These are my notes from opening comments by Dr Michael Schooley, Deputy Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, at the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals (OAESP) mid-winter conference on January 19, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The conference is sponsored and organized by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA).

“Kids will not always remember WHAT you teach them, but they will always remember HOW you treat them”

love affair politicians have with high stakes, standardized assessment

We advocate for:
– growth models for learning for students
– teacher and principal evaluation

pressure now is “a significant part” of teacher and principal evaluation will be based on standardized test scores
– worry is: who is going to want to teach the kids with the low test scores?

We are working on a framework document for what we think would be a fair and effective evaluation process for administrators

Doug Reeves talks about “deep evaluation”
– we think each educator should focus each year on 2 or 3 key things for improvement

Educators have to take the
– theories of change are different for schools than business

Common Core and Assessments
– Park organization is our consortium in Oklahoma
– get involved in that process of developing those assessments
– those assessments will rule your life if our educational politics continue as they have been tracking

National renewal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for is an uncertain pathway right now
– all 3 proposals now scrap AYP but keep annual testing
– both House and Senate versions also scrap subgroup targets
– both let states decide evaluation processes for teachers and students, those without a framework will have to develop one based significantly on student test scores

NAESP’s Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization

'US Capitol' photo (c) 2008, keithreifsnyder - license:

Low performing school models (4 of them) must be used in the waiver package: all include firing the principal first
– we continue to fight for a fair and objective evaluation for principals

There is no legislation which is perfect
– what we must do as a group across the nation is raise the volume our voices as principals in these discussions
– we need to tell our stories in different strategic ways

My advocacy team came up with 3 P’s
– protect: the critical role of principals (research tells us how important principals
– promote: our own vision for education reform (we are the professionals, we must remind ourselves
– preserve: preserve the principalship by prioritzing professional development

Last year President Obama used backdrop for education with a backdrop of 3 R’s
– responsibility, reform, results

“leading the learning” would be my backdrop
– competence, culture, and connections
– I believe accomplished principals must have competence
– provide meaningful PD, communicate effectively, differentiate support
– leader in the design of a strategic school plan
– here’s our map for where we are going…

Principals are creators of culture
– you empower your staff
– meeting diverse student needs
– setting alignment across grade levels
– may be creating a professional learning community
– formalizing expectations
– encouraging teachers to take a risk, and if they fail you will work with them

Michael Fullen: If principals are not in tune with the school culture, your culture will manage you

recruitment is key: not just among teachers but among all constituents

now is the time for us to be ruthlessly strategic about who we are and what we are about

I encourage you to always do what is right

Closing thank you: for beginning your day early, staying late, getting to that pile of reading, doing lunch duty more than you should, for early morning sub calls, for knowing when to let a parent vent, your ability to coach ineffective teachers out of the profession, for being brave enough to sometimes buck the system, remaining calm amidst many storms, knowing when to make a decision, for caring, striving for excellence (not necessarily perfection), raising the volume of the voice of our profession. and much more….

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Made with Love in Oklahoma City