volume 39 • No. 1
with Lawmakers What Money Can’t Buy:
p. 17 Powerful, Overlooked
Opportunities for Learning
The Technology Leader
By Mike Schmoker
Has Been Waiting For p. 12
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
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• 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 www.WaldenU.edu/AWSP.
• M.S. in Education
• M.S. in Instructional Design and
• B.S. in Child Development To schedule an Information Session
• B.S. in Instructional Design at your school, please contact
• Endorsement Programs Cynthia Tracey at 425-495-9693
• Teacher Preparation Programs or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Graduate Courses for Teachers
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the
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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 www.WaldenU.edu 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 email@example.com 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.
To learn more about AWSP professional development
activities or to register for an event, visit the AWSP
Web site at www.awsp.org.
Renton 23 ASB Finance Issues and Answers Moses Lake 30 ASB Finance Issues and Answers
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
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
Shoreline 7-8 Effective Strategies to Maximize
Instructional Conversations Renton 12 ASB Finance Issues and Answers
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 www.wasbo.org.
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
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 • www.awsp.org National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Secondary School Principals
4 the principal news | fall 2009
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
Susanne Danubio Production Room Coordinator 6 The Editor’s Desk
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
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
Managing Editor Jennifer Fellinger
Printing Capitol City Press
2975 37th Ave. SW
Tumwater, WA 98512 4 Professional Development Calendar
www.capitolcitypress.com 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.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
www.awsp.org, 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
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
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
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.
the principal news | fall 2009 9
Once these were adopted, I asked the staff, first and fore-
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
www.awsp.org, 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
What Money Can’t Buy:
Powerful, Overlooked Opportunities
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,
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, www.pdkintl.org, 2009. All rights reserved.
16 the principal news | fall 2009
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 www.awsp.org, 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,
email@example.com 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
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
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18 the principal news | fall 2009
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 www.awsp.org, 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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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-
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
Annual Report 2008-09
Highlights of Another Great Year in the Principalship
The association of washington school principals
T he success of
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.
AWSP Executive Director
awsp annual report | 2008-2009
AWSP Board of Administrators
Directors of the Year
of the Year
Cle Elum-Roslyn High,
Cle Elum-Roslyn sD
President Past President
Sue Corey Charlene Milota
Central Kitsap SD Spokane PS
principal of the Year
President-Elect Budget Chair
Dave Balcom Vicki Puckett
Moses Lake SD Northshore SD
principal of the Year
Sue Corey (Central Kitsap SD)
Jill Massa (Warden SD) Christine Lynch
James Rudsit (Peninsula SD) shaw Middle,
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)
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
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.
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
Washington Scholars Recognition and
Luncheon — Olympia
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
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
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 www.awsp.org, 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.
Read Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in
added new multimedia components to www.awsp.org, 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
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
assisted regions with recognition of members who received
Association awards or were elected to office. — Julie perron, ph.D., principal, grant Elementary,
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
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
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 www.awsp.org
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
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
email@example.com 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 almostmonday.blogspot.com), 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
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 (www.delicious.com) is a social bookmarking
service. Users tag and save favorite Web pages that they
share with others.
Facebook (www.facebook.com) is a social networking
site through which users build a community of friends
with whom they interact.
Flickr (www.flickr.com) is a photo-sharing site.
JF: Do you have a piece of advice for another principal Ning (www.ning.com) makes it possible to create your
considering a committed move to 21st-century teaching own social network site around personal interests.
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
(www.leadertalk.org), 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.
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 www.awsp.org, 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 (www.foodallergy.org/school/guidelines/
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
(www.faiusa.org) 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; www.nspra.org;
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
Materials include tips, resources and discussion guides,
such as a customizable “Food Allergy 101” presentation.
The Food Allergy Initiative Web site
(www.faiusa.org) 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
Use these tips to get started with
your action plan for students with
• 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
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.
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-
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 www.foodallergy.org) SAVE THE DATE
the principal news | fall 2009 33
featuring Steve Mullin Our quarterly profile of educational
leadership in Washington state.
My hometown is…
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,
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
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
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
the principal news | fall 2009 35
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
contact to report her progress, she had no interaction
How Finding Your Passion
with humans at all.
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
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
‘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
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
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
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 (www.couragerenewal.org) 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
It Takes a
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-
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
Association of Washington
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.”
• 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’
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
• 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 www.awsp.org, 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
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
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
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;
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
– aaron leavell, principal, Bremerton High,
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
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-
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.awsp.org, then click on The Principal News.
46 the principal news | fall 2009
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