Brian Pickard principal of South Colby Elementary in the South Kitsap School District and Federal Relations Liaison for the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) recently joined elementary and middle-level educators and leaders from across the country in the nation’s capital during the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) National Leaders Conference to advocate for fair policies that strengthen our schools.
Pickard took the critical needs of all of Washington’s schools directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill during meetings with legislators. More and more states have accepted the Department of Education’s waivers from provisions of No Child Left Behind—but, principals stressed that Congress must complete the long-overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so every state can develop the best policies to build the capacity of principals. Principals discussed six ways legislators can build the capacity of principals in the ESEA reauthorization:
· Uphold the role of the principal by recognizing the core competencies of effective school leadership in Title I and as a definition in the law aligned to each program;
· Set the basis of high-quality professional development opportunities for principals in Title II on core competencies of effective school leadership – and require states and districts to provide capacity-building supports for principals and other school leaders;
· Encourage and support state and local efforts to develop fair, objective and comprehensive principal evaluation systems for principals that utilize appropriate measures of principal performance, not standardized test scores;
· Ensure that a principal leadership review and evaluation be conducted as the first step of any school improvement plan, and align the evaluation of a principal to high-quality professional development;
· Expand accurate and robust accountability systems that value growth models and multiple measures of student performance; and
· Support innovative models to help improve academic achievement, including prekindergarten through grade three alignment (P-3) strategies.
Pickard also called on Congress, in this time of strained budgets, to protect education funding and defend vital programs by taking a balanced approach to implementing the looming across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
“K-8 schools provide students with the skills and content knowledge need to succeed in life,” said Pickard “Principals called on Congress to ensure that all principals have the appropriate resources and support to ensure that the schools they lead are effective learning portals for 21st century opportunity.”
This opportunity for Pickard to travel to Washington DC and present the critical needs of all of Washington’s schools to lawmakers on Capitol Hill was completely funded by AWSP.
Please visit www.naesp.org/advocacy for more information about NAESP’s advocacy program.
Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.