elements. But we greatly underestimate (May 2002): 710-717. the impact they would have if they were even reasonably well Jacobson, Linda. “States May See Fiscal Squeeze implemented. Dylan Wiliam (who all but coined the term “for- on Education.” Education Week, January 9, mative assessment”) found that such practices can account for 2008, pp. 1, 16. “400 percent speed of learning differences” (2007, p. 185). Students whose teachers largely observe such practices can Marzano, Robert J. What Works in Schools: learn, in a single grading period, what those in less effective Translating Research into Action. Alexandria, classrooms will require an entire school year to learn. For all Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum this, my audiences concede that these simple, universally Development, 2003. known practices are conspicuously absent in most lessons. Marzano, Robert J. The Art and Science of Teaching: This is painfully apparent with respect to perhaps the A Comprehensive Framework for Effective most pivotal component—the “check for understanding” or Instruction. Alexandria, Va.: Association for “formative assessment.” Teachers in America almost univer- Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2007. sally continue to call on students who raise their hands, then move on—while the rest tune out or fall behind because no Schmoker, Mike. Results Now: How We Can one took a moment to see if they understood the material. As Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Richard Elmore notes, effective instruction is voluntary—and Teaching and Learning. Alexandria, Va.: therefore rare (2000, p. 6). Association for Supervision and Curriculum To change this, these elements of good instruction need to Development, 2006. be reinforced and clarified regularly and redundantly. Schmoker, Mike, and Robert J. Marzano. Someone in the system should make regular, brief classroom “Realizing the Promise of Standards-Based visits to ensure they are being implemented—and then Education.” Educational Leadership 56 provide feedback to faculties primarily (and to individual (March 1999): 17-21. teachers only as a last resort). We need to require all teachers to observe effective teaching as a routine matter of profes- Wiliam, Dylan. “Content, Then Process: Teacher sional practice. This, too, could be accomplished in Learning Communities in the Service of already-existing faculty meetings and with existing profes- Formative Assessment.” In Ahead of the Curve, sional development funds. ed. Douglas Reeves. Bloomington, Ind.: (continued) Solution Tree, 2007. the principal news | fall 2009 15
  • Ensure that teachers work in teams, as all true professionals do. Stop honoring “teamwork” and “professional learning communities” mostly in the breach. Be redundantly, obsessively clear about this: True “PLC” teams meet regularly to ensure fidelity to good curriculum that is replete with higher-order skills and habits of mind. Remind each other that professionals don’t let professionals abuse worksheets and movies. Authentic teams build effective curriculum-based lessons and units together—which they routinely refine together on the basis of common assessment data. Adlai Stevenson High School is, deservedly, the poster child for the power of professional learning communities. As one teacher there noted recently, such disciplined teams made all the difference—and didn’t cost anything in additional expenditures. The impact of these simple changes, in combination, would be gargantuan. To be sure, there are legitimate needs for additional funding to address structural needs in many of our schools. But the actions advocated here are less about cash than courage—and clarity. In these tough budget times, we could do no better than to turn our attention, at the national, state and local level, to the historic opportunity these changes represent. “What Money Can’t Buy: Powerful, Overlooked Opportunities for Learning,” by Mike Schmoker, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 90, No. 7 (March 2009): pp. 524-527. Reprinted with permission of Phi Delta Kappa International,, 2009. All rights reserved. Association of Washington School Principals 16 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Straight Talk with Lawmakers Principals are stepping up to share their expertise with legislators. Did you know AWSP helps members set up meetings with their state legislators? As one of the benefits of membership, the Association works on its members’ behalf to organize meetings such as the one described in this article by Seattle principal Jennifer Wiley. For a calendar of principal-legislator district meetings taking place this fall, go to, then click on the “Legislation” tab. “Of all of the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental… And whatever we may think of the curtailment of other civil rights, we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn, the right to have exam- ined in our schools not only what we believe but what we Jennifer Wiley, Ed.D. do not believe; not only what our leaders say, but what the Principal, Franklin High leaders of other groups and nations, and the other centuries, Seattle PS have said. We must insist upon this to give our children the fairness of a start which will equip them with such an array of facts and such an attitude toward truth that they can THE executive board of the Seattle Public Schools Principals Association recently had have a real chance to judge what the world is, and what its greater minds have thought it might be.” — W.E.B. Dubois the pleasure of meeting with Rep. Reuven Carlyle, 36th Leg. District, and Sen. Joe McDermott, 34th Leg. District, for an invigorating discussion about public education in Washington state. During the meeting, the two state legislators expressed an earnest desire to hear about the successes, tri- als and tribulations of principals in order to better understand and advocate for our children. While there were many heartfelt stories of courage, conviction and triumph, there were also shared accounts of the frustration and despair that come with the leadership journey of getting all students to reach academic excellence. Three main themes emerged during the principals’ discussion with the legislators. First, the principals expressed a need to celebrate educators, with special acknowledgment of building leaders. As the principalship grows increasingly complex, research suggests an inextricable link between high-quality instruction and building leadership. Educators, students and school leaders are working harder and in a more focused fashion, despite the backdrop of an ever more challenging society. While teachers deserve thunderous applause for their efforts, we must also take a moment to recognize our principals who are often held in the blinding public light, playing a “shock-absorber” role for the shortcomings of many public services—and doing so with aplomb, dignity and uncompromised tenacity. (continued) the principal news | fall 2009 17
  • Second, the principals called on the legislators to Legislators like Carlyle and McDermott are to be embark upon a more honest dialogue with the public about applauded for reaching out to energize this conversation. education. The average citizen probably does not know that, Although it remains unclear whether these lawmakers in school funding, Washington ranks 42nd among the 50 will be able to make a difference for principals, educators states. This level of funding is acceptable only if we agree and ultimately the young people in our state, the as citizens that a 42nd-rate education is good for our kids. principals in attendance felt the discussion we shared From the perspective of those of us “in the trenches,” it was enlightening on all fronts. We were left with the appears that we are expected to deliver first-rate results and impression that public education is a top priority for experiences for our children with 42nd-rate resources. If both lawmakers, who seemed not only genuinely inter- we expect excellence, it is incumbent upon each and every ested in understanding the principals’ perspective but citizen to ensure as much. further serving on behalf of students and educators to Finally, shared by all was an ethos of high-quality establish a world-class public education system in instruction for every student, with particular emphasis on Washington state. providing historically underserved students more services By meeting with your legislators, you have the oppor- in order to close the opportunity gap. While budgets are tunity to reach out and remind them that public education strained, the demand to do even more with less is reaching a is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. We ought not fever pitch, particularly in light of our commitment to offer- lose sight of this investment in our future as we look for ing all our children equitable educational opportunities. ways to tighten the fiscal belt. When push comes to shove As principals, our plea to legislators is to keep in mind “the in making fiscal decisions at the state and local levels, we paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the must take care of the children first and foremost. Our very education of all children residing within its borders.” democracy depends on it. tbc129154_AWSP_7.5x4.75K_rSG 8/3/09 2:34 PM Page 1 If you wanted to spend your days putting out fires, you would have become a firefighter instead of a school principal. Learn How to Work Less, Produce More, and Still Get the Job Done in a Sensible School Week with Malachi Pancoast, President, The Breakthrough Coach. It’s one of the most practical – and liberating – programs you will ever attend. UPCOMING PROGRAMS IN YOUR AREA: • Seattle, October 1 & 2, 2009 PROGRAM SOLD OUT For more information on our Spring 2010 Programs, please visit 18 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Senator Honored by AWSP Torch of Leadership Award goes to Sen. Rodney Tom. “Principals will play a vital role as we move forward with education reform within the constraints of stagnant revenues,” said Tom, upon learning of the award. “Very few areas in education give us better leverage than making sure every school has a great principal.” “There is not a great school in Washington state that does not also have a great principal; the two go hand-in-hand,” he added. School building administrators in the 48th district have noticed Tom’s hard work. Paul Luczak, principal of Juanita Elementary (Lake Washington SD), remarked, “Sen. Tom is a bipartisan legislator who truly under- Senator Rodney Tom stands educational issues and has worked tirelessly for Torch of Leadership Winner education reform.” Tom just completed his first term in the Washington State Senate after serving two terms in the House. He is the IN June, AWSP selected Sen. Rodney Tom to receive the 2009 Torch of Leadership Award. The award honors a state-level public servant who has demonstrated vice chair for the operating budget on the Ways and Means Committee and also serves on the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee. support of principals and the principalship in the educa- The senator will be honored with a formal recogni- tion of all students. tion and award presentation at AWSP’s next Legislation Tom, who represents the 48th district, was chosen for Committee meeting, Oct. 6, in Seattle. the award for his commitment to K-12 education during The Torch of Leadership Award is administered by the 2009 legislative session. AWSP. Nominations for the award are submitted by mem- According to AWSP Director of Governmental bers of AWSP’s Legislation Committee, and final selection Relations Jerry Bender, the senator has kept education is made by a panel of staff and committee members. a top priority, even when the demands of a downward economy made it difficult to do so. “He appreciates the challenges principals face, and has championed legislation that provides what is needed to Watch an exclusive AWSP interview with carry our students and schools forward,” explained Bender. Sen. Rodney Tom and hear from AWSP As a member of the Basic Education Funding Task members who have hosted legislators Force, Tom helped craft ESHB 2261, which ushers in a in their schools. Go to The Principal’s new plan for the full funding of K-12 basic education in Handbook at, then click on Washington state. He also backed bills supporting the The Principal News. state’s principal internship program and the Washington State Leadership Academy. the principal news | fall 2009 19
  • OuTDOOR lEaRNINg The Outdoor School An outdoor residential experience ‘brings out something good’ in students. I HAVE been an advocate of using the outdoors as a laboratory for learning my entire career in education. My opinion was most likely formed in my Boy Scout days, and that opinion carried over to my approach as a classroom science teacher. Recently I received a report from a group that had visited the Cispus Learning Center. In the report, the adviser relayed an evaluation from one of his students, a Naval Junior ROTC cadet: “I paid 60 bucks to take a two-hour bus ride, get yelled at, sleep in a haunt- Martin E. Fortin, Jr. ed barracks, and do way too many push-ups. It was a perfect weekend.” That statement Director of Outdoor Learning Centers made me think that our greatest advocates are the students who live through the camp AWSP life. The lasting effect of the residential experience affects the participant intellectu- ally, emotionally, physically and socially. I believe the individual’s growth is best expressed when the student relates his or her own experience. Here is what Josh Neitzel from Capital High School in Olympia shared with me: “Cispus has been part of two of the best experiences in my life, first as a camper and then as a counselor. In fact, it was some of my experiences as a camper—being able to connect with the fun of bonding with my classmates, escaping the monotony of conventional schooling and spending time in the outdoors—that made my experience as a counselor that much greater. Remembering the magic of these things as a kid, and again seeing it in the campers taking part in the exact same activities six years later, is moving in a way that only those who have been to camp can fully understand. There’s something about camp that is truly unique. I’m not sure if it’s the people, the facili- ties, the outdoor experience, but it just brings out something good in you. And all of this is coming from a relatively privileged kid. Some people there had never had a chance to go camping, and they experienced things they had never done before. The overwhelming love these kids have for this place just takes you over. These are normal kids—they hate school. But when they go to camp, things change. Learning becomes fun, and that alone makes the entire expe- rience worthwhile.” Ethan Voon, another Capital High School student, best summed up the experience: “In the end, having the chance to enjoy Cispus camp life in this new way as a counselor was a great experience. We got to have fun but, more importantly, I was able to help give the fifth graders a great time.” I am convinced that the residential camp experience has far-reaching benefits. Perhaps one of the best is to see the emerging servant’s heart develop in our high school students. What better place than at outdoor school? 20 the principal news | fall 2009
  • AWSP Annual Report 2008-09 Highlights of Another Great Year in the Principalship The association of washington school principals
  • Annual Report 2008–09 from the Executive Director T he success of any professional Effective That’s why the Association of Washington School Principals is association is dependent on the leadership of its leaders make dedicated to helping all administrators develop, enhance and refine their members. As I reflect on this past year and for effective leadership abilities. This year, more than 3,400 principals, assistant the evolution of the schools. principals, principal interns, teacher Association of Wash- leaders and central office adminis- ington School Principals, trators, from both public and private schools, were members of the I am in awe of the talent Association. Together, they stood at the forefront of academic progress of our Association’s elected leaders. With and school change. remarkable skill and insight, the members and officers of the AWSP board and com- Our members benefit not just from professional development—the ponent boards masterfully set the values primary focus of AWSP’s mission—but also from professional support in and direction for our Association. Because the form of mentoring, coaching and career counseling, administered by of these individuals who have donated their the Association through various programs. Additionally, AWSP gives the time to lead us, AWSP is held in high regard principalship an active voice in the Legislature and Congress, testifying both by its members and by those outside on behalf of—and in partnership with—practicing principals and assis- the Association. tant principals from around the state. The staff at AWSP takes their work personally. In this Annual Report, we have organized our 2008-09 highlights around They understand the research underscoring the Association’s six strategic goal areas—Advocacy, Principal Leader- a principal’s impact on student achievement. ship, Member Services, Diversity and Cultural Competence, Student They see the relationship between their own Leadership and Outdoor Learning Centers. These six areas relate to the work and successful schools, and they are work we do on behalf of our members and the one million students they energized by being a part of AWSP. It is no serve every school day. surprise that I so often receive compliments on the actions of our staff. As we move into next year, with the challenges of more budget shortfalls, significant federal and state legislative issues, and the continued challenge of creating culturally and academi- cally responsive schools, I am confident that the principals of our state are in good hands with their AWSP membership. Gary Kipp AWSP Executive Director awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • AWSP Board of Administrators Directors of the Year national finalist assistant principal of the Year Mike O’Donnell Cle Elum-Roslyn High, Cle Elum-Roslyn sD President Past President Sue Corey Charlene Milota Central Kitsap SD Spokane PS High school principal of the Year Aaron Leavell Bremerton High, Bremerton sD President-Elect Budget Chair Dave Balcom Vicki Puckett Moses Lake SD Northshore SD national finalist Middle level Elementary Representatives principal of the Year Sue Corey (Central Kitsap SD) Jill Massa (Warden SD) Christine Lynch James Rudsit (Peninsula SD) shaw Middle, spokane ps Middle Level Representatives Karen Owen (North Thurston PS) Thomas Schend (West Valley SD #208) John Westerman (Eastmont SD) High School Representatives Phil Brockman (Seattle PS) Distinguished Boyd Keyser (Cle Elum-Roslyn SD) principal of the Year Jennifer Shaw (Franklin Pierce SD) Bruce Cannard Three-Year Component Board Representatives Edison Elementary, Nancy Faaren (Olympia SD) Kennewick sD Diane Otterby (North Kitsap SD) Karen Reid (Mukilteo SD) awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • Notable Numbers in 2008-09 J uly 3,451 Number of AWSP members for the 2008-09 school year (as of June 1, 2009). 98 Percentage of principals and assistant principals in Washington state who are members of AWSP. 106 Total number of years’ experience in the principalship within the AWSP executive staff. 15 NAESP/NASSP National Leaders’ Number of volunteer ambassadors who contacted Conference — Washington, D.C. potential members for AWSP. New Principals’ & Assistant Principals’ 26 Number of assessor/mentors AWSP trained to help principals and assistant principals, bringing the Workshop — Lacey Summer Leadership Retreat — Leavenworth Association’s cadre of assessor/mentors to 68. 34 Number of professional development workshops held for AWSP members and their staff statewide. 66 Number of different school districts represented on AWSP’s Board of Directors, Diversity Task Force and elementary, middle and high school component boards. 42 Number of principals and assistant principals served through AWSP’s Assessing and Developing the 21st Century Principal program. February 21 Number of principals and assistant principals—both new and veteran—who received support through AWSP’s Leadership Coaching Services. 16 Number of districts involved in the pilot year of the Washington State Leadership Academy. 180 Number of interns who participated in the Washington State-funded Internship Program administered through AWSP. Assistant Principals’ Leadership Conference — Vancouver 39 Number of members on the AWSP Facebook Group (as of June 1, 2009). NASSP Convention — San Diego, CA 8 Number of businesses participating in AWSP’s business partnership program. January 47 Number of members who received guidance from AWSP regarding legal matters. Support ranged from answering inquiries about instructional practice to responding to more complex concerns over contracts or personnel isues. 130 Number of schools in Washington state trained in the Raising Student Voice and Participation (RSVP) program. AWSP/WSPEF Board Meeting — SeaTac awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • Highlights of ctober a Great Year August S eptember AWSP Executive Board AWSP/WSPEF Board Meeting The AWSP Principals’ Conference Planning Retreat — Olympia — Port Ludlow — Spokane 2008 2009 May April Washington Scholars Recognition and Luncheon — Olympia J une NAESP Convention — New Orleans, LA AWSP/WSPEF Board Meeting — Redmond WASA/AWSP Summer Conference — Spokane AWSP/WSPEF Board Meeting — Spokane awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • 1 Advocacy AWSP and its members are a leading voice on statewide K-12 education issues, including principal leadership. 2 Principal Leadership AWSP aims to be the preferred provider of professional learning opportunities for all members. Conferences and Workshops “The 2009 session posed many This year, nearly 1, 200 individuals from across the state challenges for K-12 schools. But thanks attended our conferences, including the Summer Leader- to the collective efforts of AWSP, the Legislation Committee and several ship Retreat in Leavenworth, the AWSP Principals’ Con- members advocating on behalf of our ference in Spokane, the Assistant Principals’ Leadership schools, legislation passed that will Conference in Vancouver and the WASA/AWSP Summer support principals’ professional Conference in Spokane. development, maintain internship opportunities and help advance our profession.” In 2008-09, AWSP hosted 34 workshops designed to help members develop and enhance their leadership skills. — scott Friedman, assistant principal, lakeside High, Nearly 1,275 members were served by these events. Nine Mile Falls sD / Chair, awsp legislation Committee Highlights of 2008-09: The Legislative Platform provided 180 interns with up to 32 release days through The Association’s legislative platform is established each the Washington State-Funded Intern Program. fall by the 27-member Legislation Committee. Comprised of principals and assistant principals from around the state, this group prioritizes AWSP’s legislative efforts for “This was an extraordinary training! each session and identifies members who can speak to the I have to rank it as the most useful and issues before committees and in stakeholder meetings. valuable training I have had. The infor- mation I received was truly a gift.” Highlights of 2008-09: — attendee Evaluation, March 2009, Extraordinary leadership workshop Influenced legislation to include AWSP in the development of the redefinition and funding of basic education and the development of a dual-credit program policy. supported the passage of bills that clarified school em- led a “Welcome to Your Internship” workshop for more ployee misconduct, established online learning oversight, than 100 interns starting their principal internship year. and repealed, suspended and amended education statutes. administered comprehensive, confidential and individual- Maintained funding for the Washington State-Funded ized leadership coaching to 21 new and veteran principals Intern Program. and assistant principals. Maintained administrative responsibility for all aspects of Offered assessment and mentoring for 42 principals and school operations, including school media. assistant principals, many at the start of their administra- tive careers, through the Assessing and Developing the Created the Torch of Leadership Award to honor state- 21st Century Principal Program. level public servants who have demonstrated support of principals and the principalship, and named Sen. Rodney provided the 32 principals from schools in “School Tom the recipient of the 2009 Torch of Leadership Award. Improvement” with 159 days of leadership development support. This involved 45 hours of on-site confidential principal consultation and professional development programs for principals and their coaches. “There is not a great school in Washington state that does not also Completed the pilot year for the Washington State have a great principal—the two go hand Leadership Academy, which included more than 40 hours in hand.” of professional development and 11 days of coaching for — sen. Rodney Tom, 48th leg. each of the 16 districts involved, and finalized implementa- District / winner, 2009 awsp Torch of tion planning for the Academy’s second cohort, which will leadership award include 13 additional districts in the 2009-10 school year. awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • 3 4 Diversity and Member Services Cultural Competence AWSP strives to be the leading resource for members AWSP is committed to becoming a more diverse and in need of individualized support and information. culturally competent organization. A Support System for Members The Diversity Task Force In 2008-09, AWSP provided professional guidance and Formed in 2006, the AWSP Diversity Task Force is an legal support to 47 principals regarding legal issues. This advisory team of practicing principals and assistant support ranged from answering informational inquiries principals who aim to: collaborate with organizations about instructional practice to responding to more and individuals to increase the diversity of the principal complex concerns over contracts or personnel issues. population; increase the involvement of minorities in AWSP expanded The Principal’s Handbook, the members- leadership positions of the Association; and infuse only section of, with additional online the topic of cultural competence into pre-service and resources to help members problem-solve from anywhere, in-service training for school leaders. at any time. The Association also launched an AWSP Group Page on Facebook for social-networkers. Highlights of 2008-09: Contributed articles for each issue of The Principal News. Highlights of 2008-09: Continued to meet with the Multicultural Directors Maintained strong membership numbers. Ninety-eight Network. percent of all principals and assistant principals are members of AWSP—one of the highest rates in the nation! updated the Diversity Task Force Web page on the AWSP Web site regularly with news and resources for cultural provided principal support for districts facing potential competence. teacher strikes. Read Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in added new multimedia components to, Schools for the Task Force’s 2008-09 book share. including video, audio and other online features designed to complement the content of The Principal News magazine. Delivered presentations at professional development events, including the the 2008 Principals’ Conference, the 2009 Assistant Principals’ Leadership Conference “When faced with the difficult task of and the 2009 WASA/AWSP Summer Conference. drafting a parent notification letter Increased the number of membership records with about AYP, I contacted the AWSP office ethnicity identified to 1,284. for assistance. The staff—always eager to support principals—championed my cause and helped me create a positive, succinct letter, which I sent out the fol- “As a new (or even veteran) principal, one is certain to lowing day. AWSP membership encom- stumble into conversations and communications that are passes more than legal services, professional development eye-opening. Our children of every color, creed, background and networking; it is the best value of any professional, and circumstance deserve to have adults in their lives service or social organization I’ve ever experienced.” who will go the distance for their success, and who will create and sustain connections with families that instill — Dwight Cooper, principal, Reardan Elementary, hope and a sense of inspiration. This is Reardan-Edwall sD a challenge in itself, as often our leaders have backgrounds that contrast with the lives of their student populations. provided research to members on topics including To meet this challenge, it is critical that professional development budgets, certification issues, principals learn to suspend assumptions co-curricular programs and principal contracts. about families and communities on a deep level.” assisted regions with recognition of members who received Association awards or were elected to office. — Julie perron, ph.D., principal, grant Elementary, spokane ps Maintained strategic partnerships with OSPI, the nine ESDs, and other state and national associations, including WASA, WSSDA, WSPTA, Partnership for Learning, State Board of Education, NASSP and NAESP. awsp annual report | 2008-2009
  • 5 6 Outdoor Student Leadership Learning Centers AWSP provides high-quality student education AWSP provides affordable learning centers to programs with an emphasis on student leadership. support student achievement. Leadership Programs for Students AWSP’s Outdoor Education Centers This year, AWSP served more than 10,000 students, advisers AWSP is the only principals’ association in the nation that and principals through leadership camps, conferences owns and operates two full-time, outdoor education centers: and workshops. Cispus in Randle and Chewelah Peak in Chewelah. Highlights of 2008-09: “Involvement in AWSP’s student leader- ship programs has allowed my students Completed the reroofing of Alder and Dogwood Dorms to view leadership beyond the boundaries at Cispus, along with porch covers financed by a donation of our school and community. Positive, from the Cispus Workshop staff. trained, student leaders can change things in a school more quickly than any- participated in several statewide initiatives to promote thing I can do as a principal. Students environmental education, including the Washington Green have connections and can make things Schools project, “No Child Left Inside” grant program happen when given the opportunity.” though State Parks and OSPI’s Sustainable Design Project. — steve Quick, principal, Oroville Jr./sr. High, Oroville sD Received honorable mention from the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) for contributions to science education. Highlights of 2008-09: Finished construction of Chewelah Peak’s Flowery Trail Increased commitment to providing leadership opportunities Pavilion, complete with bathroom and Challenge Course for underserved student populations. Enrollment increased storage unit, as well as an outdoor basketball court using at both Deaf Teen Leadership Camp and La Cima, the summer funds donated by the Student Leadership program. leadership camp for Latino youth. Completed a new hiking trail connecting the Gold Pan Expanded adviser training opportunities to include Trail with the Beaver Creek Trail at Chewelah Peak, using workshops at AWSP’s Chewelah Peak and Cispus Learning volunteer labor. This trail is shorter with little elevation Centers, and added a custom coaching workshop to give change, which makes it more accessible for younger stu- new advisers and leadership teachers one-on-one support in dents and those not ready for the steeper trails. curriculum development. Concluded work on the drainage and curbs for access to Facilitated retreats and workshops tailored to the needs Chewelah Peak’s Dorm B (now called La Casa). of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Under- graduate Programs (GEAR-UP) grant schools. Participants representing the class of 2011 gained skills in goal setting, “Being able to access a four-season, self-improvement and group process—all aimed at high affordable, first-class facility for all kinds of activities is a definite plus. school and post-secondary success. Each year, my student leaders can’t wait Continued implementation of Raising Student Voice and to be a part of the summer leadership Participation (RSVP), with more than 130 Washington state camp program!” schools now trained. RSVP provides a school improvement — Bob shacklett, principal, template based on student leadership. Thanks to the success Okanogan High, Okanogan sD of RSVP in our state, AWSP was again selected to facilitate national training. The mission of the Association of Washington School Principals is to support principals and the principalship in the education of all students. AWSP • 1021 8th Avenue SE • Olympia, WA • 98501 T: 800.562.6100 F: 360.357.7966
  • Difficult Times Call for Student Leadership In the face of challenges, leadership is not the sole responsibility of the principal. IF you feel your spirit has deteriorated over the past year, you are not alone. As administrators, we are facing discouraging times in education. Budgets have been As a new principal, the question I posed to myself was, “Where do I begin?” My answer: 1) Conduct assessments of student groups and every staff slashed, staffs have been cut, resources have been depleted member through one-on-one interviews. and our students and 2) Develop a strategic plan to build trust and empower families are reeling from staff and students. the economic downturn. 3) Prioritize management duties, structure visibility and relationship-building. Luckily, we have access to 4) Develop a partnership with the Tacoma Police an endless source of inspi- Department and Tacoma Public Schools. ration and hope: students. 5) Analyze and utilize available resources within the In times like these, school district and the community. when both resources and 6) Determine ways to increase student involvement and morale seem to hang in the Thu Ament Falcon Spirit. balance, strong student To succeed in these areas, student leadership would be vital. Henry Foss High Tacoma PS leadership can be a power- In March 2009, the anticipation of the criminal trial ful factor in your own for the 2007 shooting, along with the tsunami of the effectiveness as a leader. economic downfall, had a profound effect on the staff, As we head into the 2009-10 academic year—my third year as principal of my alma mater, Henry Foss High in Tacoma—our school shares the same challenges as many schools across Washington state. We are looking at the loss of an assistant principal, a counselor and 11.8 teaching FTEs. At Foss High, however, the challenges run even deeper. In January of 2007, the Foss community suffered a tragic shooting in one of the school’s hallways, which resulted in the death of one of our students. When I stepped into the principalship in May 2007, I inherited the ongoing difficulties that come with a tragedy of such proportion. I entered a school climate void of student lead- students and community of Foss High. It was a critical ership and full of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. “Falcon moment to empower student leadership. Having expe- Spirit” was dwindling; assemblies had been canceled rienced a student lock-in as an assistant principal at due to misbehaviors prior to the tragedy. Through these Spanaway Lake High, I knew what a structured leadership difficult times, however, what remained constant was the opportunity could do for students. The time was right for a strength and courage shown by staff and students. leadership lock-in at Foss High. (continued on pg. 31) the principal news | fall 2009 29
  • The Technology Leader Your School Has Been Waiting For Surprise: It’s you! PRINCIPAL Glenn Malone leads Wildwood Elementary—a 600-student elementary school in Puyallup, Washington—with a gusto for technology that puts him on the front line of the growing movement toward technology-enriched teaching and learning. He’s a blogger (check out his blog, “Almost Monday,” at, a keen devotee of Flickr, and a regular on Facebook and Ning. He likes to Skype and gtalk when it’s time for Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP). And, he’s got a customized news feed through Google News. What advice does this tekkie have for other principals? Author Julia Fallon finds out. JF: Is there a gap between JF: Tell us about your approach to the professional develop- the way teachers and ment dimension of technology integration. How do you students use technology determine what will work and what you can sustain? today and what you envi- GM: Don’t spend a dime on technology unless you plan sion as a “Classroom 2.0” to spend at least 25 percent of it on professional develop- or 21st-century learning ment. Start with the best teachers you can find and give environment? them tools and training. I’ve often found that those who GM: Huge gap. And want the tech stuff aren’t always the best, most respected Julia Fallon at its core, the gap is users and advocates for technology integration. Here’s the Technology Integration Manager, all about pedagogy. best possible scenario: Start with great teachers who know Educational Technology Department, OSPI We train teachers to how to bring something new into the learning environ- prepare and deliver ment; they will be your best advocates for tech integration. mini-lectures that Train and outfit the classrooms, then line up a tech team speak more to the expert knowledge of the teacher, and that you meet with regularly. Set priorities; develop a his or her ability to integrate academic standards and three-year strategic plan. Think ahead and think smart specific elements of curricula, than they do to their about the stuff you already have and underuse. efficacy as a delivery mechanism for learning. The good news is that most teachers really try to individualize instruction and bring in whatever will help kids reach the learning target. But there’s a barrier when it comes to technology integration. Because integrating the real-world stuff—globally connected collaborative study, digital technologies and the Web 2.0 toolkit—takes a lot more time and preparation. It takes the right teacher education program plus ongoing training, which is in short supply. And, of course, all of this must occur while teachers and school management are struggling with the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) provisions of No Child Left Behind. 30 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Delicious ( is a social bookmarking service. Users tag and save favorite Web pages that they share with others. Facebook ( is a social networking site through which users build a community of friends with whom they interact. Flickr ( is a photo-sharing site. JF: Do you have a piece of advice for another principal Ning ( makes it possible to create your considering a committed move to 21st-century teaching own social network site around personal interests. and learning? GM: You can’t wait any longer. Admit your shortcom- ings and dive in. Start small. Open a Facebook account Principals should boost their own productivity with tech- and follow it. Create a blog and post something—any- nology and remove barriers for their staff and students. thing—once a day for a year. Set up a Flickr account We should be powerful promoters of access to real-world and publish some school pictures. Share a Delicious technologies and the Internet. Check out “Leader Talk” account with a colleague and check in with each other (, an EdWeek site where I and a every week. Set up a Google News account and follow growing number of principals and superintendents post key words that come from district initiatives. I do not practical ideas and talk about field-level issues. You accept the excuse that “I don’t have time.” I don’t have can’t miss the keen interest in high-quality instruction enough time not to use these tools. Your kids deserve enriched by 21st-century technologies. —Glenn Malone to have you lead by example. And, it starts with your own use of the technology. Difficult Times Call for Student Leadership (continued from pg. 29) Given our recent struggles, it was important to make pockets,” said Steven Lee, ASB vice president and a lead the inaugural lock-in something memorable for staff and event coordinator. “I hope it helps spread Falcon Pride students. The planning committee settled on a Disney and improves school spirit and community.” theme to inspire students in the areas of character, team- Students plan to make the leadership lock-in an annual work and leadership. Student leaders collaborated with event at Foss High, which means that, every year, we will teachers and administrators to plan the event for primar- offer both a catalyst for uniting students from varying ily freshman, sophomores and juniors, to build capacity groups and an environment where they can develop their among the ranks. The lock-in, which began at 8 p.m., was leadership skills. With strong student leadership comes a a 12-hour event of workshops, activity rooms, games and stronger school, even in the most challenging times. inspirational speakers. I contributed to the Disney theme by appearing as Captain Jack Sparrow from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean during the kick-off. My message to students See an overview of Thu Ament’s that night was: You are all here for a reason. We believe in work with student leadership. you and your leadership potential. Your purpose is to build Go to The Principal’s Handbook at on that leadership. You can help spread what you learn, then click on The Principal from the lock-in to other students throughout the school. News for a visual account of Ament’s “Students got to know kids they hadn’t met before. By success at Foss High. the end of the lock-in, they were one group versus small the principal news | fall 2009 31
  • PR for Principals Communicating about Food Allergies at School A healthy partnership with parents goes a long way. MOST principals tell us that life-threat- ening food allergies are on the rise. Let’s consider peanuts for starters. According to • risk reduction. Guidelines should be in place to protect food-allergic children from exposure to the Food Allergy Initiative, the number of U.S. children allergens during the school day, during before- and with peanut allergies doubled between 1997 and 2002. after-school programs. Studies in the United Kingdom and Canada also showed a high rate of peanut allergy in school-aged children. • communication and implementation. The roles of parents, staff and students in preventing exposure But peanuts aren’t the only problem. Kids can have to allergens should be clearly defined, and there serious allergies to products containing eggs, milk, should be clear-cut policies and procedures for tree nuts, soy, fish and more. Just this past October, the reporting life-threatening allergic reactions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2007, approximately 3 million U.S. children and Establish communication and responsibilities early. teenagers under age 18 were reported to have a food or Whenever possible, the principal and school nurse digestive allergy in the past year, compared to just over should meet with parents of students with severe food 2.3 million in 1997. allergies before the first day of school to address con- Teamwork between principals, teachers, parents and cerns and determine the action plan. friends is vital to keeping children with food allergies To get ready for the meeting, learn from the safe at school. And communication is key to establish- School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food ing and maintaining this team. Allergies ( SchoolGuidelines.pdf). This document, which was devel- Start with a food allergy policy. oped by a consortium of education associations and Many schools and states have already adopted policies/ allergy experts, defines the responsibilities of the family, guidelines based on best practices. the school and the food-allergic student. Experts with the Food Allergy Initiative For example, parents should teach the child how to ( recommend the following key avoid unsafe foods and recognize allergic reactions. components for an effective food allergy policy: The child should not trade food with others and not eat • Medical management. Your school should anything with unknown ingredients. School staff should have an Individualized Health Care Plan and an know about and follow applicable federal laws including Individualized Emergency Care Plan for every stu- ADA, IDEA, Section 504 and FERPA and any state laws or dent with a life-threatening food allergy. district policies that apply. By Carol Mowen, APR, NSPRA Senior Associate Reprinted with permission from the copyrighted article, “Communicating about Food Allergies at School,” PRincipal Communicator, published by the National School Public Relations Association, 15948 Derwood Rd., Rockville, MD 20855;; 301.519.0496. No other reprints allowed without written permission from NSPRA. 32 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Be sure to consider the individual needs of each child and how the school staff might accommodate those needs. No student is excluded from any activity (including eating in the cafeteria or participating in field trips) because of a food allergy. Use available resources. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network cre- ated an extensive tool kit for school principals and teachers ( Materials include tips, resources and discussion guides, such as a customizable “Food Allergy 101” presentation. The Food Allergy Initiative Web site ( includes a sample letter about peanut allergies for principals. The site also includes detailed information about other types of food aller- gies, tips for food service professionals and resources for parents. Use these tips to get started with your action plan for students with food allergies: • Communicate with a core team about how to work with the parents and student to establish a prevention plan. The team should include a school nurse, counselor, school food service rep and the school principal. Personal Learning Plans for Principals and Teachers · Business Alliances · Brain-based Learning· Alter- native Assessment Models · Real-World Relevance · Higher Education Partnerships · Celebrate Diversi- ty · Integrated Curriculum · Integrated Assessment · Developing Talented Teachers for Student Success • Take threats or harassment against an allergic · Integrated Technology · Caring Teachers · Activities/Service Tied to Learning · Youth Service · Families as Partners · Flexible Scheduling · Small Units · Staff, Student, and Parent Collaboration Personal Learn- child seriously. ing Plans for Principals and Teachers · Business Alliances · Brain-based Learning· Alternative Assess- ment Models · Real-World Relevance · Higher Education Partnerships · Celebrate Diversity · Integrated unleash the Extraordinar y Curriculum · Integrated Assessment · Developing Talented Teachers for Student Success · Integrated • Make sure your school’s parent group addresses Technology · Caring Teachers · Activities/Service Tied to Learning · Youth Service · Families as Partners · Flexible Scheduling · Small Units · Staff, Student, and Parent Collaboration Personal Learning Plans for allergy-related issues at one of its meetings. 2010 Principals and Teachers · Business Alliances · Brain-based Learning· Alternative Assessment Models · Real-World NASSP ANNUAL CONVENTION &Partnerships · Celebrate Diversity · Integrated Curriculum · In- Relevance · Higher Education EXPOSITION MARCH 12–14 • Phoenix, AZ tegrated Assessment · Developing Talented Teachers for Student Success · Integrated Technology · Car- • Include items about food allergies in your school ing Teachers · Activities/Service Tied to Learning · Youth Service · Families as Partners · Flexible Sched- M uling · Small Units · Staff, Student, to join us Collaboration · for the Annual NASSP Principals ake plans now and Parent in Phoenix Personal Learning Plans for newsletter and on your Web site. and Teachers · Business Alliances · Brain-based Learning· Alternative Assessment Models · Real-World Convention and Exposition. Discover new approaches for Relevance · Higher Education Partnerships · Celebrate Diversity · Integrated Curriculum · Integrated As- school improvement and student learning, share best practices sessment · Developing Talented Teachers for Student Success · Integrated Technology · Caring Teach- • Be sure staffers who interact with the student regularly with colleagues, and learn about practical new ideas to share with ers · Activities/Service Tied to Learning · Youth Service · Families as Partners · Flexible your school leadership team. Scheduling · Small Units · Staff, Student, and Parent Collaboration · Personal Learning understand the food allergy, recognize symptoms and Plans for Principals and Teachers · Business Alliances · Brain-based Learning· Alter- know what to do in an emergency. native Assessment Models · Real-World Relevance · Higher Education Partnerships · Celebrate Diversity · Integrated Curriculum · Integrated Assessment · Developing Talented Teachers for Student Success · Integrated Technology · Caring Teachers · Source: School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies (available at SAVE THE DATE the principal news | fall 2009 33
  • honor roll featuring Steve Mullin Our quarterly profile of educational leadership in Washington state. My hometown is… Seattle But the place I like to visit most is… Anywhere warm and tropical with palm trees and affordable golf courses. What was your favorite subject in school? In high school, history. I majored in American Studies in college and then got my master’s at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. What makes you interested in education? From a big-picture perspective, the clear cause-and-effect relationship between the quality of our education system and the future prosperity of our region. From a micro-perspective, the impact public education has on individual youth. It is always motivating to visit schools and meet students. In the past few weeks I have met some great young people at Lincoln High School in Tacoma and Aviation High School Steve Mullin is president of the Washington Roundtable, in Highline. a non-profit, public policy organization comprised of chief executives representing major private sector employers If you could change one thing about schools throughout Washington state. Members of the Washington in Washington state, what would it be? Roundtable engage in and lend their expertise to important public policy issues, including those related to K-12 Elevate teaching as a profession so that education. In September, Steve became a member of the the best and brightest are rewarded for Washington State Principals’ Education Foundation Board. their effective efforts to accelerate student achievement. 34 the principal news | fall 2009
  • What concerns you most about today’s schools? Describe a “teachable moment” in your life. The inability to act nimbly and innovate to prepare Years ago, I was asked to create a new organization that students to succeed, particularly in math and science. eventually became Partnership for Learning. I got lots of good advice from smart people, but much of it was What excites you the most about today’s schools? conflicting. That paralyzed me at bit. Finally a friend suggested that I sit down and use my best judgment to There is increasing traction for the idea that we will draft a work plan, instead of spending months seeking have to buck the status quo in education and do some consensus from people with very different views. Folks things dramatically different to accelerate student generally bought off on it. I learned that, as a friend often achievement, particularly in math and science. says, “in the absence of structure, any structure will do.” What issues, education-related and otherwise, are you What book or magazine is on your coffee table/ most passionate about? nightstand right now? I think I am most passionate about education issues Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. However, the book I am related to closing the achievement gap. I also care actually reading is Shantaram. I buy a lot of non-fiction, deeply about improving Washington’s business climate. but end up reading mostly fiction. I can’t see how we can really make progress long term on education, transportation or other key issues What would you be doing if you were not president without ensuring that Washington is an attractive of the Washington Roundtable? place to run a business. Many years ago I did an interest inventory with a career How has your professional work with the Washington counselor. It indicated that I was drawn to social justice Roundtable influenced your view of education? causes. Perhaps I would be running a social service non-profit. Working with our state’s largest employers, I see the day-to-day struggles of companies that would like to stay You will be joining the Washington School Principals’ in Washington and hire local residents, but are forced to Education Foundation Board this year. What are you look elsewhere due to the lack of qualified candidates. By most looking forward to in this new role? 2014, 77 percent of new job openings in Washington state that pay a family wage will be held by workers who Learning firsthand about the challenges principals have had education or training beyond high school. This face. Also getting the chance to work with some really means that preparing all students to be college- and great people. work-ready isn’t just a social or moral imperative—it’s an economic imperative. the principal news | fall 2009 35
  • Book Reports Polar Dream author Helen Thayer will be a keynote speaker at The AWSP Principals’ Conference, Oct. 18-20, in Yakima. Don’t miss it! moving more than a hundred miles in a single day. One might equate that moving target with educational stan- dards over which many things exert influence. Another parallel: Thayer’s eventual realization that trying to con- Polar Dream trol her surroundings when faced with polar bears and ice splitting beneath her would drain her energy, leaving By Helen Thayer nothing to spare when situations arose over which she Publisher: NewSage Press did have control. She acknowledged that, while difficult, (2002) one sometimes needs to give up control and trust one’s ISBN: 0-939165-45-7 instincts—a lesson we might all take to heart. 186 pages Whether confronted by polar bears and ice or students Reviewed by Marilyn Boerke, and staff, preparation, practice and confidence will lead Principal, Liberty Middle to success. While we may sometimes feel we are on a solo School, Camas SD expedition, having a support system in place is critical. Thayer learned to accept what she had and feel grateful Polar Dream chronicles the rather than wish she had more. Acceptance and gratitude first solo expedition by a allow us to deal with problems and channel energy into woman to the Magnetic North moving ahead. In these sometimes troubling times, Pole, completed by Helen Thayer (and her dog) in 1988 at our students deserve our unflagging commitment and age 50. During her 27-day, 364-mile journey, Thayer faced guidance. Onward! sub-zero temperatures, rough and cracking ice, fierce Arctic storms, frostbite, hunger and menacing polar bears while pulling a six-foot-long sled loaded with 160 pounds of gear and supplies. With the exception of radio The Element: contact to report her progress, she had no interaction How Finding Your Passion with humans at all. Changes Everything Thayer undertook this journey after spending her life By Ken Robinson, Ph.D., as an outdoor enthusiast and international athletic com- and Lou Aronica petitor. Researching for the journey, she was surprised to Publisher: Viking Penguin (2009) find how little information had been written about Arctic ISBN: 978-0-670-02047-8 expeditions, so she kept a journal and took photos docu- 274 pages menting landscape, wildlife, weather and temperatures Reviewed by Diane Ball, Assistant to be shared with students upon her return in a program Principal, Cedarcrest Middle entitled “Adventure Classroom.” School, Marysville SD Reading of her trek, I paused often to reflect on parallels with our journey as school administrators. The Author Ken Robinson refers to Magnetic North Pole cannot be defined as a dot on a map “the element” as a point where an individual’s work and but is an elusive target in constant motion, sometimes natural strengths come together and result in success. 36 the principal news | fall 2009
  • He describes the journey of several individuals, includ- ing The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, hip-hop poet The Leader In Me: Black Ice, professional ballerina and choreographer How Schools and Parents Around Gillian Lynne and musician Mick Fleetwood, as they the World Are Inspiring Greatness, achieved success working in their element. One Child at a Time In The Element: How Finding Your Passion By Stephen Covey Changes Everything, Robinson identifies sources that Publisher: Free Press (2008) empower individuals to uncover and develop talents. ISBN: 987-1-4391-0326-5 Among them: 248 pages • Mentors in our schools and workplaces who help us Reviewed by Sue Lennick, Principal, recognize and encourage talents, serve as facilita- University Elementary, tors and stretch us past our own perceived limits Central Valley SD • Support groups or “tribes” of trust where we are “We only get one chance to prepare our validated, inspired and challenged to achieve students for a future that none of us can possibly predict. What higher levels of success are we going to do with that one chance?” • A positive attitude and outlook for life • Unwavering perseverance and determination The Leader In Me provides an inspiring model for teaching to overcome obstacles personal leadership to all ages—even students as young as five years old. It is based on a well-structured framework that follows The author also pinpoints challenges that author Stephen Covey’s leadership philosophy. The book shares hinder us from finding our natural talents. Those successes that actual schools have had incorporating Covey’s 7 challenges include: Habits of Highly Effective People into their curricula. The posi- • Personal, social and cultural constraints tive results documented by these schools include an increase in • The fear of being different student achievement, a decrease in student discipline problems, • A narrow definition of intelligence measured by a major shift in student attitudes and behaviors, and more posi- standardized tests tive approaches to problem solving and student engagement. • An education system that was designed to meet the Capturing how “the seven habits” can be a part of any school needs of the Industrial Revolution and follows culture, The Leader in Me is designed to be integrated into a a hierarchy of subjects where creativity ranks low school’s core curriculum and everyday language—thereby avoid- ing the mindset that it is just “one more thing” teachers and In schools, Robinson advocates creating classroom administrators have to do. Covey offers thorough step-by-step environments that foster creativity, designing diversi- guidelines of how schools have implemented the leadership fied instruction that enables all students to experience program. (With its focus on increasing parental involvement, success, and encouraging students to follow their the parent piece was exceptionally appealing for me.) To comple- passions regardless of what the crowd thinks. ment the book’s program, Covey provides a wealth of doable This book reminds us of the importance of recog- ideas and accessible resources—lessons, visuals and a Web site. nizing multiple intelligences, supporting individual The “Leader in Me” program is capable of supplementing an growth and developing creative problem-solving skills existing character education program or standing on its own. through effective instruction to prepare students to I believe this book has great potential in assisting principals, meet the challenges of the workplace of tomorrow. teachers, students and parents to better prepare our young people for leadership in the 21st century. The Leader In Me dem- onstrates how Covey’s ageless life principles can have a profound impact on every facet of life, and provides compelling evidence that one is never too young or too old to become a real leader. the principal news | fall 2009 37
  • The Leader in Me Polar Dream The Element by Stephen R. Covey by Helen Thayer by Ken Robinson 38 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Managing the ‘Unsolvable Problem’ Polarity management helps leaders make the most of the see-saw effect. AT some point, every leader faces it: A crisis brought on by what appears to be an “unsolvable problem” of opposing personalities, perspectives or ideas. Think of polarity management this way: On any given Are you facing an unsolvable problem, even as your team, there will be a variety of talents coexisting and staff and students are celebrating a great achievement continuously balancing against one another. It is like an in your school? If you have been moving either slowly or old-fashioned teeter-totter where one person pushes off rapidly toward improvement and you find yourself in the the ground as the other person releases and comes down new territory of breakthrough results, the unexpected from their high vantage point. Sometimes they meet in side effect may be disharmony among the very people who the middle in perfect balance, but then the see-saw begins have journeyed with you again as one side rides high and the other rides low. What to this new and foreign fun would it be to remain stationary? The exhilaration place called “success.” comes in part from the movement caused by the person The stakes suddenly pushing off on the opposite end from you. become very high as Barry Johnson’s book, Polarity Management: each player steps up to Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems, pro- own the achievement and vides a framework for effective polarity management. his or her role in it. In this book, Johnson clearly lays out the early warning At Pioneer Elementary signs of imbalance in an organization as well as the Debra Gary in the Auburn School action steps needed to correct problematic language. District, we faced a crisis This framework gave me, as the leader, the neutral and Pioneer Elementary Auburn SD as we broke through immediately applicable device of polarity management the barriers of poverty to work through our issues. (average 70 percent), Using this device, the Pioneer Elementary staff agreed mobility (average 30 percent) and English language learn- on the key polarities that would move things forward: ers (average 35 percent) to close the achievement gap in reading on the 4th grade WASL. As the staff recognized • Holding a common vision and making room for respectful disagreement the need to be “on the same page,” we strove to achieve a clearer vision and more cooperation. Our work, however, • Centralized decision making and collaborative decision making generated a conflict we had not anticipated—a conflict revolving around the challenges of reduced autonomy and • Focusing on tasks and strengthening relationships the consequences of performance-based accountability. If • Challenge (expecting people to improve) and support (honoring and celebrating what’s good now) not addressed, these issues had the potential to create an unsolvable problem. As a team, we learned to distinguish between a conflict After grappling with this conflict, we consulted with The to solve and a conflict to manage. We identified the pat- Center for Courage and Renewal ( terns that led to solutions. And, together, we came to and learned about “polarity management,” a remarkable appreciate the exhilaration of success, from either side tool for any organization facing the forces of change. of the teeter-totter. the principal news | fall 2009 39
  • CulturalVillage It Takes a Competency: In one school, parents are helping put the district’s vision into action. On July 7, 2009, an article in The Seattle Times noted that, in seven Seattle-area school districts, the majority of the student body is made up of ethnic minorities. In this article, AWSP Diversity Task Force member Rebekah Kim shares how one of those districts is addressing this issue with its administrators, teachers and staff. IN the Highline School District, we have worked to create a cultural competency vision that meets the needs of all students and staff: munities participated in presentations and student and parent panel discussions. While administrators were being trained, our staff members were bringing this work into their own build- “Cultural competency is the willingness and ability ings. At Marvista Elementary, we focused on increasing of every individual within the Highline educational our relevance to the school community. At first, we system to become aware of one’s cultural identity, to partnered with another local school for trainings. As the embrace the knowledge of other cultures and infuse significance of this work evolved, we created a cultural this awareness at all levels of the educational system competency committee to plan our own staff trainings. In in order to improve the quality of education.” our most recent work, we sought to gain more perspectives The journey toward this three- to five-year vision from parents of our students of color. We hosted a parent began with the belief that cultural competency must start panel, during which staff listened and interacted as par- with the administra- ents shared their family’s passion for education. tive team empowering After the panel, staff had an opportunity to share their district leaders with the feelings. The summative feeling was that all parents value training, self-awareness the same things for our children: respect and a good edu- and tools to support cation. The task before us is to determine how we give our critical work at the build- students an accessible and quality education as we work ing level. Driven by this to understand their learning styles and how we differenti- belief, the administrative ate instruction to meet the changing and varying needs in team took an assessment each classroom. Rebekah Kim to determine the needs of Our goals for the upcoming school year include becom- Marvista Elementary our district and the areas ing more aware of cultural norms so staff will be better Highline SD requiring the most focus. equipped for dealing with student and family communica- As a team, administra- tions. Additionally, we plan to do more research to gauge tors launched into their parents’ perception of our treatment of minorities as well self-awareness work with a book study based on Beverly as parents’ comfort level in the school setting at science Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in fairs, PTSA meetings and other family events. As a school the Cafeteria? and district, we will focus on infusing this work into how During the first year, our trainings focused on white we design instruction. We will work toward understand- privilege, stereotypes and ways our students perceive their ing the culture and learning style of each student while educational experience. The following year, we built upon maintaining high expectations for all students. our awareness by increasing our knowledge of the commu- As we continue our work in creating a system of nities in which we work. Members of Latino, East African, accountability, we will keep a lens on cultural competency African-American, Native American and low-income com- across all content areas. the principal news | fall 2009 41
  • Board Highlights June 2009 Association of Washington School Principals Board minutes were approved for the April 23, 2009 meeting. • The Board accepted Dave Balcom’s resignation from the position of president-elect due to his upcoming transfer to the district office. • The Board approved a motion to accept the WASSP Goal 3: Member Services nomination of Phil Brockman as AWSP president for • Total membership as of June 3, 2009 was 3,456. It is 2009-10. The Board then approved a motion to accept anticipated that next year will usher in a decrease in the AWMLP nomination of John Westerman as AWSP membership due to positions being eliminated. president-elect for 2009-10. The new officers will begin • It was reported that the AWSP receptionist was laid off their terms July 1. due to budget reductions. • The Board passed a motion to approve a one-year • The Communications and Business Partnership extension (to 2011) for the contract of Gary Kipp as Report was provided for April-June 2009. AWSP executive director. • The Board passed a motion to revise the AWSP • Maury Nollette, AWSP’s financial advisor, provided the Conflict of Interest Policy G-1 to add the statement: annual review of the AWSP investment accounts. The “This policy is to be annually reviewed with the Board passed a motion to approve a change in bond Board of Directors.” fund management. VEBA Update • The Board heard a status report on the AWSP budget • Dave Bouge, AWSP representative to the VEBA Board as of May 31, 2009. of Trustees for seven years, was thanked for his • The Board passed a motion to accept the proposed service; Gordon Grassi will be his replacement. Paula 2009-10 budget on an interim basis, with final approv- Bond is the other AWSP representative to the board. al to take place at the fall meeting, Sept. 24. • The VEBA Trust State Report was presented. It was • Liaisons to the State Board of Education and OSPI reported Meritain Health will be the new third-party reported on current events and projects. administrator as of July 1, 2009. Goal 1: Advocacy AWSP Board Direction for 2009-10 • The Board received an update on the AWSP legisla- •Board members provided input for review and discus- tive platform. Highlights were provided on legislation sion at the annual executive leadership planning passed during the 2009 session that affects education session in August. and AWSP programs. Next AWSP Board meeting • The AWSP Torch of Leadership Award will be present- Thursday, September 24, 2009 ed to Sen. Rodney Tom (D), 48th Legislative District. Renaissance Seattle Hotel 42 the principal news | fall 2009
  • Washington School Principals’ Education Foundation Board minutes were approved for the April 24, 2009 meeting. • The Board received the budget report as of May 31, 2009 for The Principal Leadership Center and approved a motion to accept an amended budget for 2009 as presented. • Budget reports to date were provided for the Student • Chewelah Peak Learning Center activities were high- Leadership program and the Cispus and Chewelah lighted. Work continues on construction and landscap- Peak Learning Centers. ing. As part of an annual training exercise, a group of Goal 2: Principal Leadership firefighters built a new trail at CPLC. • Program updates were provided for the: • Washington will likely be a pilot state for the National State-Funded Principal Internship program Board Certification for Principals, and 13 active princi- Principal certification program pals have been invited to help develop this program. Principal assessor-mentor program (state funding was eliminated) • Charlene Milota will replace Colleen Nelson in the board position of an AWSP past president. Colleen was Leadership coaching services thanked for her two years of service on the Board. AWSP partnership with OSPI on the School Improvement Assistance program • John Pehrson was honored for his service to the New Principals’ and Assistant Principals’ Workshop Association. He was the first non-principal to join the Principals’ Summer Leadership Retreat Foundation Board. He also facilitated the development Washington State Leadership Academy of AWSP’s strategic plan. Goal 5: Student Leadership Programs Next WSPEF Board meeting: • The Board received a summary of Student Leadership Friday, September 25, 2009 programs and activities. Renaissance Seattle Hotel • It was reported Susan Fortin conducted a “train the trainer” RSVP workshop at the National Association of Student Councils Conference in Denver. The state del- egation to the conference was the smallest in 18 years. For the April 2009 Board Report, Goal 6: Outdoor Learning Centers please visit The Principal’s • Highlights of recent activities were provided for Handbook at, then Cispus Learning Center. It was reported some larger click on The Principal News. school districts will not be participating in the com- ing year due to budget reductions. the principal news | fall 2009 43
  • Component News The AWSP component boards meet quarterly during the school year to discuss issues related to elementary, middle and high school instruction. Check the AWSP Web site if you are interested in attending a meeting, or contact the AWSP office for further information. Elementary School Principals Association of Washington Association of Washington (ESPAW) Middle Level Principals (AWMLP) • The ESPAW executive committee members for 2009-10 are: • The AWMLP executive committee members for 2009-10 are: John Westerman, president; principal, Eastmont Jill Massa, president; principal, Warden Elementary, Junior High, Eastmont SD Warden SD Karen Owen, past president; principal, Nisqually Jim rudsit, past president; principal, Purdy Middle, North Thurston PS Elementary, Peninsula SD randy Heath, president-elect; principal, Coweeman rex larson, president-elect; principal, Gause Middle, Kelso SD Elementary, Washougal SD dave Bouge, vice president; principal, Bowdish Brian Pickard, treasurer; principal, South Colby Middle, Central Valley SD Elementary, South Kitsap SD diane Otterby, AWSP three-year representative; Sherry adams, East Side vice president; principal, assistant principal, Poulsbo Middle, North Kitsap SD Cottonwood Elementary, West Valley SD Marilyn Boerke, NASSP coordinator; principal, Marcia Boyd, West Side vice president; John Rogers Liberty Middle, Camas SD Elementary, Seattle SD diane Ball, director representative; assistant dwight cooper, NAESP representative; principal, principal, Cedarcrest Middle, Marysville SD Reardan Elementary, Reardan-Edwall SD Karen reid, AWSP representative; principal, Serene • New members who joined the AWMLP Board in 2008-09 include: Lake Elementary, Mukilteo SD Marilyn Boerke, St. Helens regional director; • ESPAW’s focus for the 2009-10 school year is “leader- principal, Liberty Middle, Camas SD ship in difficult times.” As a part of that focus, the Sheila Gerrish, Sno-Isle regional director; board will: principal, Cedarcrest Middle, Marysville SD Participate in a book study of Ten Traits of Highly derek Forbes, Northwest regional director; Effective Teachers: How to Hire, Coach and Mentor principal, Mount Baker Junior High, Mount Baker SD Successful Teachers by Elaine McEwan. Whitney Meissner, Olympic regional director; Address and discuss the topic of facilitating effec- principal, Chimacum Middle/High, Chimacum SD tive staff meetings and professional development at Tim Gordon, Kingco North regional director; each board meeting. principal, Kenmore Junior High, Northshore SD Explore stress reduction for principals with guest Kim Whitworth, Seattle regional director; speakers and activities at board meetings through- principal, Eckstein Middle, Seattle PS out the year. • Election of new officers for the ESPAW board will take • The AWMLP Board of Directors will focus its profes- sional development activities on a group reading of place in the fall. Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the • The ESPAW Resource Committee, led by lynn Jorgen- Differentiated Classroom by Rick Wormeli, delving son, principal, Breidabilk Elementary, North Kitsap into the latest research and common sense thinking SD, and Jennifer rose, principal, Medina Elementary, that teachers and administrators seek when it comes Bellevue SD, will focus on creating math resources for to assessment and grading in differentiated classes. principals across the state. • AWMLP President John Westerman, President-elect randy Heath and NASSP Coordinator Marilyn Boerke attended the NASSP/NAESP National Leaders’ Confer- 44 the principal news | fall 2009
  • ence in Washington, D.C. in July and spoke with mem- • The WASSP Rep Council thanks the following individuals: bers of the Washington state congressional delegation For completing his term as NASSP Region 7 director: regarding key issues that impact the principalship. Jeff Miller, principal, East Valley High, East Valley- • Outstanding middle level principals and assistant Spokane SD principals are recognized annually in each of AWMLP’s For completing his term as Rep Council at-large represen- 15 regions statewide. The 2008-09 Regional Principals tative: Ted Howard, principal, Garfield High, Seattle PS and Assistant Principals of the Year will be recognized For completing their terms as league representatives at the AWMLP luncheon during the 2009 AWSP Princi- to the Rep Council: pals’ Conference in Yakima. AWMLP regional directors – Beth daneker, principal, Lake Quinault High, Pacific 1B coordinate selection of the Regional Distinguished Prin- – Karen larsen, principal, White Pass Junior/Senior cipals and Regional Distinguished Assistant Principals High, Central 2B using a process determined by each individual region. If – Kristine Brynildsen-Smith, principal, you are interested in nominating a colleague for recogni- Archbishop Murphy High, Cascade 1A/2A tion, please contact the regional director for your area. – Mark Marney, principal, Eastmont High, Questions? Call the AWSP office (800.562.6100) for ad- Columbia Basin 3A/4A – Kevin lusk, principal, Prosser High, CWAC 2A ditional information. – aaron leavell, principal, Bremerton High, Olympia 2A/3A Washington Association of – John Polm, principal, Jenkins High, Secondary School Principals (WASSP) Great Northern 1A • The WASSP executive committee members for 2009-10 are: Jennifer Shaw, president; principal, Franklin Pierce High, Franklin Pierce SD Phil Brockman, past president; principal, Ballard High, Seattle PS carole Meyer, president-elect; principal, John R. Rogers High, Spokane PS Ken Schutz, NASSP coordinator; principal, Odessa High, Odessa SD Algebraic Thinking (AT) provides comprehensive and ongoing nancy Faaren, AWSP three-year representative; professional development with on grade level middle school principal, Capital High, Olympia SD mathematics instruction. The goal is to raise the achievements and confidence of students who have struggled in mathematics Mark Marshall, at-large representative; Thomas to become highly competitive in mathematics. Jefferson High, Federal Way PS • Jennifer Shaw, principal, Franklin Pierce High, Frank- The Key Elements to Mathematics Success (KEMS) is a combination of supplemental lessons and professional lin Pierce SD, and Ken Schutz, principal, Odessa High, development designed to enhance student understanding of concepts that are essential to 6th and 7th grade Odessa SD, attended the NASSP/NAESP National Lead- mathematics. ers’ Conference in Washington, D.C. in July. • The WASSP Rep Council has spent a significant amount The Key Elements to Algebra Success (KEAS) is a set of supplemental lessons reinforced by professional development, of time studying and providing input to the State Board designed to enhance student understanding of essential algebra concepts. of Education on CORE 24. Regional high school principals have been invited to attend the Rep Council professional The Key Elements to Classroom Management Success (KECMS) is a workshop focused on maximizing student development sessions on CORE 24. performance through motivation, respect, discipline and • Last year, the WASSP Rep Council read Robert Marzano’s organization. This interactive one or two day workshop supports teachers in managing their classes by focusing on School Leadership that Works: From Research to Results areas including classroom characteristics, psychology of the struggling learner, rules and procedures, time management and attended a June McREL workshop on balanced leader- and planning. ship to help principals develop their leadership skills. the principal news | fall 2009 45
  • FROM THE awsp ExECuTIvE DIRECTOR Quotes and Questions AS usual , my verbosity got away from me, leaving my managing editor the task of paring down my original 5,000 words to a mere 500. Here’s what was left—some quotes and questions for you to consider. “Educators equate professionalism with autonomy—getting to use their own judgment, to exercise discretion, to determine the conditions of their own work in classrooms and schools. In fact, professionalism outside of education is exactly the opposite of this definition. Professionals gain their social authority not be exercising autonomy, but by subscribing to an externally validated body of knowledge, by agreeing to have their discretion limited by that knowledge, and by facing sanctions if they operate outside that body of knowledge.” —richard elmore If principals are to work with their teachers to help them redefine professionalism in teaching and understand the “externally validated body of knowledge,” when will they do that? “If the threat of death does not motivate people who are ill, what on earth is going to moti- vate teachers to change? The answer has to be deep engagement with other colleagues and with mentors in exploring, refining and improving their practice as well as setting up an environment in which this not only can happen but is encouraged, rewarded and pressed to happen.” —Michael Fullan The Seahawks had hundreds of hours together for “deep engagement with other colleagues” prior to their first game on Sept. 13. How many hours did you have with your teachers before the first day of school? Gary Kipp “It is not national legislation demanding that all students learn or the adoption of rigorous Executive Director standards that will transform schools. In fact, in many schools the effort to raise stan- AWSP dards and have tougher high-stakes assessments will not contribute to the creation of a stretch culture, but will instead contribute to a culture of learned hopelessness for students and staff alike. In other schools the standards movement will be used as a catalyst to help students achieve at higher levels. The staff of some schools will look for external solutions, waiting for the state to change legislation, the district to provide more resources, or the parents to send more capable students to their schools. They will look out the window for solutions. In other schools the staff will work together collaboratively to develop their collective capacity to meet the needs of their students. They will look in the mirror for solutions. Ultimately, what will make the difference is not the standards themselves, but the self-efficacy of the staff—their belief that it is within their sphere of influence to impact student achievement in a positive way.” —richard duFour What does it say about our system that some districts can find no other time to devote to building collective self-efficacy than to take it out of the precious few school days we set aside for learning in our country? “Quality teaching requires strong professional learning communities. Collegial interchange, not isolation, must become the norm for teachers. Communities of learning can no longer be considered utopian; they must become the building blocks that establish a new foundation for American schools.” —national commission on Teaching, 2003 As our legislators and the Quality Education Council enact ESHB 2261 to redefine basic education, will they pay attention to this statement? How can we establish collaboration as a “building block” for America’s schools if no time is budgeted for it in what the state considers “basic education”? More online! Hear Gary Kipp’s thoughts on these and other quotes and questions! Go to The Principal’s Handbook at, then click on The Principal News. 46 the principal news | fall 2009
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