Today is School Principals' Day, which is the perfect opportunity to highlight the work that these educational leaders do all year long to support students, teachers and families.
In the Teacher & Principal School Report we surveyed over 4,700 educators—among them 1,027 principals—about the state of equity in education, as well as their views on literacy and independent reading in school.
We found that the majority of principals believe deeply in the importance of literacy and independent reading. Whether at home or in school, both teachers and principals believe in the power of reading in support of students. Ninety-six percent of educators (teachers and principals combined) agree or agree strongly that providing year-round access to books at home is important to enhancing student achievement, and 96% agree or agree strongly that students should have time during the school day to read a book of their choice independently.
Principals also hold strong, positive views around the importance of family involvement in student learning and the need for partnerships between schools and parents. Ninety-nine percent of principals agree/agree strongly that it is important to student success that families be involved in their children's learning, and 97% agree/agree strongly that families and school staff should be equal partners in this effort.
However, in order to do this important work, schools need help. Fifty-seven percent of principals in low-poverty schools and 88% in high-poverty schools say they need help engaging families in support of children's learning.
School principals are resourceful when it comes to both supporting their students' learning, and supporting the teachers who work with kids every single day. Sixty percent of principals say that working with community partners to offer services to families is among the most important things to help families be engaged with children’s learning. The partnerships that are in place help address many barriers to learning such as health services, programming outside of the school day, as well as food for students.
School principals are always looking for opportunities to build capacity in their work. One hundred percent of principals agree/agree strongly that they want effective, ongoing professional development. The number-one area in which principals would like PD in the coming year is around strategies for leading and motivating staff.
In addition, many principals are spending their own money to meet students' needs, with principals in high-poverty schools spend about twice as much of their own money than principals in low-poverty schools. Among the types of items principals have purchased for school, classroom or student use: food and snacks (79%), school or office decorations (75%), supplies (like notebooks, binders, etc.) (65%), and clothing for students (64%).
Of course, for most principals, it's all about the kids. Ninety-nine percent of school principals agree/agree strongly that interacting with students is the most satisfying part of the school day.