FGN News: September 2016

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced on August 18 the three principals who will serve as Principal Ambassador Fellows during the 2016–17 school year. The Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program was launched in 2013 at the suggestion of an NASSP member who had been shadowed by an ED official during National Principals Month. Its purpose is to highlight the voice of the principal within the education community and the country at large. We are thrilled that two of this year’s fellows are NASSP members: Jean-Paul Cadet from Oxon Hill, MD, who will serve full time at ED, and Monifa McKnight from Gaithersburg, MD, who was honored by NASSP as the 2015 Maryland Principal of the Year. The third fellow, Dana Leigh Nerenberg, is an elementary school principal in Portland, OR.

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

ESSA Implementation

On August 31, ED released proposed regulations on the supplement, not supplant provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Public comments will be submitted until November 7, and the final regulations are expected to be issued before President Obama ends his term in office in January 2017. As reported on the School of Thought blog, the proposed regulation could provide as much as $2 billion in additional state and district funding for high poverty schools.

Education Appropriations

Congress returned to Washington after Labor Day with a long list of legislative priorities and a small window to complete these tasks ahead of the November elections. One of the biggest questions is: How will Congress tackle the FY 2017 budget? Will there be a short-term continuing resolution until after the election? Will Congress negotiate a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill? Or could we be looking at another government shutdown? As these decisions are being made, many of NASSP’s top appropriations priorities stand in the balance, including funding for Title I, IDEA, principal professional development, and career and technical education programs. Congress must act before the next fiscal year begins on October 1, so stay tuned to the School of Thought blog for further developments.

Twitter Talk

@akarhuse State legislators, please don’t scrimp on quality when addressing teaching shortages in your state! http://ow.ly/fAZV3034w5B #NCSLSummit
@dnchodak National Principals Month is 1 month away. For ways to celebrate, check: http://principalsmonth.org #ThankAPrincipal @NASSP @NAESP @AFSAUnion
@nassp Great leaders inspire their teams. Here are 15 easy ways to inspire yours: http://on.inc.com/2bCZghY.

For more advocacy tweets, join us on social media by following NASSP and the advocacy staff on Twitter:


While the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provided strong authorization levels for many key education programs, the House and Senate Labor HHS Education Appropriations Committees have been less generous with funding of Title II and Title IV among other important programs in ESSA. As a result, the Title IV, Part A Coalition, for which NASSP has been actively engaged, has been working to ensure funding for this new flexible block grant is as close to the $1.65 billion authorization as possible. In response to the release of the 48th annual Phi Delta Kappa International Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, the coalition issued a strong press release urging appropriators to meet the demands of the public and increase funding for key education programs.

ESSA & Consultation: Formula for Success?

In a special section in the September 2016 issue of Principal Leadership, a group of experts discusses the new provision in ESSA that requires states to consult with principals and other stakeholders in the development of their new state-designed accountability plans. The panel includes Peyton Chapman, principal of Lincoln High School in Portland, OR; Richard Long, executive director of the Learning First Alliance, which recently released principles on stakeholder engagement; and Jessah Foulk, senior federal relations associate with the Council of Chief State School Officers, which also developed a stakeholder engagement guide for state departments of education in June.

Take Action

National Principals Month is coming up in October! Check out our website to see how schools are celebrating across the country and find out if your state has recognized National Principals Month with a resolution or proclamation. Reach out to David Chodak, NASSP associate director of advocacy, at chodakd@nassp.org if you would like to invite a member of Congress to shadow you in your school.

In this Month’s Principal Leadership

Principal Leadership magazine cover

Elizabeth Meola Aaron, principal of Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ, discusses the importance of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to help principals deal with burgeoning concerns such as student mental health and drug abuse. She shared her experience of forming a principals’ network earlier this year at a Principals@ED event at the U.S. Department of Education where principals across the country discussed policy issues with ED officials. “One key takeaway from my day at Principals@ED is that there is, perhaps now more than ever, a key role for state and local leaders to be a voice for what they know works best for their own students and schools.”

All FGN members are invited to write a guest article for Principal Leadership or blog post for School of Thought—just email Director of Advocacy Amanda Karhuse with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.