SUBJECT: Just for APs

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  • Just for APs: When Serious Discipline Issues Consume All Your Time

    Posted April 12, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    Handling student discipline is typically the bailiwick of assistant principals, although it is usually not their only responsibility. As spring fever begins seizing the student body, many APs find that they have little time for anything but handling office referrals. Commonly-violated rules can lead to student expulsion in states and districts with zero-tolerance policies Spring…

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  • Just for APs: A Candidate Visitation Will Include Interviews With Classified Staff

    Posted March 22, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    In my first two posts in this series I discussed the kinds of questions a visitation team for a principal candidate might ask about you when interviewing your principal and the teaching staff. This post will examine questions that might be asked of classified staff. The way administrators interact with non-teaching staff impacts a school’s…

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  • Just for APs: How Building Relationships With Teachers Prepares You for a Candidate Visitation

    Posted February 23, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    In my first post in this series, I outlined questions a visiting team might ask the school principal when conducting an on-site visit for an AP who is a finalist for a principalship. Visiting teams also interview teachers and support staff, so as an assistant principal, you should prepare for a possible visit by maximizing…

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  • Just for APs: Prepare Every Day for Your Candidate Visitation

    Posted January 19, 2016 in Leaders' Link

    As an assistant principal, you are likely to be looking ahead to your first principalship. An increasingly popular HR practice is to conduct onsite visits to a final candidates’ current job and interview those who work with them on a daily basis. If this is part of a hiring process you experience, how can you…

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  • Just for APs: More Techniques to Tame Post-Lunch Rowdiness

    Posted December 8, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    Since the after-lunch period in both secondary and elementary schools can be the most challenging of the day, assistant principals’ efforts in helping students return to class in a state as calm and ready to learn as possible serves both teachers and students. In my last post on this topic, I discussed professional learning suggestions…

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  • Just for APs: Taming Post-Lunch Rowdiness

    Posted October 27, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    As an assistant principal, it is likely that lunch duty is part of your daily routine. Your very presence is a deterrent to unruly behavior. Strategically targeting your attention to specific students or groups as they return to their classrooms contributes to a calm class beginning for the teachers. After lunch or recess, students need…

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  • Just for APs: Adding Rewards to Your Student Discipline Role

    Posted September 29, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    Being an AP can sometimes feel like being a police officer. Typically, student discipline is the realm of assistant principals, sometimes almost exclusively. As the new school year begins, think about adding a new dimension to your role: Rewarder. Beyond good cop, bad cop: How APs can support positive student interaction with administrators I once…

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  • Just for APs: Looking Ahead to Your Next Steps

    Posted May 26, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    From May through June, many principals begin pre-planning for fall. Although principals and APs are as ready for summer vacation as everyone else, the quieter, calmer interlude between the departure of students and staff and the end of the administrators’ work year is an ideal time for regrouping and planning. Now is the time for assistant…

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  • Just for APs: Surviving Spring Fever

    Posted April 28, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    The snow and ice have melted, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming — and discipline referrals are booming. The waiting area outside the assistant principal’s office is standing room only. Must be spring! Spring fever takes a toll on students, teachers and (especially) assistant principals Warm, sunny weather seems to stir up pre-adolescent and teenage…

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  • Just for APs: Don’t Neglect Your Network

    Posted March 31, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    An assistant principal friend of mine was complaining that her principal seldom allows her to be off-site for anything other than district AP meetings. “I need staff development, too,” she lamented. Her chief role at her school is handling student discipline. Clearly, her principal relies heavily on her, and being the only AP at the…

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  • Just for APs: Stealthy Interventions

    Posted February 17, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    The term “stealthy intervention,” coined by researchers David Yeager and Gregory Walton, refers to informal, short-term student interventions, which, according to author Michael Fullan, “focus on students’ thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in and about school.” Assistant principals: Encourage teachers to learn about students’ interests, experiences, attitudes In my recent post on how assistant principals can…

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  • Just for APs: Teaching Alternatives to Fighting and Tattling

    Posted January 20, 2015 in Leaders' Link

    I’ve discussed a variety of actions I took as a principal who worked without an assistant principal to change a culture of fighting at an elementary school. Another component of my long-term work on this problem was to implement response alternatives to provocations that could lead to fighting but also to tattling, which is a…

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  • Just for APs: Supporting Teacher/Student Relationships

    Posted December 9, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In my experience, one of the greatest challenges assistant principals and other administrators face is supporting the growth of teachers who have become stuck in a negative, punitive orientation toward students. These teachers often generate the lion’s share of office referrals. Punishment-focused teachers tend to lack classroom management skills Typically, punitive teachers lack a classroom-based…

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  • Just for APs: Logical Consequences to Change a Fighting Culture

    Posted October 28, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    Perhaps the most controversial action I took as a principal addressing my school’s fighting culture was imposing a new kind of consequence upon the fighters: cooperating on a project. To help accomplish this, I used our school’s full-time school community liaison (CL), funded from a grant, who worked in a variety of roles with parents…

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  • Just for APs: Fighting Culture Interventions

    Posted September 23, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    To describe the fighting culture of an elementary school when I first arrived as principal, I mentioned that fighters were usually brought to my office in pairs. Sometimes the fight had become a more widespread brawl, especially when it had started on the basketball court. On my second or third day on the job, ten…

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  • Just for APs: Changing a Culture of Fighting

    Posted August 26, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    As a new elementary school principal, I found upon my arrival that a significant number of my students, especially boys, had a propensity to solve any disagreement or conflict by fighting. I hit the ground running! Reactive response to student fights are an energy drain for principals and APs Having no assistant principal, this meant…

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  • Just for APs: Moving Toward Restorative Justice

    Posted July 22, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In the first of my two-part post about how assistant principals can model respectful discipline for teachers, I discussed the notion of using logical consequences. Instead of punishment for punishment’s sake, logical consequences attempt to connect the infraction with a consequence that makes sense in light of the misbehavior; for example, “If you make a mess,…

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  • Just for APs: Modeling Customer Service

    Posted June 10, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    I have devoted some of my past posts for assistant principals to the concept of respectful discipline and the art of modeling respectful discipline for teachers. Another crucial area for APs is the notion of modeling customer service. ‘I just have this belief that we are here to serve students and parents’ I was reminded…

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  • Just for APs: Become Your Principal’s Go-to Player

    Posted May 13, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In this series I’ve applied business leadership author John Maxwell’s advice, “Nine Ways to Lead Your Leader,” to how assistant principals can “lead up” to their principals. This post explores how an AP can apply Maxwell’s eighth tip: Become a go-to player. Becoming a go-to player is closely related to Just for APs: More Ways…

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  • Just for APs: When Should You Push Your Principal, and When Should You Back Off?

    Posted April 15, 2014 in Leaders' Link

    In my posts for assistant principals, I have been referencing John Maxwell’s “9 Ways to Lead Your Leader.” I have been applying some of his tips for business leaders in a school setting, specifically for APs leading up for their principals. For assistant principals, leading up means knowing when to push — and when to…

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