October is National Principals Month, and National PTA is partnering with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to take part in this celebration. National PTA firmly believes that principals are the educational leaders in schools and are critical to ensuring the success of every child. For this reason, every school should have a qualified principal that has the support they need professionally to effectively lead their students and staff. For more information, please see our position statement on principals.
Hopefully, your PTA has gotten started on planning its advocacy activities for the year (for help with that see our blog post from a few weeks ago). Part of a good advocacy strategy is building relationships. As mentioned in last week’s post about urban activism, oftentimes the first step in executing a successful advocacy plan is building the relationships and trust needed to accomplish your goals. In celebration of National Principals Month, one relationship that your local PTA can consider bolstering is with your schools’ administrative team.
Principals are sometimes overlooked members of the education community. When it comes to education, there is much public buzz around teachers, parents, politicians, and students, but oftentimes the administrative structure of the school goes unnoticed. This is unfortunate because principals, in fact, have a significant impact on not only the academics of a school, but on the entire culture of learning. NAESP and NASSP have compiled recent research findings on school leadership and found, among other things, that quality principals can have a direct, positive impact on student achievement, contrary to the pervasive myth that administration influence is indirect and insignificant. Indeed, principals provide guidance to both staff and students; they serve as a liaison between teachers and families; and they are instrumental in determining that type of atmosphere will preside at a school. For this reason, not only are principals profoundly necessary to a well-functioning school, but they are excellent resources for supporting the efforts of local PTAs. Building and maintaining a great relationship with your schools’ principal will help as you work to speak up for every child.
Take some time this month to reach out to your school’s principal, not only to build an advocacy relationship, but also to simply show them your appreciation. For some thoughts on how you can get involved with National Principals Month and show your schools’ administrators that you value them, you can visit the National Principals Month website “Ideas for Celebrating” section. Not only will your efforts go rewarded as you advocate with the PTA, but you will be helping to create a better learning and working environment for everyone.