Nation's Principal to Visit Capitol Hill, Launch NAESP's Advocacy Agenda on ESSA Implementation

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During NAESP's National Leaders Conference, K-8 school leaders from across the nation call for a complete and well-rounded education.

Nearly 200 elementary and middle-level principal leaders from across the country will gather in the nation’s capital to attend the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) National Leaders Conference (NLC).

During this meeting, which will take place March 13-15 in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., NAESP will launch its 2016 Advocacy Agenda, which focuses on ensuring implementation oversight of the Every School Succeeds Act (ESSA) and ensuring federal funding to meet the needs of every student.

“ESSA has created an unprecedented opportunity for states and districts to invest in principal leadership. It’s important to note that we’re just at the beginning of ESSA implementation, and principals want to make sure that Congress continues to play an active role in oversight of the new law,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “States and districts must be clear on Congressional intent in several areas of the law, especially in the areas related to capacity-building for education leaders, student growth, and moving away from test scores as the single factor in accountability systems.”

Highlights of this year’s conference will include:

Federal Support for a Complete Education. On Tues., March 15, principals will advocate on Capitol Hill to improve federal policies that will help states and districts build the capacity of principals and advance school improvement. Specific points include:

  • Ensure oversight of ESSA implementation so that states and districts provide comprehensive support for principal leadership.
  • Strengthen the quality of principal recruitment, preparation and retention programs in any efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), with support for the Educator Preparation Reform Act (EPRA) to provide principal mentoring, induction and residency programs as part of principal preparation programs.
  • Build school and educator capacity to address student data privacy, with support for the SAFE KIDS (Safeguarding American Families from Exposure by Keeping Information and Data Secure) Act and the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act.

Principals will also be advocating for critical funding of federal education programs that continue to be the cornerstone of helping educators improve student outcomes, such as Title I, Title II Part A, IDEA Part B state grants, and the new Title IV formula block grant program.

As part of NLC, NAESP will offer a leadership development program, opening with a session from Ary Amerikaner, who is deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. The NLC program will also feature presentations from top thought leaders on the following topics:

  • Implementing ESSA: State and Local Perpspectives on Major Policy Shifts, Jessah Walker (Council of Chief State School Officers), Jared Billings (National Governors Association), S. Dallas Dance (superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools), moderated by Reg Leichty (Foresight Law + Policy) and Kelly Pollitt (NAESP): Mon., March 14, 10-11 a.m., Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.
  • Education Policy and the 2016 Elections, Celinda Lake (Lake Partner Research), Ed Goeas (The Tarrance Group), moderated by Virginia Edwards (Education Week): Mon., March 14, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.

Note: Principals may be interviewed at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel on March 14, or after their congressional appointments on March 15. To interview principals about their congressional meetings, or to locate principals from particular states or districts, please contact Kaylen Tucker ( or 703-518-6257).


Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle-level principals in the United States and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, professional development, and resources for instructional leadership including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and effective educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit NAESP administers the National Principals Resource Center, the American Student Council Association, and the President's Education Awards & American Citizenship Awards Programs.

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