Principal November/December 2015: Breaking the Cycle

Principals don’t control systemic issues that contribute to the nation’s student achievement gap, such as inequities in school funding or the growing number of homeless students. But they do, however, have a major impact on a leading equalizer to these inequities: school culture. School culture is at the heart of many of the various strategies educators offer to break the cycle of our nation’s persisting achievement gap. This issue of Principal illustrates ways principals can overcome student inequality, such as reflecting on discipline practices, engaging with parents, and curbing summer slide.

Click here to read the digital edition.


Guardians of Equity
Pedro Noguera urges principals to lead the quest for equity by advocating for all of their students and being resourceful in meeting students’ needs.

Inspire Growth
A journey to improve professional culture and overcome the disadvantages of poverty with learning rooted in soft skills.
Vanessa Stuart

Breakthrough on Discipline
How do we tackle the problem of disproportionate suspensions and other disciplinary actions associated with racial and ethnic minorities?
Edward Fergus

Curb Summer Slide
An urban elementary school transitions to a year-round calendar to increase academic opportunities for students.
Deyrle Wallace and Vincent Potts

The Critical Ingredient to Early Learning
Young learners’ academic success begins at home with strong parent engagement.
Searetha Smith-Collins


Crack the Code
Creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork abound when students are introduced to coding.
Adam Welcome

The Right Stuff
Four principals from districts participating in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative talk about what it takes to be an effective leader.
Susan McLester


From the Editor
A Culture of Equity
—Kaylen Tucker

Video vs. traditional observations, new grant opportunity, fresh ideas for family nights

Practitioner’s Corner
Pay It Forward
—Patrick Delmore

Speaking Out
Where Has All the Fun Gone?
—Joe Drolette

Ten to Teen
Double Duty
—Paula Southard-Stevens

Raising the Bar
Excelling With an Excel Period
—Anthony J. Sparano Jr.

Parents & Schools
Connect and Engage
—Joshua Starr

The Reflective Principal
Focus on Student Assets, Not Deficits
—David Sanon

Principal’s Bookshelf

Academic Language Literacy: Developing Instructional Leadership Skills for Principals and Teachers
By Marjorie C. Ringler
—Reviewed by Allen Fain

What Connected Educators Do Differently.
By Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas
—Reviewed by Robert Shappell

It’s the Law
Teacher Fluency
—Perry A. Zirkel

The Well-Rounded Education Our Students Deserve
—Gail Connelly