The overreactions to the Obama administration guidance implicitly label transgender students as criminals. That label is inappropriate. That label is damaging. That label emerges from an irrational fear of the “other” or the “not like us.” As a principal, my greatest fear is our collective failure to maximize the human potential of the students our policies push to the margins. The president’s guidance seeks to embrace these marginalized students, and I applaud him for that. But our greatest victory will be when stop seeing "those" kids and recognize they are all "our" kids. --NASSP President Michael Allison
The National Association of Secondary School Principals, which asked the administration to issue comprehensive guidance on transgender students, said it was glad that the Education Department was “taking a stand” on the issue. “The principal’s most important role is to create a climate and culture in which each student feels valued,” said Michael Allison, the association’s president. “There are countless reasons we could declare it impractical to address the needs of transgender students. None of those obstacles excuse us from doing the right thing.”
Jayne Ellspermann, president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said the last day in high school is very important. Final exams might be juggled, but the focus is still on the academics.
“Oftentimes, in order for students to earn credit, they have to be present a certain of number of class periods — and depending on where you live in the county, that could in fact determine whether or not students get credit for the school year,” Ellspermann said.
Parents may feel that requirement is ridiculous, but schools are trying to ensure that the state-required standards are met, Ellspermann said.
"We have to be very careful that we're not just replacing one thing that's easy to measure with something else that we're including just because it's easy to measure," said Bob Farrace, spokesman for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Factors like students' intellectual curiosity and whether they are hopeful for the future are also traits that will help them in college and the work place, Farrace said.
"And if that is, in fact, one of the goals, then these are things that are worth measuring," he said. "They might not lend themselves immediately to a statistic, but that doesn't mean they don't count."
Associated Press - "Transgender students are bullied and harassed at much higher rates than other students," said NASSP Public Affairs director Bob Farrace. "And because of the way our culture at large tends to not accept them, we in schools will go out of our way to make sure they are embraced and accepted."
"Transgender students are already at high risk for suicide and other destructive behaviors," NASSP President Michael Allison said in a statement. "While some statehouses see a political issue, we see the faces of our kids who are hurt by those policies every day. Principals and others in schools look for ways to embrace these marginalized students, but policies in some states push them further to the margins. We find that unacceptable and we're glad the Department of Ed is taking a stand."
NASSP President-Elect Jayne Ellspermann chatted with NPR Morning Edition's Renee Montagne about the positive impact of the new guidance on treatment of transgender students just issued by the Obama administration.
At West Port High School in Marion County Public Schools in Florida, students who are disciplined must reflect on their actions by writing about what prompted their behavior, its consequences and how it could have been avoided, Principal Jayne Ellspermann says. “When students make poor choices, the most important thing we can do is help them not make the same choice in the future,” says Ellspermann, also president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.“If time out of the classroom or after school is paired with reflection, it can make a difference.”
The five-second cellphone video does not show what initiated the school police officer's violent attack on a teenage student at a Baltimore school, only the armed officer powerfully slapping the young man three times about the head and then kicking him.
Bob Farrace's insight:
“The purpose of having police officers in school is really to introduce students to men and women in uniform. They are introduced to police officers as someone who is helpful,” said Bob Farrace, spokesman for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
“The objective is not to incarcerate kids,” he said. “The objective is to help kids and keep them out of trouble, and create an environment that is constructive to learning.”
The National Association of Secondary School Principals and McKinsey Academy, an arm of the global management-consulting firm, have joined forces to launch a series of executive courses for principals and other school leaders.
Idea Street is just one of the most visible efforts to create a school that can prepare students for the ever-changing job market of the future. The project began in 2013 with a "bring your own device" policy that encouraged teachers to develop lessons that let students use their tablets and smartphones in class. In 2014, the school received $20,000 in technology from the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest and created a television studio and Digital Shop where teacher Kevin Jarrett's students are building mini lightsabers and prosthetic hands using 3-D printers. Today, the school looks a bit like a tech startup as students work in small groups and write their ideas on windows or dry-erase boards that have replaced old bulletin boards in the hallways. What is your one word for 2016? is printed at the top of one dry-erase board where students are encouraged to post answers such as friends, ''adapt and determination. Sixth-grader Steven Fisher, 11, pedaled a stationary bike as he developed his thoughts on the character traits in the book "Maniac Magee." Science teacher Adam Law got a grant to create a terrapin turtle habitat and set it up in a hallway display case that looks like a museum exhibit. Teacher Lauren Doran is using a giant wall-mounted Lego board to develop a miniature golf course with her students.
Bob Farrace's insight:
Today, the school looks a bit like a tech startup as students work in small groups and write their ideas on windows or dry-erase boards that have replaced old bulletin boards in the hallways.
Overhauling literacy instruction is a centerpiece of Prince George’s County’s plan to boost achievement.
Bob Farrace's insight:
“The focus on college- and career-ready standards has really given us a call to arms that we’ve got to prepare our students in another way, not just with the facts that are associated with a particular content, but with the ability to think, read and write in that content,” said Jayne Ellspermann, a Florida high school principal and president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
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