WA high school principals discuss challenges & potential solutions

This fall, the 2021-22 Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network welcomed 6 new members. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings a cohort of principals together during monthly workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. Principals are key to attracting and keeping high-quality teachers, according to research cited by the Education Policy Center. The CEO Network meetings are a place for principals to connect with their peers across the state, discuss solutions to challenges, and make their voices heard. Members have expressed the value of having a dedicated space with their peers to discuss topics such as grading, COVID, hiring, and credits.

Over the past few months, principals have been working hard to improve student success and preparedness for postsecondary education, while ensuring student and staff safety during the pandemic. Navigating COVID, student behavioral issues, staffing shortages, and canceled transportation are some of the major challenges that Washington high school principals are facing. Despite these challenges, principals said they are excited about having students back in buildings, working to build positive school cultures, and leading excellent teams.

At the November Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network meeting, principals discussed student mental health, keeping staff motivated, learning acceleration and dual credit programs, and athletics. Some expressed concerns about students experiencing skills gaps, and the need for socialization, community building, and helping students adapt to structure and routine again. To address student behavior, principals shared potential solutions, such as creating a lesson plan to engage with students about school expectations. Another principal shared that their school has trained some students in restorative justice practices and offers peer mediation to address lower-level disciplinary issues. To address gaps in math skills, one school shared that they changed pre-calculus classes to Bridge to College math. Principals are also considering changes in bell schedules to better fit staff and student needs. Learn more about the CEO Network here.