NAESP Rallies Principals on ESEA; Unveils School Improvement Research Arm

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Association makes professional development policy recommendations to lawmakers and unveils new Center for Educational Improvement during National Leaders Conference.

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With CEI, NAESP will be in a better position to guide federal policies, shifting the focus of school improvement policies toward a solution that works—developing principal leadership.

Principals from across the nation will advocate on Capitol Hill for the long-overdue reauthorization of ESEA during the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) National Leaders Conference, July 18-20, in Washington, D.C. Principals contend that ESEA reauthorization can’t wait until budget woes are corrected. Principals also believe that the reauthorized ESEA should not include the punitive sanctions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), but instead recognize the essential role of elementary and middle-level principals and support principals’ professional development. NAESP has recently positioned itself to provide research-based professional development, as well as recommendations to guide federal policies, through its newly acquired Center for Educational Improvement (CEI).

ESEA Reauthorization. Principals will advocate that Congress complete reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that every state can develop the best policies to build the capacity of principals and advance school improvement. Principals will discuss six ways legislators can build the capacity of principals through ESEA reauthorization:

  •     Uphold the role of principals 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 use 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.

Note: Principals may be interviewed on July 19 after their congressional appointments or at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on July 20. For more information about these policy issues, to interview principals about their congressional meetings, or to locate principals from particular states or districts, please contact Kaylen Tucker (ktucker(at)naesp(dot)org or 703-518-6257).

Center for Educational Improvement (CEI). NAESP has acquired the Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) to serve as a research and development arm for NAESP. CEI gives NAESP capacity to conduct research and partner with corporate foundations and others around innovations, projects demanding scientific rigor, and strategies for furthering school improvement and transformation.

“NAESP is proud to announce the acquisition of CEI, which enhances our ability to help build the capacities of principals in low-performing schools and offers an array of professional development resources and services to improve schools,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “Also, with CEI, NAESP will be in a better position to guide federal policies, shifting the focus of school improvement policies toward a solution that works—developing principal leadership.”

Areas of focus for CEI in 2012-2013 are:

  •     School improvement;
  •     The essential Common Core—workshops for school leaders;
  •     Visioning the future of education and the school principalship;
  •     Mentoring for early career principals;
  •     Response to intervention (RTI);
  •     Improving math instruction in elementary and middle schools;
  •     Supporting and enhancing data-driven instruction;
  •     Comparative education—research on international approaches to education; and
  •     Neuroscience and heart-centered education (compassion, courage, confidence, and consciousness).

CEI is led by Christine Mason, NAESP’s associate executive director for research and development. For more information, visit


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.

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