Want to encourage parents to support their children’s literacy? Host a family reading night. Here are five ways to make your reading event a success:

  1. Start the evening with a guest reader (the mayor or another local elected official, for example) who can read a favorite story to the group.
  2. Have a selection of age-appropriate books available and allow time for parents and students to read together.
  3. Make it fun. Encourage parents and children to bring pillows and sleeping bags so they can curl up and get comfortable.
  4. Serve refreshments. Ask local businesses to donate simple treats like hot chocolate and cookies.
  5. Send families home with information about how they can support their child’s reading skills..


Why Exercise is Important for School Leaders

According to the Journal of Managerial Psychology, leaders who exercise regularly possess stronger leadership skills—ranking higher in confidence, relatability, stamina and mental clarity than those who don’t exercise. Regular exercise:

  • Improves energy level and reduces fatigue.
  • Increases clarity and creativity.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Promotes team-building when done together.


did-you-know  Did You Know?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that, around the world, 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 do not attend school and 15 million girls of elementary-school age will never enter a classroom.


Quote of the Day

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“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”

George Washington Carver

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Studies continue to show that bullying negatively affects students’ academic achievement, confidence in abilities and desire to come to school. One of the best ways to prevent bullying in schools is to maintain a positive school culture. Here are five strategies to try:

  1. Build relationships. Get to know students and show genuine interest in their lives. Encourage all staff members to consistently engage in positive exchanges with students.
  2. Teach social skills and problem-solving skills. Not all students learn these skills at home. As a staff, identify the skills you want your students to have and develop step-by-step routines to teach them.
  3. Be role models. All members of your school staff set the tone for students. Promote respectful and friendly communication. Build trust so students feel comfortable sharing concerns with staff members.
  4. Establish clear rules and consequences. Students need to know what you expect. Align classroom and school rules for consistency. Focus on creating positive rules that support a healthy and stable learning environment.
  5. Recognize acts of kindness. Students crave positive feedback. Encourage all staff members to notice and compliment positive behavior.


How to Cope with Angry Parents

All parents want what’s best for their children. Unfortunately, some think being aggressive and angry is part of being an advocate. To diffuse a situation with a confrontational parent:

  • Remind the parent you’re on the same side. Say things like, “I know we both want Sam to succeed.”
  • Remain calm. This may be the hardest thing to do, but it’s also the most important. Fighting rudeness with rudeness never works.
  • Maintain steady eye contact. A parent who yells to get a point across is trying to intimidate you. Even if you are feeling nervous, maintain eye contact to put yourself on an equal footing.
  • Take note. If a parent seems close to losing control, change the meeting dynamics. Invite another person in to take notes. Many parents can control themselves if they know their words will be recorded.
  • Set clear ground rules. If a parent swears at you, you don’t have to take it. Say as quietly as you can that you don’t respond to foul language, and that if it continues, you’ll have to meet at another time.


did-you-know  Did You Know?

Two in five parents are not highly confident their child will be well prepared to enter and succeed in college.

Source: Parents 2017: Unleashing Their Power and Potential, Learning Heroes.


Quote of the Day

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“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

John Wooden

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Students are often anxious after national tragedies, such as the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the flooding and destruction in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Reassure your students that they are safe at school and follow these five tips to help them cope:

  1. Maintain a normal routine. The predictability of routines helps students feel secure.
  2. Be honest with students, but only share information that they are developmentally able to handle.
  3. Listen to students’ concerns. Let them know you are available to talk. Remind students that the world is a good place—and that a crisis often brings out the best in people. Share stories of heroism.
  4. Encourage students to avoid too much TV and news coverage. Explain that the media often share stories and images that can be disturbing.
  5. Watch for signs of distress. If you become concerned about a student’s emotional well-being, seek the help of a mental health professional right away.


Offer Different Types of Training to Parents

Whether you want parents to offer more help with homework or want to recruit more volunteers, training may be the answer. Here are some of the types of training that schools have found can enhance their educational program:

  • Parenting skills. Consider surveying parents in your school to develop a list of topics they want to know more about.
  • Supporting learning at home. Offer workshops that show parents what they can do to support their child’s learning.
  • Helping parents become school leaders. Offer training in parliamentary procedure, understanding school budgets and evaluating school plans.
  • Preparing parents to be volunteers. Schools with effective volunteer programs offer regular training to parents. They have found that training also encourages volunteers to return more often.


When the lines of communication are open between teachers, students and parents, everyone wins. Students become more motivated to learn, have better attendance, improved behavior and more positive attitudes. To build relationships with parents, encourage teachers to:

  1. Attend school events. Whether it’s the annual Fall Festival or the fourth-grade musical, teachers’ presence matters. When parents have opportunities to interact with teachers outside the classroom, they are able to form stronger connections with them.
  2. Communicate with parents regularly. Send home weekly updates to let parents know what’s going on in the classroom. Parents feel like partners when they are kept in the loop.
  3. Ask parents to contribute. Send home a questionnaire to find out about parents’ cultural traditions, interests, skills and knowledge. Invite them to share information with the class when it connects with something being taught in the classroom. Parents feel valued when they are asked to contribute.


Habits of Effective Leaders

Want to become a more effective leader? Here are five habits you can start practicing today:

  • Get enough sleep. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
  • Replace social media with learning time. Listen to a podcast. Read a book.
  • Surround yourself with people who will help you grow. Find mentors and learn from them.
  • Make time for daily exercise. No time for the gym? Take a walk or shoot some hoops with your kids.


did-you-know  Did You Know?

ThankaPrincipalOctober is National Principals Month, established by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators. Let’s celebrate the hard work and dedication of America’s principals! #ThankAPrincipal


Quote of the Day

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“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The digital age allows schools to foster parent involvement in a variety of new ways. Here are five to try:

  1. Use social media to keep parents informed about school events and news. Use popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus. In your posts, include a link that will take parents to your school website.
  2. Create an online volunteer sign-up form so it’s easy and convenient for parents to volunteer.
  3. Post videos of teachers providing guidance on how parents can help with certain assignments.
  4. Use online conferencing tools to meet with parents when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.
  5. Share videos of past family nights and other school events to encourage more parents to attend. Post them on your website or send links through social media


What Do Successful Principals Have in Common?

The most effective school principals use a combination of strategies to make sure their students, their staff––and their school––are the best they can be. These principals:

  • Have positive attitudes. They know that their demeanor establishes the tone for everyone in the school.
  • Care about their teachers. They listen to teachers and give them the support they need to grow professionally and to feel valued and respected.
  • Pick their battles. They overlook small issues but fight for what is important.
  • Aren’t worried about being popular. They make decisions based on what’s right, even when they know those decisions won’t please everyone.
  • Collaborate with other principals. They share what’s working and what’s not working in their schools and brainstorm ways to work together to find solutions.



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