We have three great sessions on Thursday and Friday for superintendents and principal supervisors at the AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville. Check them out!
Since 2015, Tammy Campbell has served as superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools, a diverse district of 39 schools and 23,000 students in Washington state. As an inspiring, second-year superintendent with 20 years of experience in education, Campbell delivered the opening keynote presentation at the CEL Summer Leadership Institute, held July 18-20, 2017. CEL’s Sheeba Jacob had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Campbell recently.
Over the past few years, I have noticed something in the principals I work with. As their work has gotten more complex and intense, the question of “Why am I doing this work?“ starts to come up more often.
So, at the end of the last school year, I asked each principal to interview a student they regarded as a main reason as to why they came to work every day and entered the profession. The video clips we got back were inspiring. One principal filmed a student whose family came from Mexico, struggled with English in middle school and became an amazing leader. Another talked to a high-achieving student who was touched to tears to be one of the principal’s main motivations for their work.
As the director of teaching and learning, I had to ask myself: What story do I have to tell? What’s my “why”?
In many ways the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) marks a departure from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). But at least in one way it stays the course: the notion of school turnaround is alive and well.
Under ESSA, the federal government still requires states to identify their worst-performing schools and come up with a plan to make them better. If ESSA plays out like NCLB, then schools and districts will be working mightily to stay just above the line that triggers a turnaround — an aspirational low bar for sure.
As part of these efforts, schools and districts will be reaching out for the helping hands of a variety of newly minted — or as is often the case, re-minted — programs and solutions.
Over the past several years, we have become more keenly aware of the pervasive nature of opportunity and achievement gaps in many of the schools serving our most vulnerable students. These differences in opportunities, supports and outcomes represent some students’ limited access to excellence in all aspects of their education.
The challenge for principals is to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to engage in a quality education experience. To meet this challenge, both equity and excellence must be driving forces in the leadership of schools. Principals must be equity-centered instructional leaders.