How to Write an Email to the School Principal: A Comprehensive Guide

Sending an email to your school principal is an effective way to communicate your thoughts, concerns, or suggestions. however, it’s important to write a well-crafted email that effectively conveys your message. in this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and a step-by-step approach to help you write an impactful email to your school principal..

How to Write an Email to the School Principal: A Comprehensive Guide

1. Identify the Purpose and Goal of Your Email

Before you start writing your email, it’s crucial to clearly identify the purpose or goal you want to achieve. Are you addressing a concern, making a request, or expressing appreciation? Having a clear objective will help you structure your email and deliver your message effectively.

2. Use a Professional and Concise Subject Line

The subject line of your email should be concise yet informative. It should clearly indicate the purpose of your email without being too vague or lengthy. A subject line like “Meeting Request: Parent-Teacher Association” or “Feedback on School Curriculum” will grab the principal’s attention and make it easier for them to prioritize your email.

3. Start with a Polite and Respectful Greeting

Begin your email with a polite and respectful greeting. “Dear Principal [Last Name]” or “Dear Dr. [Principal’s Last Name]” are appropriate salutations. Using the principal’s proper title shows respect and sets a professional tone for your email.

4. Introduce Yourself and State the Purpose of Your Email

In the opening paragraph, introduce yourself briefly and state the purpose of your email. Explain why you are reaching out to the principal and what you hope to achieve. Remember to keep it concise and to the point – principals are often busy and appreciate emails that get straight to the heart of the matter.

5. Provide Detailed and Clear Points

In the body of your email, present your points clearly and provide any necessary details or supporting information. Break down your key points into separate paragraphs to enhance readability. Consider using bullet points or numbered lists to make your points more organized and easily understandable.

6. Maintain a Professional Tone

Throughout your email, maintain a professional and respectful tone. It’s essential to express your thoughts and concerns politely, even if you are discussing a sensitive issue. Avoid using offensive language, and remember that being professional greatly increases the chances of your email being taken seriously.

7. Be Solution-Oriented

If you are addressing a problem or concern, it’s helpful to propose potential solutions or suggestions. Offering constructive ideas or alternatives shows that you are invested in the betterment of the school community and are willing to collaborate with the principal to find resolutions.

8. Express Appreciation and Closing

Before closing your email, take the opportunity to express your appreciation for the principal’s time and consideration. Thank them for their attention to the matter and highlight your willingness to discuss the topic further if necessary. End your email with a polite closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your full name.

9. Proofread and Edit

Before hitting the send button, make sure to proofread your email carefully. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors, and ensure that your sentences are clear and coherent. It’s recommended to read your email out loud to catch any potential mistakes or awkward phrasing.

10. Follow-Up if Needed

If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable time frame, it’s acceptable to send a polite follow-up email. However, avoid sending repeated follow-ups excessively, as that might appear pushy or intrusive. Patience is key, as principals are often swamped with work and may need time to address your concerns.

By following these steps and tips, you can compose a well-written email to your school principal that effectively communicates your thoughts, concerns, or suggestions. Remember, respectful communication is the key to building a strong relationship with your school’s administration and facilitating positive change within your educational community.

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Filing a Complaint with the State Education Agency

highly rated graphic with star and blue ribbon, which indicates that this resource has been highly rated by CPIR's review team of staff at Parent Centers from all regions of the country

Current as of October 2021 En español | In Spanish

There are times when you, as a parent, may want to communicate in writing with your child’s school about some problem or concern with your child’s education or well-being. This page presents a model letter or email you might write to file a complaint with the State Education Agency as an approach to resolving a dispute with your child’s school .

  • Discussion (Keep scrolling)

General letter-writing tips

  • Model letter


What’s a State complaint, and why would I file one?

There are several means of resolving conflicts with the school system, including Mediation and due process. A third means is filing a complaint with the State Education Agency (SEA).

You have the right to file a complaint when you believe that the state or school district has violated a requirement of the IDEA . The SEA must resolve your complaint within 60 calendar days (not business days) from the day they receive it, unless there are exceptional circumstances with respect to the complaint. The complaint process can be effective in resolving conflicts with the school system and is less costly and intimidating than a due process hearing.

You can file a State complaint with the SEA about any of the matters for which you might otherwise file a request for a due process hearing, as well as for any other reason you feel that the school system has violated the IDEA. However, be aware that, if you write a complaint on an issue that is also part of a current due process hearing, the SEA will not investigate this issue. The due process hearing takes precedence over the State complaint process. The SEA will only investigate those issues in your State complaint that are not part of your due process hearing.

Some examples of issues you might write a State complaint about include:

  • Your child is denied the opportunity to attend or participate in school-sponsored events, such as field trips or after school activities.
  • Your child has a shorter school day, because the special education students arrive later or are dismissed from school earlier than the general education students are.
  • You use mediation to resolve a disagreement with the school, but the school fails to implement the signed agreement.
  • The school fails to give you appropriate prior written notice. Or,
  • You have a decision from a hearing officer that the school district is not implementing.

Detailed information about the State complaint procedure is available here at the CPIR, beginning at:

Back to top

How do I file a complaint with the State Education Agency?

Your state’s policies for filing a State complaint should be included in its IDEA regulations. Call your local special education office or the SEA if you need more information about the policies. Also ask for the name and address of the person to whom you should write your letter. Your complaint must be signed. Among other things, it must also contain:

  • a statement that a public agency (for example, your school system) has violated a requirement of Part B of the IDEA or its regulations, and
  • the facts on which you base this statement.

Seek advice  | Whenever you file a State complaint (or seek mediation or due process), it is a good idea as well to seek advice from the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) or the Protection and Advocacy Agency (P&A) in your state. Find your state’s PTI on our page “Find Your Parent Center” at:

The model letter below gives you an example of how you might write this complaint. Note that it is important to state what requirement of the law has been violated. The PTI or P&A in your state can help you identify the specific sections of IDEA to list in your complaint.

When writing any business letter, it is important to keep it short and to the point. First, start by asking yourself the following questions and state the answers in your letter:

  •  Why am I writing?
  • What are my specific concerns?
  • What are my questions?
  • What would I like the person to do about this situation?
  • What sort of response do I want: a letter, a meeting, a phone call, or something else?

Each letter you write should include the following basic information:

  • Put the date on your letter.
  • Give your child’s full name and the name of your child’s main teacher or current class placement.
  • Say what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Keep it simple.
  • Give your address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached.
  • Always end your letter with a “thank you.”

 What are some other tips to keep in mind?

  You want to make a good impression so that the person reading your letter will understand your request and say “yes.” Remember, this person may not know you, your child, or your child’s situation. Keep the tone of your letter pleasant and businesslike. Give the facts without letting anger, frustration, blame, or other negative emotions creep in. Some letter-writing tips include:

  • After you write your first draft, put the letter aside for a day or two. Then look at it again and revise it with fresh eyes.
  • Read your letter as though you are the person receiving it. Is your request clear? Have you included the important facts? Does your letter ramble on and on? Is it likely to offend, or is the tone businesslike?
  • Have someone else read your letter for you. Is your reason for writing clear? Can the reader tell what you are asking for? Would the reader say “yes” if he or she received this letter? Can your letter be improved?
  • Use spell check and grammar check on the computer. Or ask someone reliable to edit your letter before you send it.
  • Keep a copy for your records.

Model Letter

Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)

Your Name Street Address City, State, Zip Code Daytime telephone number

Name of person to whom you’re writing Title Street Address City, State, Zip Code

Dear (Person’s name),

I am writing to file a complaint on behalf of my son/daughter, (child’s name), regarding his/her education in the (name of school district). The nature of my complaint is as follows:

Explain the problem with BRIEF statements of fact. Consider listing the facts that support your complaint with bullets or numbers.

For the above reasons, I believe the school district is in violation of certain requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, specifically: (list the requirements of IDEA you feel the school system has violated. For example, “The school system has violated the following requirements of the IDEA:

  • to consider whether my child needs assistive technology services or devices, as required by Section 300.324(a)(2)(v);
  • to include in my child’s IEP a statement of the special education, related services and supplementary aids and services, including assistive technology, that he/she needs as required by Section300.320(a)(4).”

  Enclosed are copies of relevant documents and correspondence I have sent to and received from the school district concerning this matter. These documents are (List the documents you have enclosed, giving the date sent, by whom, to whom, and the issue discussed.) Please provide me with copies of any information you obtain in the process of investigating my complaint. If you need further information or clarification on my complaint, I can be reached at (give your phone number).

cc: school district special education director your child’s principal your advocate or attorney

Note:  The “cc:” at the bottom of the letter means you are sending a copy of your letter to the people listed after the cc.

Highly Rated Resource!   This resource was reviewed by 3-member panels of Parent Center staff working independently from one another to rate the quality, relevance, and usefulness of CPIR resources. This resource was found to be of “High Quality, High Relevance, High Usefulness” to Parent Centers. _______________________________________________

Would you like to read another letter?

Discussing a problem

Requesting a copy of your child’s records

Requesting an evaluation for special education services

Requesting an independent evaluation

Requesting a meeting to review your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Requesting a change in your child’s placement

Informing the school that you intend to place your child in a private school at public expense

Requesting prior written notice

Requesting mediation to resolve a conflict

Requesting a due process hearing to resolve a conflict

Filing a complaint with the State to resolve a conflict (You’re already here.)

What to do when there is a problem with the principal

by: The GreatSchools Editorial Team | Updated: June 12, 2023

Print article

What to do when there is a problem with the principal

What makes a great school? Strong leadership is a key factor. In What Makes a Great Principal: An Audio Slide Show, you can read about the four characteristics that great principals have in common and listen to real stories from principals on the job.

How do you know if your principal is providing the kind of leadership that it takes to make a great school? Knowledge of these warning signs will help you to become aware, if there is a problem, and to take action.

Seven warning signs of a poor principal

If you notice any of the following signs, you may want to contact your superintendent:

  • The principal has no overall vision for the school. He doesn’t have a sense of what kind of school community he and the staff are trying to establish or what values the whole school should uphold.
  • There is no plan to address academic achievement and the schools’ test scores continue to decline. Although principals can’t take all the blame for declining test scores, they should have clear goals for school-wide academic improvement that they communicate to staff and students, and ways to measure improvement against the goals. They should include staff and parents in the goal-setting process.
  • The principal spends all her time in her office pushing papers. She delegates discipline decisions and dealing with parents to the school secretary. You never see her in classrooms or on the playground. She doesn’t know students’ names and doesn’t interact with them.
  • The principal is seldom there. She spends much of his time away from the school in meetings or at conferences.
  • The principal does not return your phone calls. If you have tried to contact her several times and she does not respond, you should be concerned. If you do make contact, but she doesn’t provide you with any possible solution, you have a problem.
  • The principal tells everyone what he or she wants to hear. She says “yes” to everyone but doesn’t take action.
  • The principal shows favoritism. It is obvious that certain teachers, students or parents have the ear of the principal but others do not.

When a parent should contact the principal

When you have a concern about your child’s academic achievement or discipline within the classroom, you should first contact your child’s teacher. If you are not satisfied with the teacher’s response, you should contact the principal. It is always better to try to work out problems with the teacher first. If you have a concern about a school-wide discipline problem or the school’s philosophy, you should contact the principal.

When a parent should contact the superintendent

If the principal does not return your phone calls or if you are dissatisfied with the response of the principal, then you should contact the superintendent. If you have concerns about the principal’s leadership abilities and you can clearly document those concerns, you should contact the superintendent. If several parents feel the same way, make an appointment as a group to visit the superintendent. There is always greater power in numbers!

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  • Making a Complaint

How to File a Complaint Against a School

Last Updated: May 4, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow's legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 66,766 times.

If a school, or a school employee, violates a student's rights, either the student or the student's parent or guardian can file a complaint to protect those rights. Generally, you can start a complaint at the school itself, then move up the hierarchy to your state's department of education if your complaint remains unresolved to your satisfaction. If you believe the school has discriminated against you or your child in violation of federal law, you can also file a complaint with the US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). [1] X Trustworthy Source US Department of Education Federal government agency in charge of U.S. education law and policy Go to source If a teacher is the source of your problem, you may also be able to submit a discipline report to the agency in your state that is in charge of teacher certification. [2] X Research source

Submitting a State Complaint

Step 1 Gather information about the subject of your complaint.

  • If school staff, teachers, or other students observed any of the incidents, contact them and ask if they'd be willing to give a statement about the incident on the record.
  • The school may also have photos or video footage from security cameras that would also be helpful, depending on the location of the incident.

Step 2 Review laws or school policies that might apply to your problem.

  • The school handbook is a good source of school and school district policies that may have been violated. School handbooks also may have information about state and federal laws. If you don't have a copy of the school handbook, check on the school's website.
  • Students' or parents' rights organizations are also good sources of state and federal law that governs schools. Use these resources to determine possible laws that were violated as a result of the incident.
  • For example, if your child is being bullied at school because of their race or ethnicity, that bullying potentially violates federal and state civil rights laws.

Tip: You don't necessarily need a legal citation to a specific law, or even the exact title of the law, for your complaint. However, for discrimination based on disabilities, it's important to state specifically what requirement of the law has been violated.

Step 3 Draft a written letter of complaint.

  • In the first part of your letter, identify yourself and provide a brief statement of the facts that gave rise to your complaint. Include as many specific details as possible, including the time and location of any incidents that occurred.
  • In the second part of your letter, briefly list the school policies and state or federal rules or regulations you believe were violated.
  • In the final part of your letter, describe what you'd like to see happen as a result of your complaint and how long you're giving the school to make this happen. For example, if you were unfairly denied access to a location because of your disability, you might give the school 2 weeks to provide access or make alternate accommodations.

Tip: Make a copy of your signed letter for your records before you send it to the school. Include proof of delivery of the letter along with your copy.

Step 4 Discuss your problem with the school directly.

  • Although you can take a copy of your letter to the official in person, it's generally better to mail your letter using certified mail with return receipt requested. That way, you'll have proof that the school received your complaint if you need to get higher authorities involved.
  • Typically, a school administrative official will contact you and offer options to resolve the situation. However, you may occasionally find that the school stonewalls you or refuses to work with you to find a remedy for your issue. If that occurs, or if you don't find any of the options offered satisfactory, you may need to move up the hierarchy.

Step 5 Work with school district officials to resolve the problem.

  • Include the date the school received your complaint and any dates you spoke to officials at the school. Provide the names of all officials at the school you talked to regarding the issue.
  • Send this letter to the correct district official using certified mail, just as you mailed your original complaint letter to the school.
  • Typically, you'll be contacted by a school district official who is investigating your complaint. They may want to interview you, any witnesses you named, or anyone else involved. They may also ask you for additional documents or information to corroborate the facts you outlined in your complaint.

Step 6 Forward your letter to your state's department of education if necessary.

  • Search online for your state's department of education. On the department's website, you'll find information about filing a complaint against a school. You may also be able to get this information from the school district.
  • Expect the state process to move a little more slowly than the school or the district did. You'll typically receive a response from a state official within a month after you've sent in your complaint, although in some situations it may be longer.
  • A state official will typically launch an investigation into the subject of your complaint. They may want to interview you or any witnesses you've named in your complaint. Aim to comply with any state requests as soon as possible to prevent any unnecessary delays.

Step 7 Consult an attorney...

  • In many situations, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the school (or the school district) regardless of what happens with your complaint. However, some laws require you to exhaust all administrative remedies available before you can file a lawsuit. An attorney will advise you on when you can potentially file a lawsuit.
  • When you file a lawsuit, you can also seek money as compensation for any injury you suffered or expenses you incurred as a result of the incident. With some complaints, you can even seek punitive damages, which the school or school district pays as punishment for violating the law.
  • Unlike a complaint, filing a lawsuit takes significantly longer. You can expect it to take at least a year or more before anything happens with the lawsuit unless the school is willing to offer a settlement relatively quickly.

Making a Federal Discrimination Complaint

Step 1 Pull together documents and information related to your complaint.

  • Your name and address (you can also include a phone number where the OCR can contact you)
  • Information about the type of discrimination suffered by you, your child, or a group of people
  • The name and address of your school and the school district
  • Details about the incident or incidents, including dates, times, locations, and specific facts about what happened

Tip: The OCR evaluates discrimination complaints against public schools and private schools that receive federal funding. This includes most, but not all, private schools. Your school handbook should have information on whether the school is subject to federal discrimination laws.

Step 2 Fill out the complaint form on the OCR's website.

  • You will be asked several questions about the incident or incidents that led you to file the complaint. Be detailed in your responses, providing as much information as possible. If you believe others may have information that would be helpful to the OCR, list their names and the information they may have that would be of use.
  • Keep in mind that the more information you provide, the stronger your complaint is. Don't leave out any details, even if you don't think they're relevant to your complaint.

Tip: You have the option of drafting a letter rather than using the OCR's complaint form. However, using the form ensures that you don't leave out any information the OCR might need, which could delay the resolution of your complaint.

Step 3 Submit your complaint to the OCR.

  • Print a copy of your complaint for your records before you send it. You can send it directly through the website after completing the assessment or you can email it to your local OCR office.
  • You can also mail a paper copy of your complaint to your local OCR office, although the OCR strongly prefers electronic submission of complaints.
  • You also have the option of sending your complaint to the OCR National Headquarters at U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100. The email address for the OCR National Headquarters is [email protected].

Tip: You do not need to go through the complaint process with your school, school district, or state department of education before submitting a complaint to the OCR.

Step 4 Wait for a response from the OCR.

  • If the OCR decides to open an investigation regarding your complaint, this does not mean that the OCR has made any decision about the merits of your complaint.
  • The OCR may send you a notice stating that it needs more documents or information from you. If you get this type of notice, you have 14 days to comply or the OCR may dismiss your complaint.

Step 5 Cooperate with OCR's investigation of your complaint.

  • Keep in mind that failure to cooperate with the investigation could result in the dismissal of your complaint.
  • If you named any witnesses or school officials in your complaint, they will likely be interviewed by the OCR.
  • At any time during the investigation, the school may indicate that it wants to settle the complaint. The OCR may facilitate or mediate settlement talks. However, the OCR does not approve or endorse any agreement you make.

Step 6 Find out OCR's decision on your complaint.

  • Based on the findings of the investigation, the OCR may work with you to facilitate a settlement and resolution of your complaint. If the OCR determines that your civil rights were violated, it will work with you and the school to create a plan that would remedy the violation and prevent further violations in the future.
  • If the OCR determines that the school did not violate your civil rights, you may appeal that decision. You have 60 days to file an appeal with the OCR. It's a good idea to hire an attorney if you reach this stage because appeals must explain why the OCR's legal analysis was incorrect.

Step 7 Talk to an attorney regarding your complaint.

  • Most civil rights attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you can take advantage of that to get an assessment of your case. Make sure you talk to more than one attorney. Some may be willing to take on your case while others are not.

Reporting Educator Misconduct

Step 1 Collect evidence of the misconduct.

  • Keep in mind most teacher certification agencies will not allow anonymous comments. Even if you know other people who witnessed the misconduct, they may not be willing to come forward on the record.

Step 2 Draft an affidavit describing the misconduct you observed.

  • For example, if you saw a teacher drinking on a school field trip, you might say "I saw the teacher order 4 drinks" or "I could smell alcohol on the teacher's breath." However, you wouldn't say something like "the teacher was drunk during the school field trip," as that would be drawing a conclusion.
  • Make sure you identify the teacher you're complaining about as completely as possible. At a minimum, you should include their full name, the school they teach at, and the grades and subject matter they teach.
  • Some states have a specific form you must use. If a form is available, you typically can download it online. Simply search for "teacher complaint form" or "educator complaint form" along with the name of your state. [15] X Research source

Tip: Because affidavits are sworn statements, they often must be notarized. If you see a notary box at the bottom of the affidavit form, do not sign your affidavit until you're in the presence of a notary. If you are under the age of 18, you also must have a parent sign your affidavit.

Step 3 Attach any supporting documents you have to your affidavit.

  • For example, you might write in your affidavit "I am attaching the letter I received from the principal of the school after I reported this incident on October 15, 2019."

Step 4 Submit your affidavit to the appropriate state office.

  • The complaint process is typically included on the teacher certification agency's website. If you're not sure the name of the agency in your state that issues teacher certifications, search for "teacher certification" followed by the name of your state. Check the headers or footers at the top or bottom of the home page to make sure you're on an official page.

Step 5 Cooperate with any further investigation or requests.

  • Keep in mind that typically, the teacher will also get a full copy of your complaint and have the opportunity to respond.
  • There typically isn't any appeal if you don't agree with the agency's decision. However, in limited situations, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the teacher or the school where they work. Talk to a local attorney who specializes in education law.

Expert Q&A

  • This article discusses how to file a complaint against a school in the US. If you live in another country, the rules and procedures may be different. Consult an attorney near you who specializes in education or administrative law. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
  • Official complaints against a school or educator can rarely be anonymous. If you prefer to remain anonymous, consider submitting a tip to a local investigative news agency. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

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Letter Writing: To The Principal

Writing a letter to the principal of a school is a formal means of communication that requires attention to detail, politeness, and clarity. Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher, the structure and tone of your letter should reflect respect and professionalism. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a letter to the principal.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Purpose

First, define the purpose of your letter. Are you addressing a concern, requesting information, seeking permission for something, or expressing gratitude? Knowing your aim will help you maintain focus and conciseness in your writing.

Gathering Necessary Information

Collect any information or documentation you need to include or refer to in your letter. This might include:

  • Relevant dates and times
  • Names of individuals involved
  • Specific details about the event or issue
  • Any previous communication on the matter

Structuring the Letter

Your letter should follow a standard formal letter format:

  • Sender’s Information : Start with your full name, address, and contact details.
  • Date : The date when you are writing the letter.
  • Principal’s Information : The principal’s name, the school’s name, and address.
  • Salutation : Use a respectful greeting like “Dear Principal [Last Name],”
  • Subject Line : A concise line summarizing the reason for writing (e.g., “Subject: Request for Meeting Regarding Academic Performance”).

Writing the Letter


Begin with a polite introduction stating the purpose of your letter, and if applicable, mention your relationship to the school (e.g., parent of a student, teacher, etc.):

“I am writing to you concerning…”

Main Content

In the body of the letter, include:

  • Clear Objective : State clearly what you hope to achieve with the letter.
  • Relevant Details : Provide any relevant details that will help the principal understand the situation.
  • Previous Steps Taken : If you’ve taken any steps to resolve the issue before escalating it to the principal, mention those here.
  • Your Request or Concern : Clearly express what you are asking for or what concern you wish to address.
  • Supporting Information : Include any additional information that supports your request or concern.

Keep your tone respectful and the content clear and concise.

Conclude with a statement that anticipates cooperation or expresses gratitude:

“I look forward to your response…”

“I appreciate your attention to this matter…”

Closing the Letter

End with a formal closing such as:

“Yours sincerely,”


followed by your signature (if sending a hard copy) and typed name.

If you’re including any documents, mention them as enclosures.


Review your letter for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Ensure all names and titles are spelled correctly.

To The Principal Letter Example #1

Dear Principal [Last Name],

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention a matter of concern regarding the school’s cafeteria facilities. As a student at [School Name], I believe that addressing this issue will greatly improve the overall experience for students and contribute to a healthier and more conducive learning environment.

Specifically, I have noticed that the cafeteria lacks a variety of nutritious food options. Many students, including myself, often struggle to find healthy alternatives during lunchtime. The current menu predominantly consists of processed and unhealthy food choices, which can have negative effects on our physical well-being and academic performance.

I kindly request that the school administration consider implementing changes to the cafeteria menu. It would be greatly appreciated if the school could introduce a wider range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain options. Additionally, incorporating more vegetarian and vegan choices would accommodate students with dietary restrictions and preferences. By offering healthier alternatives, we can promote better eating habits among students and foster a positive and nourishing school environment.

I understand that implementing these changes may require careful consideration and coordination with the cafeteria staff and food suppliers. However, I firmly believe that investing in the well-being and health of the student body will have long-lasting benefits for our school community.

I would be more than willing to assist in any way possible to help facilitate this transition. If you would like to discuss this matter further or if there is any additional information I can provide, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am confident that together we can work towards enhancing the overall dining experience for students at [School Name].

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I greatly appreciate your dedication to the well-being and success of the students at [School Name]. I look forward to a positive outcome.

[Your Name]

To The Principal Letter Example #2

I am writing to express my sincere appreciation for the recent changes that have been implemented at [School Name]. As a parent of a student in [Grade/Class], I have observed the positive impact these changes have had on the overall learning environment, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge your efforts and express my gratitude.

Firstly, I would like to commend the school administration and staff for their commitment to academic excellence. The introduction of new teaching methods and innovative approaches to learning has sparked a renewed enthusiasm among the students. My child has expressed great excitement about the engaging classroom activities and the opportunities for hands-on learning that have been introduced this academic year.

Furthermore, I am impressed by the increased emphasis on extracurricular activities and the overall holistic development of the students. The addition of new clubs, sports teams, and cultural events has not only provided a platform for students to explore their interests but has also fostered a sense of camaraderie and school spirit. It is evident that these initiatives have contributed to a more vibrant and inclusive school community.

I would also like to acknowledge the open and effective communication channels that have been established between the school and parents. The regular newsletters, parent-teacher conferences, and online portals have proven to be valuable resources in keeping parents informed about their child’s progress and upcoming events. As a parent, I feel supported and involved in my child’s education, and I appreciate the efforts made by the school to create a strong partnership between parents and educators.

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude once again for the positive changes that have been implemented at [School Name]. The dedication and commitment of the school administration, teachers, and staff members are truly commendable. It is reassuring to witness the continuous efforts made to provide an enriching educational experience for the students.

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to excellence and for creating a nurturing environment where every student can thrive. I look forward to witnessing the continued success and growth of [School Name].

With sincere appreciation,

To The Principal Letter Example #3

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention an issue that I believe requires immediate attention for the safety and well-being of the students at [School Name].

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a significant increase in incidents of bullying among students. It deeply concerns me to witness the negative impact this behavior is having on the affected students’ mental health and overall academic performance. As a member of the school community, I believe it is crucial that we address this issue promptly and effectively.

I would like to request that the school administration takes proactive measures to combat bullying within the premises of the school. It is important to foster an environment where every student feels safe, respected, and included. I suggest implementing the following strategies to address this matter:

  • Awareness and Education: Conduct regular awareness campaigns and workshops on bullying, its effects, and preventive measures. These sessions can help students and staff better understand the consequences of bullying and empower them to take a stand against it.
  • Clear Policies and Procedures: Review and reinforce the school’s existing policies on bullying. It is essential to have well-defined guidelines in place that outline the consequences for engaging in bullying behavior, as well as the reporting procedures for students who witness or experience bullying.
  • Peer Support Programs: Implement peer support programs where older students can mentor and support younger students. This can create a positive and inclusive atmosphere, discouraging instances of bullying and fostering a sense of belonging among all students.
  • Counseling and Support Services: Ensure that adequate counseling and support services are available for students who have been affected by bullying. Providing a safe space for students to express their concerns and seek guidance is crucial in helping them cope with the emotional and psychological impact of bullying.
  • Parent Involvement: Encourage parental involvement in addressing and preventing bullying. Conduct workshops or information sessions for parents to increase their awareness of bullying and provide them with resources to support their children.

I strongly believe that by implementing these measures, we can create a safe and nurturing environment that promotes positive interactions and discourages bullying. Together, we can ensure that every student at [School Name] receives an education free from fear and intimidation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I kindly request that you consider taking immediate action to address the issue of bullying at our school. I am available and willing to assist in any way possible to contribute to the creation of a safe and supportive environment.

Final Thoughts

If you do not receive a response within a reasonable time, you can follow up via email or phone call to ensure your letter was received.

By following these steps, you can write a professional and effective letter to the principal that clearly communicates your concerns, requests, or feedback. Remember that the key elements of a successful letter are respect, clarity, and brevity, ensuring that your message is received positively and given the attention it deserves.

About Mr. Greg

Mr. Greg is an English teacher from Edinburgh, Scotland, currently based in Hong Kong. He has over 5 years teaching experience and recently completed his PGCE at the University of Essex Online. In 2013, he graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a BEng(Hons) in Computing, with a focus on social media.

Mr. Greg’s English Cloud was created in 2020 during the pandemic, aiming to provide students and parents with resources to help facilitate their learning at home.

Whatsapp: +85259609792

[email protected]

report writing to school principal

Persuading the Principal: Writing Persuasive Letters About School Issues

report writing to school principal

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
  • Related Resources

This lesson gives students the opportunity to examine opinion editorials and write their own on school issues. After reading and listening to opinion pieces, students identify strong examples of persuasion and record them on a graphic organizer. Small groups then brainstorm issues in the school that they believe deserve action plans. Each group uses graphic organizers to explore its issue. The group then constructs a letter on that issue. The letter is then edited for grammar and content, typed on a word processor, printed, and delivered to the school principal.

Featured Resources

  • Persuasion Map : This tool helps students break down their argument into reasons and supporting details, which will help them write their letter.
  • Letter Generator : Students can use this tool to identify the different parts of a letter, and use the sample provided as a model for writing their own letters.

From Theory to Practice

  • Social justice "can be at the forefront of a secondary English curriculum that simultaneously incorporates traditional skill development and critical analysis."
  • In a heterogeneous classroom focusing on social activism, the teacher should place student-generated inquiry questions at the forefront.
  • Students should explore examples of social activism in order to identify the traits of an agent of change before engaging in their own activism.
  • Students hone reading skills by applying essential nonfiction reading strategies to texts as they explore their topics.
  • Writing that aims at affecting social change should be shared publicly.
  • Students should be given the opportunity to choose activism issues that speak to them personally.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability
  • One computer with Internet access and speakers
  • Overhead projector or whiteboard
  • Elements of Effective Persuasive Writing
  • Persuasive Writing Topic Exploration
  • Persuasive Writing: Letter to the Principal Rubric


Student objectives.

Students will

  • Interpret and evaluate published persuasive pieces of writing in order to identify and emulate elements of effective persuasive writing
  • Develop problem identification and exploration skills by examining issues in the school community
  • Develop persuasive writing skills by formulating a strong persuasive argument and employing elements of effective persuasive writing
  • Develop and expand knowledge and application of written language conventions by reading and analyzing published pieces of persuasive writing and engaging in the writing process (including editing and revising)

Sessions 1 & 2: Exploring the Elements of Effective Persuasive Letter Writing

Session 3: brainstorming and selecting persuasive letter topics, session 4: persuasive letter planning and writing, sessions 5 and 6: persuasive letter revision, session 7: persuasive letter publication.

  • Arrange with the school principal to respond to students' letters. S/he could write response letters to each group or visit the class to discuss the letters. Be sure to provide him/her with a copy of the rubric to help him/her focus feedback on those skills students developed and practiced in this lesson.
  • Have students create action plans. They could write follow-up letters or create multimedia presentations for the principal proposing a solution to the issue that fits with the positions outlined in their persuasive letters.
  • Have students conduct research on the Internet, focusing on how other schools in the United States have handled their issue. Many issues, such as school uniforms and cell phone usage, are "hot " topics in other schools. Ask students to create multimedia presentations of their findings (using a program such as PowerPoint) to share with the class.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Observe student participation in the discussion about the elements of effective persuasive writing. Be sure to guide students as they identify and record examples of effective persuasive writing in the published pieces you examine as a class.
  • Review each collaborative writing group’s Persuasion Map and initial draft of their letter to the principal. Offer them feedback focused on the elements of effective persuasive writing.
  • Observe and use guiding questions as students evaluate each group’s letter to the principal using the Persuasive Writing: Letter to the Principal Rubric . Collect student rubrics and review them to help guide groups as they make revisions.
  • Assess the final product letters to the principal using the Persuasive Writing: Letter to the Principal Rubric .
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Interactives
  • Strategy Guides
  • Calendar Activities

Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.

The Letter Generator is a useful tool for students to learn the parts of a business or friendly letter and then compose and print letters for both styles of correspondence.

  • Print this resource

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  • Kindergarten K
  • Letter Writing
  • Formal Letter Writing In English
  • Letter to the Principal

Letter to Principal - Format and Sample Letters

If you are a school student, you would have definitely come across many scenarios where you have had to write a letter to the principal of your school. The reasons might vary. From requesting leave because you are sick or going on a vacation to seeking permission to participate in competitions or sports events, you are always required to submit the leave letters. This article will give you a detailed explanation of the format of writing a formal letter to principal and also provide you with examples that would aid you to write one on your own.

Table of Contents

Writing a formal letter to school principal – format and points to remember, request letter to principal for an on duty application of two days, write a letter to your principal seeking permission to attend a family function, write a letter to the principal of your school requesting leave for a week to take care of your sick mother, letter to your principal seeking permission for a re-examination.

  • FAQs on Writing a Letter to School Principal

A letter to the principal is always written for particular reasons, and it has to be in the format of a formal letter . You have to make sure that you provide all the necessary information promptly. This includes the receiver’s address, date, subject stating the reason for leave, salutation, body of the letter explaining the purpose of your letter, complimentary closing and signature. All these components have to be aligned to your left-hand side margin.

When writing the letter, see to it that you mention precisely the dates on which you require leave, or you would be absent to school because this serves as a record for attendance keeping, leave management and other documentation purposes.

Sample Letters to Principal

Go through the sample letters given below for your reference and better understanding.

The Principal

National Model Public School

Chennai – 600054.

Subject: Request for On-Duty application for two days

Respected Sir,

I am Mithuna M, a student of Class X C. I have been selected to participate in the State Level Athletic Competitions that is to be held on the 15th and 16th of this month at the M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk. I require an attested on-duty application to be able to represent the school and participate in the competitions. I request you to kindly provide me with a bonafide certificate and an on-duty application so that I would not lose my attendance.

Thanking you

Yours sincerely,

Roll No. 32

The Headmistress

St. Francis Anglo Indian Girls High School

Noida – 110096

25 th November, 2021

Subject: Seeking permission to attend a family function

Respected Ma’am,

I am writing to seek your permission for me to attend a family function on the 29 th of November at Bangalore. I would require a leave of three days (from 28.11.2021 to 30.11.2021). I have taken permission from my Class Teacher, and I will ensure that I keep myself informed about the daily lessons and complete everything up-to-date when I am back. Kindly consider my request and grant me permission.

Saajan Jose

Roll No. 36

Zion Public School

Allahabad – 211008

Subject: Requesting one week’s leave

This is to inform you that my mother is seriously ill and I am required to stay with her as there is no one else to take care of her. She is required to be taken to the hospital every now and then and needs constant support as doctors have advised complete bed rest. So, I request you to kindly allow me a week’s leave, starting today, 16/09/2021 to 23/09/2021.

My friends have assured me to bring every day’s notes, and I will submit all my work through them. My Class Teacher is also very supportive. She has promised to send me audio recordings of classes so that I would not miss out on anything during this period. With everyone’s support, I am sure I can get through this difficult phase.

Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.

Yours faithfully,

Student of Class XII A

Roll No. 12

GD Matriculation Higher Secondary School

Kachery Road, Chelannur

Kerala – 673001

July 19, 2021

Subject: Seeking permission for a re-examination

This letter is in regards to Thomas Roy, student of Class VIII A. He was not able to attend the Maths examination as he was hospitalised. He has recovered completely now and is ready to take the re-examination. It was discussed earlier that he could have a re-examination as he could not attend the exam owing to his illness.

We are willing to work with his Class Teacher, Mrs. Joyce and his Maths Teacher, Mrs. Roseline and fix a date for the re-examination. We wanted to make an official intimation of the matter before we proceeded with it. Kindly give us a heads up so that we can go forward with it.

Rayana Philip

Mother of Thomas Roy

Frequently Asked Questions on Writing a Letter to School Principal

How can i start a letter to the school principal.

Start your letter with the address and date, followed by the subject, salutation and then the body of the letter in which you convey the reason behind your letter.

What kind of letter do I write to the Principal?

A letter to the School Principal or any higher authority should always be in the format of

a formal letter as it is concerned with matters of personal and professional importance.

The language used should be formal as well.

Is it important to mention the dates on which I am taking leave?

It is important to clearly mention the date on which you would be absent from school because it gives clarity and is also used for attendance management and documentation.

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School Report

Examples of Writing a School Report

It’s practically a guarantee that you’ll encounter reports at various points of your life. These documents are everywhere, ranging from school to work or even more personal areas. When it comes to a school report, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a lot of things. School report writing is one of those things. There’s also the school report meaning and many others. If you’re wondering where you can learn about these bits and pieces of trivia, then you’ve come to the right place. Scroll on to discover more, including an excellent school report example or school report template straight from our list of free downloads.

School Report Templates

school report templates

  • Google Docs

Size: A4, US

Pre School Report Card Template

pre school report card template

School Incident Report Template

school incident report template

Home school Report Card Template

home school report card template

Primary School Report Template

primary school report template

School Progress Report Template

school progress report template

End of Year School Report Template

end of year school report template

School Project Report Template

school project report template

Simple Home School Report Card Template

simple home school report card template

  • Illustrator
  • Apple Numbers
  • Apple Pages
  • MS Publisher

Size: 78 KB

Simple High School Report Card Template

simple high school report card template

Size: 32 KB

Middle School Report Card Template

middle school report card template

Size: 75 KB

School Report Card Template

school report card template

Elementary School Report Card Template

elementary school report card template

Size: 62 KB

Free Blank Preschool Report Card Template

free blank preschool report card template

Size: 60 KB

High School Report Card Template

high school report card template

Size: 29 KB

Free Simple School Report Template

free simple school report template

Size: 22 KB

Free Sample School Report Template

free sample school report template

Size: 27 KB

School Progress Report Card Template

school progress report card template

Size: 55 KB

school project report template

Size: 23 KB

School Feasibility Report Template

Size: 80 KB

Free School Board Report Template

free school board report template

Size: 36 KB

Free School Annual Report Template

free school annual report template

Free School Visit Report Template

free school visit report template

Free School Incident Report Form Template

free school incident report form template

Size: 38 KB

What Is a School Report?

Such a loaded question will have different answers depending on who you ask. For some, this is what people mean when they talk about college applications school report. Others may have student record reports in mind when they think of school reports. If you are going by one of its definitions, a school report can be the recommendation written by a school counselor. It is often used to help evaluate prospects to determine whether they are worth admitting to the school or not.

Tips for Writing School Reports

Writing a school report should not prove to be too much to handle, but one can always use a boost whenever possible. To help with your report writing , here are four tips that you can keep in mind as you go through the endeavor.

Tip 1: Be Direct

There’s no use sugar-coating whatever it is you are trying to communicate. If you’re an administrator with duties to fulfill, it’s best to stick to the point not only to save time but also to make yourself easier to understand. For students writing reports in PDF , few things will help your writing than greater readability.

Tip 2: Supply Evidence

When you claim something in your report, you must provide the necessary evidence to support that claim. This is not only true for school reports of all kinds, but also for reports like research reports . Without evidence, your statements won’t have as much credibility—if it will have any at all.

Tip 3: Utilize Checklists

You may have a lot of ground to cover with your report. With everything on your plate, it wouldn’t hurt to have something like a scholastic checklist to help you keep track of everything. School reports, after all, must be easy to understand and highly organized.

Tip 4: Involve All the Necessary People

If you are a teacher and you need to write a report about a student, be sure to involve the student in the making of the report. This does not mean that he or she has to be with you as you write it. Rather, be open to communication early on. Set proper student goals to evaluate at the end of a specific time period. This way, they can help you by providing the right content for your report.

What are the common elements of a report?

Each report may, at any given time, contain the following elements: a description of a sequence of events, an interpretation of the significance of said events, evaluation, recommendations , and conclusions.

Is a school report a transcript?

It can be if the report centers around items like an individual student’s grades or performance. However, some reports are not necessarily transcripts. Examples of that would include assignment  reports that are submitted in class.

How necessary are school reports?

School reports are often sent out to parents to inform them of their children’s academic performance . Such reports often come in the form of report cards. So with that said, it is absolutely necessary for school reports to be written and handed out.

School reports, as you now know, come in various forms. From the documents you create and submit to teachers to transcripts like a school report card , there’s just no escaping them. Having read our article from start to finish, you should now be better acquainted with school reports. Now all you have to do is make a choice regarding how you will apply this newly-gained knowledge. Will you keep browsing through our list of school report templates or will you make your own? Well, regardless of what you decide, be assured that you’re in an excellent position to make a well-informed choice. So choose wisely and act as soon as you can!

report writing to school principal

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How to Write an Email to A Principal

How to Write an Email to a Principal

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of writing an email to a school principal. You’ll learn the necessary steps to take before writing, the crucial elements to include in your email, and we’ll provide a handy email template for you to use. By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to communicate effectively with a school principal.

To write an email to a principal, clearly state your purpose, provide all necessary details in a concise manner, and maintain a respectful tone throughout.

Table of Contents

What To Do Before Writing the Email

Before drafting your email, consider the following:

  • Identify The Purpose : Clearly define the reason for your email. It could be a concern, a suggestion, or a request.
  • Gather Relevant Information : If your email is about a specific incident or person, gather all the pertinent details.
  • Be Respectful : Remember that you’re addressing an authority figure. Maintain a respectful tone throughout your email.

woman in gray and yellow pussybow top

What to Include In the Email

Your email should include:

  • Subject Line : Make it concise and informative. The subject line should summarize the purpose of your email.
  • Salutation : Address the principal formally, using their correct title and surname.
  • Introduction : Introduce yourself and your relationship to the school (e.g., parent, student).
  • Body of Email : State your purpose for writing. Be clear, concise, and respectful.
  • Closing : Express your appreciation for their time and request any necessary follow-up action. Sign off politely.

Email Template

Here’s a basic email template that you can customize:

Subject: Request for Meeting Regarding [Student’s Name] Dear Principal [Surname], I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name] and I am the parent of [Student’s Name], a student in Grade [Number]. I am writing to discuss [Briefly state the issue or concern]. I believe that by addressing this matter, we can enhance the learning environment for [Student’s Name] and potentially other students as well. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter further. Please let me know suitable dates and times for you. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Sincerely, [Your Name]

Staff Commendation Template to Principal

Subject:  Commendation for School Staff Member Dear Principal [Surname], Greetings! I am [Your Name], parent of [Student’s Name] who is currently in [Student’s Grade/Class]. I am writing to extend my heartfelt commendation for [Staff Member’s Name], who has demonstrated exceptional dedication and support in [Specific Example]. [Staff Member’s Name]’s efforts have made a significant impact on [Student’s Name]’s experience at [School Name], and I wanted to ensure that such exemplary work is acknowledged. I am grateful for your leadership and the positive environment it fosters for both the staff and students. Please extend my thanks to [Staff Member’s Name] for their outstanding contribution. Best regards, [Your Name]

portrait photography of man wearing black suit jacket

Email Template to Principal for Concerns About Facilities

Subject:  Concerns About School Facilities Dear Principal [Surname], I hope this message finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and my son/daughter, [Student’s Name], is attending [Grade] at [School Name]. I am writing to express my concern regarding the school’s current state of facilities, specifically [Mention particular facility or issue]. I have noticed that [Describe the issue and any potential impact on students]. Understanding that facility management is complex, I am keen to learn about any upcoming plans to address this issue or how I might assist in improving the situation. Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response. Best regards, [Your Name]

Volunteer Support Template to Principal

Subject:  Volunteer Support Offer for School Events Dear Principal [Surname], Good day! I am [Your Name], the parent of [Student’s Name] in [Grade]. It has come to my attention that the school is organizing the upcoming [Event Name], and I am writing to offer my assistance as a volunteer. With experience in [Briefly describe any relevant experience or skills], I am confident that I can contribute positively to the event’s success. Please let me know if there is a formal process to register as a volunteer or specific areas where my help would be most beneficial. Looking forward to contributing to our school community. Kind regards, [Your Name]

brown wooden door on brown brick building

Writing an email to a principal requires clear communication and respect. Identify your purpose, be concise yet comprehensive with your information, and maintain a polite tone throughout. By following these steps, you’ll be able to craft an effective email that will facilitate positive communication.

Weymouth Middle School: Adams Campus

Principal's Report Card Cover Letter

Abigail Adams letterhead

  • 99.8% of our students at Abigail Adams have access to the fine arts compared to Massachusetts which was only 79.7%.   
  • Our school’s focus on chronically absent children is meeting with success with a drop from 10.6% in 2018 to 6.9% in 2019 and we have out performed the Massachusetts state average in this area for the  for the last four years.  
  • Our performance on MCAS is steadily making gains in ELA.  We improved from 41% of our students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2017 to 51% of our students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2018.  
  • Our performance on MCAS is steadily making gains in Math.  We improved from 37% of our students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2018 to 43% of our students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2019.  
  • Our school is meeting or exceeding targets for most accountability measures earning a score of 75 especially in the field of mathematics where eight out of eleven groups either met or exceeded targets.  
  • Encouraging your child’s learning at home
  • Attending parent-teacher meetings and other special meetings
  • Serving as a volunteer in our school or district
  • Encouraging other parents to become involved
  • Whether your child’s teacher is licensed in the grade levels and subject areas they teach
  • Whether your child’s teacher is teaching under an emergency license or waiver
  • The college degree and major of your child’s teacher
  • Whether your child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications

Report To The Principal's Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership

Report To The Principal's Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership

Report to the Principal’s Office Book Excerpt: Chapter 28 Profile and Practices of Highly Successful High School Students.

Dear Educators, please get them (eight graders moving up into the ninth grade) to start this journey on the right foot and on the right foot path!

Chapter 28 (presented here with some ‘blog-format-friendly’ and for the non-professional educator reader explanatory alterations) was based on 11 years of observing, analyzing, and compiling the best attributes of my top twenty-five students in each graduating (12th-grade) cohort.  Also, as a superintendent, evaluating high schools (principals): course pass rates, grade promotion rates, ACT-SAT scores, Advance Placement (AP) courses participation and test-score achievement statistics, specific school (e.g., CTE) graduation requirements and success data, performance on required state and district standardized exams, graduation rates, and the ‘transcript and diploma quality’ of those graduating seniors .

Although, I included some student-specific personal and family profile qualities, so as to make these students more recognizable, and thus more strategically supportable for high school principals; I also worked hard to eliminate as many unique characteristics, idiosyncratic study habits, gender-specific methodologies and attitudes (in my school, girls statistically performed better overall, including in STEM courses), and distinct cultural, ethnicity, and family-structure factors as possible to get to the commonly shared and more easily accessible (and easy to be taught) soft behavioral and hard technical skills needed by present ‘moving-up’ eighth-graders; those qualities that can be modified and adaptively crafted for their own personal and critically challenging new high school experience. 

My experiential hypothesis is this: 

For the overwhelming majority of students; the success of the high school experience, and indeed the quality of a student’s post-high school life experience, can very much be influenced and/or determined by the level and quality, and quantity of that quality, of their knowledge, information-gathering competencies, adaptability skills, academic, behavioral and attitudinal performance in the ninth grade —This is specifically and applicably true if a student wishes to pursue a post-high school STEM college major and career!…  I’ll get to the parent  push-pull advantages, the level of K-8 ELA (English Language Arts) e.g., reading, writing and speaking skills, and the quality of eighth-grade pre-Algebra or full-Algebra mathematics course teaching and learning, the GPA raising strategies of preparing for and taking AP courses, as influencing and producing quality-of-outcomes graduation factors (variables) in a future blog post. 

Chapter 28: Practices of a Successful High School Student

Every year for eleven years, I stood as a high school principal before a large gathering of eager young people and their anxious parents at the incoming student/parent orientation. Every one of those years, I have tried to hammer home the same list of themed warnings and recommendations. Here are some summarized and condensed samples from my speeches:

  • “I will first get out the saddest and most difficult part of my message today. And that is, as I look out at this lovely audience, think and ask myself, which parent is an enabler of academic poor performance and negative non-productive behavior? And, which parent is fully supportive of what we are trying to achieve in this school and supportive of their child being an academic success? Who in this gathering of parents and students, is really listening to me? Which student is wrongly and tragically planning, at this very moment in their minds, to bring their old school to this new school; bringing their old selves when a new self is required? Which way will this or that person go, based on hearing or not hearing my words?”
  • “One of the first and most important decisions you will make as a freshman is your choice of friends. There is no truer saying then “birds of a feather flock together!” Eagles don’t associate with pigeons or chickens unless its mealtime, and that means the other two birds are on the menu! As you move through life, your priorities will change, and with that change there may need to be a change in social relationships; don’t stress, it’s a natural evolutionary part of life. Pick friends who are moving in a positive direction. Pick friends who are as, or more focused and disciplined than you are!”
  • “Your guidance counselor will help you to complete the required assignment of designing a Graduation Critical Plan/Path Chart. This plan starts with your graduation objective; flows backwards (12-11-10-9), taking notice and care of every decision until it reaches your present moment. It will map and guide you through the difficult first day, week, month, and year of high school. Your ninth grade’s schedule and your attitude in response to that schedule determines your true intentions for achieving your graduation objective. This plan will measure your level of commitment by your academic performance in your ninth grade classes; it will expand to include critical actions to be taken, and the many important decisions that must be made during that same time period (at each grade level). The quality of your study and schoolwork production. Your plans, goals, and objectives for after-school, weekends, school breaks, and holidays, seasonal and summer vacations, from the first ninth grade semester, through to the last semester of your senior year. You should change the plan/path for improvement and enhancement purposes only! Too many students are forced on lowering their personal career goals and life expectations because somewhere between the ninth and twelfth grades they lowered their commitment to work hard for their dreams. Enter high school with a good plan. Evolve throughout your high school experience guided by a good plan. End your high school journey with a good senior post-high school plan!”
  • “The first grade of the year in English will be determined by your work on the written assignment from your before-school book reading project (sent to all incoming 9th graders). Not only will this be your first recorded grade in high school, it will also (based on the work you put in) give us, the staff, a first look at your readiness and serious profile!”
  • “In this school, ninth graders will be required to take the Pre-Act and PSAT 10.”
  • “Failing Classes makes high school life less fun and challenges a student’s ability to pursue a desired career objective. Failing classes can knock you out of exciting electives that enhance your transcript and are enjoyable to take. Failing classes lowers your GPA! And how many students have I seen scrambling in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades, struggling to raise their GPAs to meet internship criteria, a college program, or scholarship GPA requirement they are pursuing; failing classes will block you from great and wonderful after-school programs, activities, and trips. If you are in a course-grade aligned specialized major or CTE (Career Technical Education; chap. 16 RTTPO) program, a failed class can take you out of sequence, thus disabling you from finishing the program in the scheduled time period and miss gaining access to an apprenticeship program. No matter what anybody tells you, summer school or any other type of credit-recovery program, will more often than not, offer a less rigorous/demanding level of academic work than the course you failed in regular school.”

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Note to principal: A sure sign of a district or school’s academic-super-vision ineffectiveness is a huge and wasteful amount of money being spent on students who fail classes, too often for reasons totally unrelated to ability. The principal should meet early in a term to discuss with the APs and teachers, those students who are simply “choosing” to fail a class; and then, with an academic intervention/counseling strategy, support and encourage those students to move into the “pass” column side of the ledger. Now, understandably, the school and district are obligated by regulation to make credit recovery expenditures; but we should not kid ourselves, it costs the individual students, districts, and schools dearly when high school students fail classes. It is a huge, and for the most part, unnecessary cost for either establishing a credit-recovery program, or when a failing student occupies a seat in the same course the next semester or year. In any event, the money being spent in the credit-recovery area could be utilized in more positive and productive ways. Finally, students should seek to protect the good image and integrity of their transcripts at all times! C’s, D’s, and F’s are like those lights on a well-lit Christmas tree that don’t work—dark spaces on their transcripts! Make sure you convey to 8th-grade students that:

• “If your middle school experience was less than exemplary, you should think of the moving to a new school experience, where people are going to meet you for the first time, as an opportunity to redefine yourself into a new and better student self-image and profile.”

• “Hard work and perseverance can match and overtake natural skill. But when you match hard work, perseverance, and natural skill and talent, what we have is an academic power agent!”

• “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Impress teachers and administrators early and in all of your classes. Teachers, like all professionals, talk passionately about their work. When your name comes up, let it be in the context of admiration and praise! (Plus, you will need some of these teachers to provide both verbal and written recommendations over the next four years!)”

• “You will start out in all of your classes with an “A.” You will then, through your actions (or inactions), maintain or lower that “A” designation. Teachers here don’t give grades; they simply match an A-F grade with your effort and performance, and record the result.”

• Then it is that painful recognition moment when I explain the difference between the K-8 “Age-Seat time” promotional system; and the precise, credit-earning driven high school “Carnegie” system for promotion to the next grade. And further, explain (again I apologize to my wonderful elementary-middle school friends and colleagues), “That for the first time in your public school education life, you are about to embark upon a journey to earn a legally determined, regulated, and monitored (by the state) graduation diploma. The only power the principal and staff has in this process is to add up your credits, confirm that you have taken and passed the required courses–including the labs if required, and that you have sat for and passed the required standardized exams, we can then submit your name as a “candidate for graduation” to the superintendent’s office. There is no “seat-time” or “aging-into” a high school diploma. And in this school you will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony if you are not a “certified” graduating senior. Welcome to the high school world!”

• “One of the greatest threats to ninth grade success is planning and organization. Each of you will receive an academic year-long planner/calendar. Your student handbook as well as individual teachers’ syllabi will advise you as to how to plan long-term assignments, projects and exams. Your academic boat will sink early and quickly if you don’t effectively plan and organize your schoolwork, study, and personal life schedules…”

• “There is a qualitative and quantitative difference between homework and study. And the differences are connected to the variations of external (teacher assigned) and internal (self-organized by student) motivational and actionable approaches to learning and mastering the academic work. You must understand the difference in the time you devote to homework, class projects, assigned daily readings, and self-organized study periods. We will help you (the first 2 weeks of your English class) in this school by teaching you how to study; you would be wise to pay attention to those instructions!”

• “You must adjust to and manage the different personalities and teaching styles of individual teachers. They (having 150-200 students/day) will not adjust to you!”

• “I have never known a high school friendship that was so strong, that an on-time graduating senior told their best friend (not graduating on time), ‘You know, we are such good friends that I am going to delay my participation in all of the graduating senior activities, including the prom, senior trip, and the graduation ceremony itself; and stick with you for a summer or January graduation date!’”

• “The audience in the classroom that you entertained with your sit-down comedy routine will not be there to applaud you when you are facing the consequences of your actions in the dean or principal’s office; and they definitely won’t be with you as they get internships, jobs, and pull in college acceptance letters and scholarships!”

• “If you know more than your teachers then you are in the wrong place and position. You should be applying to the school for a teaching position, not a student position!”

• “In this school, you will be asked to produce your personal best in every aspect of school life. It will, at times, feel uncomfortable, and perhaps even a little painful; but you can, and will, survive it. Others have done so before you, and you will also be successful.”

• “You may feel at some point during the next four years that you are falling in love. I can assure you that this terribly distracting ailment, like a head-cold, is temporary and will go away if treated with intense academic study and a focus on a successful graduation.”

Principals: It is always good to include highly academically successful student ambassadors/tour guides for high school orientations. In this way, I am trying to present students who could serve as models for what the high school represents (and those qualities we want to see represented in all students). You are also helping these student ambassadors to enhance their “senior portfolios” (similar to a resume or CV), but that’s another chapter (7) in the book. I am also informally setting up and encouraging a new set of friends and mentors for incoming students. A typical comment from parents attending my 9th-grade orientation or open-house events will be to praise those (high-performing–honor roll) Student Ambassadors who were amazingly poised, knowledgeable, and professional in their presentations. In addition, these students (without using written notes) provided a wealth of well-spoken touring-guiding school information to the attendees! These outstanding students could also explain school programs and activities outside of their primary area of academic concentration or participation; in other words, they could ‘break down’ a CTE concentration construction trades major even though they may have been part of the pre-engineering or pre-medicine program track (and vice versa). And so, I now discuss the successful collective profiles and powerful attributes of these wonderful School Ambassadors and other highly effective high school students. Keep in mind that I am presenting here a composite of characteristics of the best student practices of many (thousands of) students I have worked with over the years. We should also keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect student or human being. But I believe there is a way to at least make one’s life more positive, productive, emotionally satisfying, physically comfortable, and meaningful by practicing and perfecting those qualities that ultimately lead to a successful high school and post-high school life journey!

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Who are the most successful high school students, and what is it that they do to make themselves successful?

• (out of the student’s control but highly influential) It always increases the students’ chances for success if the parent and school are “tag-team” members. That teamwork is enhanced when the parent and school share and enforce the same learning and behavioral values and standards.

• (again, out of the student’s control) Having a parent or guardian who sees and understands public education as the only real and important path for the child to realize generational improvement. (These parents are not playing, especially with male students, the NBA/NFL life-lottery-game with their child’s future, rather the type of letters they are focused on are CTE, BA, MS, MBA, M.D., JD, DDS, P.E., RN, and PhD, etc.!)

• (out of the student’s control but a constant attribute) Parents are aware of the purpose, role, and meaning of informal (out of school) educational activities such as dance/music/art lessons, martial arts, tennis, chess, scouting, and visits to museums, cultural institutions and public learning activities. (Note to principal: With this category and with other “out-of-the-student’s-control” resources and advantage areas, you must step-up and step-into a more dynamic and comprehensive In loco parentis role).

• (out of student’s control) Even though the student is a teenager, the parent still exercises a great deal of effective supervision and advisory oversight over the critical successful transition into adult aspects of the child’s life.

• (out of student’s control) The student has the advantage of not being forced to make critical life-determining decisions without the wise experience of a parent or guardian who does not believe that the start of high school signals the end of their parenting responsibilities. These students are not unnecessarily thrust into the dangerous position of learning by their own mistakes. (Oddly, some parents of not-so-successful students have even verbalized that wish to me!) However, the parents of successful students help that success by providing them with lessons of their own life mistakes as well as the lessons of the mistakes made by other adults they have encountered during the course of their lifetime. These parents understand that good parenting is nature’s way of minimizing the number of harmful, and sometimes deadly, events that could prevent an offspring from reaching a successful adult life.

• (Not advocating for religion here, just stating an observation.) Highly successful students are likely to be regular attendees and actively involved with a faith-based institution.

• (For Black and Latino students) Did not attend a middle school where they were forced to hide or suppress their smartness. It helps to have a high standards, high expectations, and rigorous middle school academic program, particularly those students who have taken high school algebra or some other rigorous pre-algebra mathematics course in the eighth grade.

• “Emotionally-Situationally-Intelligent”: Able to pick up human-inter-action social cues, aware of unwritten rules, pick their battles, knows there is a time to play, a time to work, a time to laugh, and a time to be serious. These students tended to respect adult authority figures, even if they are lodging a protest, they always protest smartly, seeking not to seriously damage or sever the relationship with the staff person against whom they are lodging the complaint. Often it is in reference to a grade a teacher awarded that they thought should be higher. These students are well mannered, well spoken, polite and generally likable. As in all social, political, organizational interactions, likability is an advantage providing strength.

• Students who are either first or second-generation U.S. citizens; e.g., the children of emigrants. (again, just saying, don’t shoot the messenger!)

• The students who are more interested in pleasing their parents as opposed to pleasing their peers. They feel a sense-of-responsibility for the upholding of some family tradition or expectation for educational academic success; especially if they are potentially the first, or one of few in the family to attend college. They (and their families) see education in general and college in particular as a major life-changing-enhancing experience that is worth every possible sacrifice. These students are aware that there is no big (and in many cases any) family financial inheritance waiting for them when they reach adulthood.

• Hard work, academic success, and a positive attitude gives these students an advantage. Now, I don’t have quantifiable data to prove this. But based on my observations and conversations with teachers over the years, I believe that these students are able to gain (based on their past performance; and usually positive attitude) an advantage in the gray area grading phenomena. That is, when a grade of a student’s work product (as often happens) falls between a B+ and an A-, or an A- and an A, these students will always be given a higher grade (or if appropriate, the benefit of the doubt!) Perhaps, unconsciously or not, on the part of their teachers. I have always warned students of two realities outside of the control of the principal: (1) Teachers are human (they have feelings). (2) Teachers talk to each other.

• These students will automatically (consciously or unconsciously) seek to connect and create friendships with other high-performing students in their own (or a higher) grade cohort. Often, this is in some ways a result of being in constant contact in the same clubs, programs, activities, projects, honor roll society events, academic teams (e.g., debate, chess, robotics, etc.) or athletics (especially non-stereotypical e.g., gulf) teams. Also, the transition to high school will be used by some high achieving ninth grade students to make definitive (future defining) friendship and social association changes.

• Starting in the ninth grade (and definitely by the tenth grade), these students, with or without adult encouragement, will quietly, in almost a natural and unconscious way, seek out and begin to model themselves after the high-performing “legendary” high-performing sophomore, eleventh and twelfth graders. In another related and interesting phenomena, the sophomore, junior and senior high academic performers will somehow recognize this, and, seeing these high-performing 9th-graders as kindred spirits (younger versions of themselves), will begin to “adopt” these ninth and tenth graders. This is why it’s important for the principal to establish a School-Based Honor Society, complete with identifiable clothing, induction and recognition ceremonies, fun activities, trips and rewards, so that high-performing students can meet and establish friendships, mentorships, and a mutual support society. Further, you should ignore and reject any criticisms that you will receive if you work in a majority Black and Latino school saying that: “all you care about are the smart kids.” The effective principal seeks to serve and protect all of the different performance cohorts of students in the school. High academic performers deserve as much of your attention as any other group of students in the school; students should not be ignored or penalized because they do well academically. Plus, that positive attention you give to high-performing students will actually serve to empower and strengthen the resolve of underperforming students, and at the same time, also grow the ranks of the high-performers!

• Sometimes these high-performing students will reveal themselves early. They did not come to high school to play! You can even see it in their eyes during the Summer Bridge Program , the high school fair, orientation, a school tour/open house, or even when you make a presentation at their middle school. That look that says, “I am serious about my education, I’m ready!” And important in Title I schools, those focused students of color, who by some means have built up a natural immunity to negative peer pressure about appearing, acting and being smart, they are indeed ready to soar!

• High-performing students are equal opportunity course attackers. This means that even though their career objective might be in a particular area, they will proceed to systematically and aggressively try to earn an “A” in all of their classes, regardless of the academic course/department. They want and “A” in Physical Education and an “A” in Physics! The best ones have the ability to make every teacher feel that the class they are teaching is the most important class in the school. These students are constantly checking their GPA’s and the status of their class ranking. They are also fully aware of their fellow high-performing and pursuing a high GPA classmate competitors.

• They possess the ability to understand that the course syllabus is finite. And, yet, they know that their infinite minds, combined with their discipline and mastery of their own time and study-skills efforts, can successfully overtake and conquer any course in the school because it has already been done many times before. They will seek and receive “inside-info-intelligence” from their high-achieving uperclassperson “kin” on a particular teacher and course and use that knowledge to their advantage (note to teachers: which is why you must annually change up those exams!). As mentioned earlier in the book, I always made sure to have multiple copies of textbooks on the same subjects, but from different publishers in the library for study purposes (reading the same concept, especially with science and mathematics, in a different textbook can be of tremendous comprehension help to students). These are the students who will take advantage of that study technique, and will for example, read three different chemistry textbook chapters on a single topic until they understand and absolutely nail that concept! (Note to principals: I acquired these extra subject area textbooks by simply reaching out to the publishing company’s sales division.)

• Students who read independently (not school assigned) for fun and enjoyment.

• They are prepared to take full advantage of the most unexpected arriving opportunity. A special trip, a networking-empowerment event, greeting guests to the school, a print, radio or television interview, scholarship opportunities, internship and jobs. These are the students who have followed instructions and have their resumes updated and ready; they can prepare a speech immediately with the help of an ELA teacher who they have enrolled as an academic enhancement ally by virtue of that student’s hard work in their class; and they are fully prepared (the next day) to “dress for success” (having been taught by the staff) for any type of advantageous setting.

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Note to high school principals: The school must prepare students not only for the linguistic and attitudinal code switching demands of society, but also the behavioral and presentation code switching requirements. Soft-Skills like: What “being-on-time” in different situations means, “networking” or the “30-60 second elevator pitch”, are not naturally acquired by any teenager regardless of socio-economic status. What also must be taught is a working knowledge of situationally appropriate attire; what is “formal wear”, “interview attire”, business professional, business casual, professional, etc. All of this under the standard of “Dress for Success”; which you may want to dedicate one day a week to this effort (and buy the dresses, skirts, suits, ties, shoes, blouses, shirts, etc., for students who can’t afford them, and distribute them confidentially). A  lot of clothiers and department stores, fraternal-sorority originations and corporations, will be more than happy to help you with acquiring these items for your students. Invite prominent professional men of color for a “How to tie a tie breakfast” (Professionals are more likely to help you with this and similar efforts if you don’t take up their whole day!) This event may sound simple, but for many male students this wonderful experience maybe the first and few positive experiences they have had like this with a male figure. Don’t have the quantifiable data or explanatory line/bar chart, but I can assert with the utmost “memory-confidence” a guarantee that on “Dress for Success” days, your student to student, student to staff conflicts, disciplinary issues will drop dramatically!

• Strongly self-reflective and meaningfully metacognitive: These students continually think about their own thoughts, behaviors, the effectiveness of the strategies and techniques they utilize, and how to rid themselves of unproductive and unrewarding practices. The ability to both see and change an approach that is not yielding the results they desire.

• These students have a four-year plan of action! They will seek to avoid any and all engagements, involvements, entanglements, conflicts and actions that would threaten the success of their four-year plan. They have the amazing ability to appropriately and properly contextualize and departmentalize fun and enjoyment and serious hard work. They have high ‘deferring gratification’ skills.

• They are fiercely, though not necessarily viciously, competitive.

• The top students always appear to have great time management and organizational skills. They have the ability to prioritize assignments and projects weekly, monthly, and across an entire semester or year, including avoiding that common ninth grade curse of disorganization. They start and finish high school in the same effective way. Again, they have their eyes on that GPA race from the start of ninth grade!

• They have figured the principal out! They understand well the role and power of the principal, and they utilize that understanding to their advantage. Just as they have successfully done with teachers in all of their classes, they have also analyzed and processed the standards and expectations of the principal. They will come and speak to the principal if they feel that they are not being adequately prepared to be their best academically competitive selves. For a high school principal, this is one of the most difficult conversations to navigate, as you try to balance professional responsibility and professional ethics. The students will never come to you prematurely, which means they are almost always correct. In order to maintain your moral authority and credibility, and to not embarrass the teacher. You must take some kind of quiet, confidential and professional affirmative problem-solving action. The good news is that these are the types of students who won’t show their teachers up because of the actions you have taken to correct the situation.

• High-performing students seem (with some exceptions) to avoid intense high school romantic relationships that can distract them from their academic work.

• The self-awareness to maximize their gifts and talents, and at the same time, successfully minimize and manage their weaknesses. Some of them will struggle with “people” and “patience” skills; this is where you might want to help them principal by teaching an “ Effective Leadership ” class or through some leadership skills development seminars.

• They know how to effectively utilize the text book, review book, and class notes for studying purposes. However, (a common school mistake) they are not always the best peer-tutors because they may have some highly-personalized “quirky” way that they study and attack their coursework.

• These students will be the first to sign up for the six-week Saturday, three-hour AP, ACT or SAT review study class (e.g., Kaplan or Princeton Review). They will also make sure to attend every session and invest all of their energy into the course assignments. Principals, you must raise the necessary funding to make these and other commercial test review classes available to all students!

• For the academically successful student, school is a fun-filled, fulfilling, reaffirming, and enjoyable place. For some of these Black and Latino students, the school also serves as a safe and peaceful academic achievement sanctuary. Title-1 high school principals, ignore the outside well-meaning but often wrong liberal noise you’ll hear for protecting these students. You must make your school a: No psychological bullying of academic high achievers safety zone!

• They are “soft-skills” masters: There is a certain maturity about them that allows them to rise above the typical teenage fray and drama. They see high school as just another area of challenge for which they must conquer and move on to the next level of challenge. And, so, there is a certain emotional efficiency skill to the way they deal with institutions, people, and situations.

• The high-powered students are critically aware that their competition is not just the students in their school or the classmates sitting at the desk next to them. Rather, their competition exists in other schools in the city, state, nation, and the world.

• (Important for educators) A general dislike of ‘group work,’ they see group work where they don’t choose the members, or team/group class projects as unsatisfying, frustrating, and non-productive; as these formations tend to slow them down and undermine their style and approach to work; and, perhaps most importantly, often compromises their quest for excellence and high grades (that GPA factor is always on their mind), if the other members of the group don’t match their work effort and commitment.

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Note to principals: They will come to you to complain (having failed to convince the teacher) about a group/team project that they feel threatens their GPA, or that members of the group or team aren’t “serious” about getting the highest grade possible. Use this as a teachable moment for the student to learn empathy, compassion and social responsibility; but also reassure them that you will address the issue–and then do so! Meet with the departmental chairpersons and teachers privately to come up with a school-wide-grading plan and policy that won’t let the GPA’s of these students suffer if they engage in group or team work/projects. They will not be entering into a post-high school solo-work-world and therefore there is humility and some important “making others around you better” skills that they need to learn.

• They don’t feel the need to necessarily like the classroom assignment, they only feel that they need to get the highest grade allowable for that assignment; but they definitely want to be graded fairly! Teachers: For all students, be very certain as to why you gave a particular grade (have documented standards-based evidence). Also, a clear set of grading rubrics are always essential. These students in particular are going to involve the principal into their “grade appeal” process if not satisfied with your explanation-decision, when your principal would really rather be doing something else! And for goodness sake don’t follow that very common but silly public education unofficial rule of not giving a student an “A” for the first semester of work (allegedly as a ‘motivator’); you must give the student the grade they earned or you are degrading your grading system and giving your principal extra problem solving work headaches!

• The highest performing students spend quality time doing homework and even more time studying; they clearly understand the difference between homework and studying. Too many 9th-graders are confused about these two very different (yet linked) exercises; also true is the bad idea they picked up somewhere that suggest one should only study for an upcoming test.

• For Black and Latino high-achieving students, being in the right school (where high academic achievement is honored, recognized, and praised) will give them the confirmation and self-authority permission and protection to act and be smart. Not being forced to hide their smartness allows these students to produce academically at an amazingly higher level then they themselves expected, or what was indicated by their K-8 academic performance in classrooms and on standardized test scores. For principals: No matter how high an entering student’s ‘documented’ academic performance level, you must seek to push-them-up to the next (and then the next) performance level; often they may not be aware of their own possibilities, especially if they were not pushed to their ‘natural capability levels’ (or had no serious previous competition) in their K-8 school experience.

• If there is extra credit or bonus points to be earned for an assignment, project, or on an exam, they will take advantage of it. Given the option of taking a hard or easy assignment or project, they will opt for the most challenging, knowing (or not knowing) that they are positively influencing the teacher’s attitude toward them! (Again, teachers are human, too!)

• These students are first in line (having the academics and behavioral qualifications) for: paid and unpaid internships, service projects, special in- and out-of-school projects, programs, activities, and educational trips. All of these are opportunities for informal education, knowledge capacity building, and experience to enhance the student’s resume and biographies for scholarships and college admissions.

• High-performing students don’t waste their time on violating even the smallest school rules, such as the dress code. They seem to have little interest in the average act of teenage rebellion to adult rules. They weigh all of their actions against their primary principle and goal of high academic achievement. These students will, however, often voice their concerns about a particular rule to the principal, even as they follow that rule.

• Their style of notetaking and notebooks (well organized by subjects and topics) are themselves, essentially course study guides!

• These students are totally not invested (or interested) in the personalities or stylistic traits of individual teachers or administrators; they are absolutely focused on their own personal educational mission. They will not confront or publicly challenge a teacher, but will not hesitate to come to the principal privately if they feel they have not been treated fairly or in the “adult definition” of a respectful way. They will avoid if at all possible involving themselves in any situation that will hurt their final grade.

• The students seem to get from day one that they are on the last leg of their K-12 public school experience. These students see every class, grade on a report card, any and all exam scores, term-semester success, and the significance of each of the four high school years as extremely important to their future life objectives.

• These students have their own personal high standards and expectations. These personal high standards and expectations are displayed in their work product in every class, regardless of the level of the standards and expectations of a particular teacher. For example, once they master the correct research paper and essay style/format they learned in their English class, they will utilize that correct style and format in every other subject area where a written response to an assignment or exam is required. In other words, they will write as if every teacher reading their work-responses is their English teacher.

• These students have considerable control of their school image, which is important when over a four-year period something can easily go wrong. I keep reminding students that the teacher you annoy today, is that same teacher you will need to write a letter of recommendation (LOR) for some important thing you want; and that writing a LOR is not a mandatory part of their job description! A good image in a school is like a gift that never stops giving a reward. Once at Phelps, a high-performing honor roll student was mistakenly (due to a teacher’s error) referred to the in-school suspension room (ISS). The Dean, sensing that something was very wrong, had security track down the principal. I spoke to the teacher and the situation was immediately corrected and she was removed from the room with an apology from the teacher. It is important to note that even though she knew she was innocent, she still reported to ISS quietly. This is pretty astounding since some of the guiltiest referrals to ISS dramatically claim that the teacher is wrong or has it out for them. What was also so amazing is that even the legitimate residents in the ISS asked her, “What are you doing here?” Or, as one student remarked, “This must be the end of the world if she is in ISS!”

• There is no shame in their game when it comes to earning high grades. When these students have a research project or presentation, they will have no problem asking any and every adult in the building including custodians, cafeteria supervisor, nurse, APs, art or technology teacher, and yes even the principal for help. On more occasions then I can remember, I had to dip into my own pocket when these students approached me for something they needed for a school assignment or project; how could I say no!

• Despite the amount of time these students must have spent studying in order to maintain their honor roll status, I often found it interesting that they were also very “school activities” busy. They were multitaskers in many different (three to six) extracurricular activities such as the track team, dance company, band, debate team, volleyball team, art club, etc.; along with this extracurricular involvement, these students also often served in student government as ambassadors and presenters for special tours, events held at the school as well as serving as representatives and spokespersons for the school at community, city, state, and national events. It is important to note that the regular academic course load for these students was often made heavier, starting in their junior year as they began to take multiple advance and AP courses.

• Near or perfect punctuality and attendance records. Not ever late to class and don’t go to the bathroom during class, less they miss something being taught.

• For Girls: They are the chief recognizers and protectors of the respect that is properly due to them by virtue of their existence. A high sense of self-worth and self-esteem are the greatest attributes, motivators, and guarantees of a young lady’s success in graduating from high school, regardless of the level of academic achievement potential. These ladies (in the best meaning of the word) don’t allow themselves to be physically or emotionally devalued, and see their personhood as worthy and entitled to proper attention that is appropriately due to a woman who is seen by males as meeting the standard of an honored friend or potential wife and mother of the young man’s children. These ladies of distinction are not practice crash dummies; their very presence demands, and is associated with, the highest expressions of honor. These young ladies are also singularly focused on developing and enhancing what they believe to be the most attractive part of their anatomy, their brains.

• For Boys: These gentlemen (in the best meaning of the word), seem to have a powerfully high definition of manhood. This affirmation of what it means to be a man is tied to their powerful sense of self-worth which is connected to a commitment to be high academic achievers. But this emotionally intelligent position also allows them to recognize and respect the self-worth in others. They are not driven by the lowest and most primitive definitions of maleness which is characterized by the objectification and exploitation of their fellow female students. Further, those Black and Latino male students who dare to be and act smart openly are already comfortable practitioners of how they should behave with women in our society. And (I’m sure I’ll be put in ‘cancel-land’ jail for this one!) also, these ‘dare-to-be-smart,’ academically high-achieving Black and Latino males are in my view, the most emotionally empowered, independent thinking, self-actualizing, and powerfully mature acting students in any American Title-1 high school.

• These students in the top 25 of their cohort are clearly aware of the college scholarship acquiring value that is attached to their GPA ranking. With all of the news media and the public’s attention being focused on the problem of student college tuition debt, they are conscious of placing themselves in the most advantageous and best scholarship acquisition position. Especially, since many of them are anticipating a costly graduate or professional school education beyond 4-year college. And, in a Title I high school, parental money for college is far from a given!

• They are departmental-guidance-college career office bulletin board watchers! They are constantly searching for opportunities such as internships, scholarships, college tours, speakers visiting the school, etc.

• They make sure that critical assignment deadlines are “trip-wired” (an early warning system) in their planner/calendar. For example, if a research paper is due on a particular day, they will put two dates in their planner; the date they wish to start the project and the date it is actually due to be turned into the teacher. This approach increases the possibility that they will receive a high grade on long-term projects and assignments since they are not trying to complete these tasks “two days before it is due!”

• They establish good connections early on with the school guidance/career office staff (guidance counselors are eager to work and advise high academically-performing 9th-grade students who seek them out). These students have a great appreciation and respect for the guidance/career office staff persons, but they realize that they are ultimately responsible for reviewing their own transcripts and making sure they are in the right classes, and on track to graduate. I always tell students—no disrespect to the guidance counselors—but in a high school where there is a large number of students, with a huge part of the administrative work being done by computer systems, there is always the possibility of errors. Every student must take ownership of their transcript review process to make sure that they are in the right classes and on the right path to that graduation outcome they are seeking.

• They are generally good test-takers (or work hard at making themselves good test-takers), along with the ability to discern the individual teacher’s standards and requirements; they then come up with a strategy to effectively meet those standards and requirements. Principal: It helps them and all students if the school and its principal resist the modern and popular (and hypocritically and selectively applied by many in our nation) anti-standards trend; prepare students to embrace and conquer standardized exams!

• The students who are able to effectively realize their interest in a STEM major/career, will start the process in the ninth grade. Planning for a STEM future means planting prerequisite seeds early and throughout the high school experience; they will ask: “ What are the college STEM programs I am applying to looking for in the profiles and transcripts of prospective students? ”

report writing to school principal

A F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team: A wonderful STEM program for high schools—

report writing to school principal

Note to principals: It is always easier to opt out of a STEM career goal than it is to opt-in as a high school junior or senior (difficulty in enrolling in the necessary courses). This is why I advocate that every high school student should take four years of mathematics and four years of a laboratory science. In this way, the student can still pursue a STEM major in college regardless of their high school courses profile. In any event, having a strong STEM course profile on your transcript won’t hurt a student, regardless of their intended college major. Those students planning to pursue a Pre-law, English Literature, or an Ethno-musicology major in college are helped, not harmed, by having taken and passed an advance math course and physics. Meeting the goal of graduating from high school is best facilitated when the student designs and follows a four-year pacing successes chart ( the GCPC–chap. 7 RTTPO); a student is always aware (or made aware) of where they stand academically at the end of every semester they are in school. I also think of this plan as an antidote and guide through the hectic last year of high school. This is a time when a great deal of things are going on in the school and personal lives of seniors; like all of the “senior activities” and preparing for that next major step into the adult world. There are many tasks that need the student’s attention and time. And, of course, these students still have a full year of full-time classes, some of which might be advance or AP courses. To successfully navigate the end of their K-12 experience and positively start off in a good place for their new post-high school life, they will need a good (GCPC) plan!

report writing to school principal

In conclusion principal:

The critical art and science of the principalship are measured by what you can do with many different students (diversely and differently challenged), who will show up to your school building exhibiting a broad spectrum of academic performance readiness, potential and aspirational dreams. It’s the ultimate school leadership ability (and what I looked for as a superintendent) to craft and cause:  All Academic Performance Cohort Boats to Rise! 

For sure, there are many success-impacting factors (variables) in a new ninth grader’s life that you can’t control, such as poverty, homelessness, and the presence or absence of parent  push-pull  power (indeed, some parents, and not others, are going to read this blog and utilize it effectively). However, you (reading this chapter excerpt as a professional educator) can maximize your efficacious leadership capabilities by expanding your strategic planning supervision by implementing school-wide practices that will help students to fully develop their capacities to be successful first-year high school students. Be a positive active interventionist by effectively executing all 30 chapters of RTTPO (creating a “good and highly-effective school”); this will, of course, improve the successful graduation potential for all (9-12) students at all grade levels; however, setting some school ‘sub-mission’ goals like getting all 9th-graders to be well-organized, to pass all of their classes and understanding how to navigate the Carnegie grading and high school promotional/graduation system, is critical to reaching your school’s overarching major-mission goal of having all students to realize a high-quality graduation status and diploma in four years. You hurt your own personal, the staff’s energy and talent, and the school’s potential to be great with efforts that don’t pay tremendous singular attention to that freshman class. Their academic success or failures will significantly impact your school’s quality profile; but most important, how this cohort performs individually and as a group will greatly impact their future life-possibilities. In the final calculation, helping 9th-graders realize, reach and achieve their best academic and personal-empowerment-skills potential is one of the most professionally worthwhile and ethically correct thing a principal can do!

report writing to school principal

Report To The Principal’s Office : Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership.

  • The main category of the book: Effective High School Building Leadership.
  • Other subject categories: Preparation for the School Principal’s Certification Exam and the School Building Appointment Interview; School Supervision and Administrative Leadership; The Criteria for Selecting and Evaluating a School Principal, Job Requirements, and the Job Analysis of the Principalship; The Structure, Functional Components, and Organizational Elements of a High School; Effectively Managing Administrative and Instructional Practices That Raise Student Academic Achievement; Effective Organizational and Institutional Leadership.

Report To The Principal’s Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership. Available at:


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About the Author:

Michael A. Johnson is a native New Yorker and a proud product of NYC’s public school system. This was also the city where he spent the majority of his personal and professional life. He has served as a public school teacher, Science Skills Center director, principal, and several years as a school district superintendent. Over  an 11-year period, he led in the designing, building, and serving as the principal for two state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics-Career Technical Education (STEM-CTE), Title 1 urban high schools. He also served as an  adjunct professor of Science Education in the School of Education at St. John’s University.

The problem with uninformed and politically motivated public officials tinkering with public school mathematics textbooks.

Obviously, the governor of Florida (Ron DeSantis-R) does not have enough on his state leadership-management plate to occupy his time, so he has taken on the ill-suited role of state-wide “mathematics textbook evaluator”! 

The problem with his uninformed, not-pedagogically driven, cynical, and politically motivated actions are that the result will be to dumb down and make less effective  Mathematics Education  ( ME ) in the entire state, with a special harmful negative effect on those students who are not strong readers. 

Hitherto, the reason  ME  has escaped the fake and contrived “culture wars” (the way the “ we’ll hold your coats while you’ll fight ” news media lazily defines it) battle is because, unlike  History  and  English Language Arts  ( ELA ), the  ME  curriculum is highly characterized and driven by numerical, logical, quantifiable and immediately verifiable learning objectives; the only major “political” challenge that  ME  poses for those historical facts and language integrity deniers is them trying to “square” the word  Algebra  with the negative historical portrayal of the Arab and Muslim world. 

But there is an essential  ELA  component that is always connected to  ME . And Mr. DeSantis did not need a psychometrician to explain that connection to him; any 3rd or 4th-grade teacher of mathematics working in Florida (had he asked) would suffice. And it is this  ELA  and  ME  connection and interaction that represent the major problem caused by his not-well-thought-out “textbook review” initiatives.

The end result of Mr. DeSantis et al. politicizing the teaching and learning of  ME  is that his efforts will weaken one of the most crucial efficacy components of  ME  textbooks —And that is, the teacher + textbook capabilities to help students to master the  ELA  aspects of  ME  classroom learning, and those same students being able to perform proficiently on external standardized assessments. 

For example, it’s the  ELA  components of  ME  that often “trip-up” those students who are  Weak Reading Comprehenders  ( WRCs ). It is these  WRCs  who struggle or fail with three fundamental linguistically-linked questions that must be read and interpreted correctly if a student is to successfully negotiate a mathematical word problem; they are:

(1) “ What am I being asked to do? ” (What is the correct process/answer this assessment is seeking?)

(2) “ What are the correct operations or algorithms required to solve this problem; and in what correct order do I apply them to solve this particular  problem or question? ” (What kind, type or category of a “word problem” is this?)

(3) “ Which ‘words’ or ‘phrases’ (and in what order) have been inserted into the question to distract me from the correct answer? ” (Trying to assess if I really know the answer to the question, or am I just guessing.)

Helping students to connect culturally, practically, and linguistically to abstract mathematical concepts is an essential teaching tool utilized by all good mathematics teachers (see the film  Stand and Deliver ). But, this cultural-linguistic approach to teaching math is also necessary when developing students into being proficient and mastery level “standardized-test-takers” (a skill Mr. DeSantis used to get into Yale and Harvard).

An additional terrible by-product of Mr. DeSantis’s flawed drive-by textbook analysis program is that as students are conceptually and operationally weakened in elementary school mathematics learning, this ‘weakness’ will translate into greater numbers of those students not being adequately prepared to take on and master that tremendous STEM 1 -gatekeeper —Algebra! This will then result in many of these students not being able to later pursue a STEM college major and/or career after leaving high school.

There is a reason that we warn children not to play with any fire-related instrument or appliance; essentially, the issue is that they are not cognizant of the possibly dangerous or tragic outcomes related to their actions. Likewise, politicians should run for any office that interests them without ‘playing with’ the essential instruments (like textbooks) of public education. 

The critical components of public education should never be a careless  throw-away strategy  or a  playing-politics-pawn  in that politician’s political office keeping or higher office seeking plan; the result could be that many children can be permanently damaged educationally. And that’s because those aspiring politicians may not be cognizant of the destructive adverse pedagogical outcomes of their actions.  We must let professional educators review and acquire the textbooks they determine that best support their professional work!  Governors should manage states and leave entities like public education and Disneyland to those experts who have studied, trained, and practiced how to properly manage and have responsibility for the direct daily running of those institutions; and if you don’t know —Ask a professional somebody!

1. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Your report from the principal’s office has arrived!

report writing to school principal

Report From The Principal’s Office: A 200-Day Inspirational and Aspirational School Leadership Journal:

Report From The Principal’s Office: A 200-Day Inspirational and Aspirational School Leadership Journal

report writing to school principal

The RFTPO Book: The second work in a unique series of school leadership books by a former teacher, science center director, principal, and superintendent; these books seek to explore, explain and propose solutions to the present challenges of identifying and creating great schools and (most likely led by) great school leaders. RFTPO combines the creative task of daily journaling with critical daily commentaries reflecting on the art, craft, talents, and skills required to be a successful PreK-12 educator, specifically, achieving success as a highly-effective school-building administrator.

report writing to school principal

Readership: Although specifically designed for current serving principals or assistant principals and professional educators who are aspiring or studying, or are presently serving in the capacity of a school-building and/or district level administrators, superintendents, district-level directors, coordinators, and supervisors, the language is structured to allow broader access to a diverse non-school based leadership public education stakeholder audience (e.g., parents, college professors, journalists, senior public education policymakers, elected officials, and tax-paying citizens) to find this Book accessible and “eye-opening” helpful in understanding the often “forgotten,” “unclear” or “hidden-from-public-view” inner workings of public Pre-K-12 schools. And the unique challenges the leaders of those schools are forced to correctly problem-pose and successfully problem-solve daily.

report writing to school principal

Why the focus on the principalship?

This Report From The Principal’s Office (RFTPO) book, in many ways, presents a concise daily compilation and an extended explanation of my professional interpretation of why some school-based administrators are incredibly successful (Day-103: “The highly effective principal’s toolbox will always contain these seven critical leadership skills tools”). And why, unfortunately, others are tragically unsuccessful. While still, others are committed to pursuing a mediocre/status-quo path, which is another way of being unsuccessful! (Day-152: “The not-so-good, the good, the great, and the highly effective school-building leader”).

report writing to school principal

First, because the emotional and educational well-being of students, staff members, parents, whole communities, and our nation is at stake, but also… Unfortunately (Day-47: “It’s not a matter of if it will happen; it’s only a matter of when will it be your turn!”) every year in the US, thousands of principals and assistant principals are either verbally or in writing (both are long-term career-damaging) disciplined or sadly in some cases removed for lack of knowing the “unspecified job requirements” expected of a school building administrator. (Day-54: “What you don’t know will hurt you: The hard truth about the “soft-skills” knowledge required for the principalship.”)

Leadership standards matter, and leadership quality matters the most at the operational core of a school’s success (or failure)!

Let’s face it, we are a ‘standards-based’ profession, so why would standards only apply to students and parents, but not professional educators, and specifically for the purposes of my work —School-based and district office educational leaders! So I start the RFTPO book off with two consecutive days of resolute affirmations:

“Day-1:The Principal is the single most influential difference-maker in a school’s success or failure.”

And then on,

“Day-2: The Principalship is a singularly unique position in PreK-12 education.” These two opening chapters are in no way an attempt to minimize or dismiss the critical work of the other skilled essential personnel (custodians, cafeteria staff, teachers, paraprofessionals, etc.) required to operate a school; for even the best practicing principal could not function in a highly-proficient capacity if they had to (an impossibility) teach every class, prepare every lunch, as they kept the building clean and well-maintained; instead, my focus (and my intellectual interest), is based to a large extent on my experiential principalship praxis work; but, I am further inquiry-incentivized by my work-experience questions that were ‘planted’ and grew out of my time as a supervisor of principals, a superintendent. (Day-55: “Are highly effective principals born, or can good leadership skills and talents be taught and developed?”)

report writing to school principal

The Book is available on Amazon:

Paperback edition with notetaking daily journaling pages included:

eBook edition: (Note: The eBook will not contain the journaling pages)

I was glad to hear: “We’re returning to a Phonics-Based Teaching of Reading Instructional Approach.”

Breaking News: “Majority of freshmen tested at Baltimore City High School read at elementary level”*

Unfortunately, having entering 9th graders who are reading on an elementary school level is not “new (although it’s heartbreaking) news” to Title-1 high school principals. As happy as I am that some (kudus to them) news outlet has decided to bring this chronic and debilitating problem to the surface; it is essentially a public education “open-secret,” and further, it’s just a tiny fraction of the entire tragic story for too many of our public school children and their parents.

And, with some luck, who knows, this story could possibly inspire similar brave and revealing journalistic efforts on behalf of the “served the least” and “left out the most” children of our public school systems. Then, perhaps, a future news story exposé will proclaim something like: “ Majority of freshmen tested at Benedict Arnold High School found to not have mastered the elementary school math (arithmetic) skills that will allow them to successfully engage 9th-grade algebra! ” 

But beyond educational journalists finally being able to zero in and focus on the real academic challenges that cause so many of our public schools to fail to effectively educate their students. Sadly, what presently reigns is the: “ We keep doing what doesn’t work cynical-cyclical-calcified approach ” that is used so often by public school systems in our nation. This academic achievement “wall” can only be overcome by the actions of some brave educational saboteurs ; that is the only way that the children that are harmed the most by public education’s lack of adaptive ingenuity have any chance of winning at learning.

I was happy to hear that the next NYC chancellor David Banks was looking to make phonics-based reading methodology a system-wide initiative. Having been a high school principal, he is fully aware of how serious reading deficiencies serve as a terrible obstacle to success in all academic subject areas. In the same way that algebra 1 mastery is that “great-gate-keeper” for having the ability to pursue a post-high school STEM college major or career. Those freshmen students who have not realized (being somewhere in the “zip code” of) on-grade-level mastery of elementary English Language Arts (ELA), e.g., reading (or mathematics skills), are facing a situation of not only possibly being unable to be fully successful in high school but also finding that their after graduation options are severely limited.

With all of the other challenges confronting our public schools (e.g., covid-19), changing lanes out of ineffectual instructional practices won’t be easy, even when it is something that must be done. For example, transitioning teachers (and principals) out of the “whole-language” approach to the teaching of reading is going to require a major professional development “lift.” Trust me, as a superintendent, I found it was extremely hard for a Community School District to make major pedagogical shifts, so for a school system of 1.1 million students, it will be a significantly tricky project to pull off. Still, it can (and must) be done.

(For the record: There are some specific situational/instructional conditions (e.g., standardized test-taking techniques) where “whole-language”(WL) methodologies are highly beneficial. In fact, when I teach these techniques to school administrators, I don’t use the phrase “whole-language” so that folks can focus on the pedagogy and not get “hung-up” on the phraseology… Further, I’m going to leave the “beneficial WL” conversation here because I don’t want to confuse my non-professional pedagogical readers, and I don’t want to write 2-3 more pages! My superintendent/principal/AP/teacher colleagues and mentees; we can talk about this off-line.)

The switching of organizational pedagogical thinking process will also face the powerful “headwinds” of the many different and multiple  “consultant lobbyists” who have undoubtedly already put their marketing powers to work. It is not unusual for many of these ineffective “school improvement” consultant forces to offer conflicting and contradictory advice (for a high price**)  as they give teachers and school administrators psychological whiplash when priorities and initiatives are changed from year to year. But sometimes and for some things, there must be a change because we know that in the past, regardless of the name of the “new approach,” the status quo’s over-arching philosophy remains the same, even if it is not working for the vast majority of our children. In any event, any significant educational change will take a reasonable amount of time. But for that academically struggling student (in math or reading), time is either a friend or an enemy, depending on the school’s teaching and learning effectiveness-adaptiveness culture. This means that high school principals can’t wait for the (phonics approach) change to “take full effect”; you should (I hope) already have a plan to teach students high school level work who can’t read at a high school level; while you also bring them up to middle and then high school reading levels, you must do both, teach high school level work & raise reading capabilities,  simultaneously! I know (I’ve heard it as a superintendent) that some high school principals will say that this approach is a “ making bricks without straw ” situation; it’s not easy, but it can be done. We must help students to successfully navigate high school course-work and also pass external (e.g., Regents exams) standardized tests; even if they can’t fully utilize the course textbook and/or they only read on an elementary school level; it’s has been done before: Assessing Accelerated Science for African-American and Hispanic Students in Elementary and Junior High School; Johnson, Michael A.; Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Science Assessment in the Service of Reform; 1991 . In our case study, many of the students who were the “real faces” and focus of my article, and who indeed passed the NYS science and mathematics high school Regents exams, were actually elementary school students!

High School principals with students who bring major academic deficiencies into their freshmen year need not  get “quick sanded” into a remediation-only approach. Students will naturally (and correctly in my view) resist this attack on their self-esteem; they know fourth grade work and they know they are not in the fourth grade! The only way to keep students emotionally engaged and inspired, and to insure that they achieve a quantitative (time/credits) and qualitative (knowledge/skills) high school graduation status, is to close their reading-comprehension, information-concepts, algorithmic-knowledge, vocabulary-phraseology, and test-taking-skills gaps; while at the same time, and this might sound counterintuitive, engage them in on 9 th grade level and acceleration teaching-learning methodologies that can either neutralize or bypass the deleterious effects of  their reading deficiencies. This might require the unconventional approach of the teaching of a science course without or employing the selective use of a textbook; while at the same time the school’s ELA department races to raise the students reading comprehension levels. Any other approach for 9 th graders with major academic deficiencies, will ultimately lead to principalship and (even worse) the students’ failure.


**“$773 Million Later, de Blasio Ends Signature Initiative to Improve Failing Schools”:

I hope my words can save the job of some good and sincere principal…

“A principal resigns after an investigation into the allegation that she slapped a student who cursed at her… the district will be notifying the state, a step that must be taken in cases in which there is a possibility an educator’s license could be in jeopardy…”

For some, their difficult and painful moments can often become teachable moments for them and others. But I always said to my students that they need not learn every life-lesson through direct personal experience; in fact, as a school administrator, there are many leadership lessons that you want to learn from an observation-only distance. Still, the key to maximizing the power of any lesson and minimizing the possibility of experiencing personal pain due to a “bad situational outcome” is to learn the lesson without becoming the lesson!

As an educator committed to standards and having been charged with supervising principals, I believe in the supervision and administration licensing and certification process. Much practical, necessary, and important operational and managerial information, knowledge, and wisdom are learned from graduate programs structured to prepare educators for licensing and certification as school-building administrators. But like most professional leadership journeys, your career-education learning process will continue up to and after your retirement.

My own awareness and understanding of the principalship deepened and expanded after becoming a superintendent, for it was only then that I was able to step back (from my “siloed” school-building experience) and engage a large number of schools with different “organizational cultural personalities,” led by a dramatically diverse group of principal personalities. As a result, a great deal of the superintendent’s coaching-leadership work challenge is informing principals of the unstipulated “soft-truths” of school leadership work that, when ignored or absent, can lead to some very not-so-good outcomes. This is the reason why when supervising multiple principals with very different “leadership and personality styles,” it will at times feel like one is leading a group of “mini-superintendents” with their own set of “district regulations” (It’s the payback you earned for all of the ‘grey hairs’ you either added or removed from your superintendent’s head when you were a principal!)

One of those critical “truths” I learned about the principalship is that many “professional behavioral” requirements are not stated in the “official” job description or employment contract. The so many “basic” things that I thought, before becoming a superintendent, that every principal knew, I found out that some didn’t know (and some, frighteningly, didn’t know that they didn’t know). Some of those “unwritten (but very much expected) responsibilities” are: identifying a “crisis” in its early developmental stages, staying above the day-to-day schoolhouse “mundane-mess” fray, avoiding having a “pettiness” or “payback” personality, the art of smartly and strategically “picking your battles,” and, critical, have that calming, assuring and “lighthouse-like” attitude during any school environmental storm. (alas, everybody is watching your reaction to/in a crisis for clues as to how they should act).

The principal must be a model and the model of “appropriate responses” whenever any inappropriate situations or negative behaviors express themselves. This “tension-reducing-nullifying” approach is particularly true in those many school-based human-to-human confrontational moments when the team/cooperative school mission seeking effort is in danger. Like a professional fireperson, you must always bring water and not gasoline to any fiery person-to-person situation, especially when you are one of the individuals “in the fire!” On several occasions as a principal, I was forced to have a “ you’ve got to be the ‘bigger-person,’ the professional, and let this thing go ” conversation with a teacher when they were demonstrably holding on too long to some negative feelings concerning them receiving a real or imagined slight from a student, colleague or a parent. Which meant (and I won’t lie, it was hard at times) I had to walk the “let-it-go” and “lets-move-on” talk I gave to others.

“ How do you see this situation ending? ” I would further ask a student, parent, or staff person, knowing the answer to my question was to be found in three subsequent values clarifying questions: “ Will this end that you are ‘designing’ make our school a better or worse institution? ”— “ Will this situation end with lesser or greater student academic achievement? ”— “ Will the end you envision decidedly place you closer or further away from your personal dreams and aspiration? ” And then, I listen to their answers.

The “ How do you see this conflict ending ” question (and the three follow-up questions) was something at times I also had to ask myself as a principal. The answers faithfully (and fortunately) never led me to a place of slapping anyone (even in those times when I was angrily called some names, none of which existed on my birth certificate).

Perhaps there should be a series of “gate-keeper” questions before educators pursue a career in school building administration!

Imagine principalship candidates before pursuing a graduate program in school supervision and administration, and before sitting down to take their state school administration and supervision exam; would first need to answer a few upfront qualifying or disqualifying questions that could save them and ourselves a lot of grief, time, and money. 

Sample Question: “ If you are ever cursed at (or out) by a student, staff person, or parent, would you ever avail yourself of the “slapping option” as a response? ” Ans: Yes or No . If an applicant answers “ Yes ,” then that person should immediately stop taking the exam, for there is no need to answer any other questions, and further, that individual should be allowed to leave the exam room and receive a full refund for all exam costs; but they should never become a principal!

But on a serious and practical note, the principal (or AP) should be the last person in a school building to use violence in response to any act of verbal abuse on the part of any school family member. After all, you always have the “official” power option to punish or penalize any bad behavior. That parent who called me a bunch of not-so-nice names threatened and did call and complained to the superintendent that I banned them for a year from all varsity sporting events because of their offensive and possibly violence-provoking language-behaviors. Well, guess what, “you are still banned until you learn to attend games and present yourself as a positive parent role model!” Executive power, when exercised, is an expression of strength and confidence; hyper-emotional, personal-hurt responses are a sign of leadership fear and weakness.

School building administrators must always “be cool and courageous under fire”  and ask themselves that critical question: “ If I do X, the following Y or Z events will likely occur! ” You know that pre-action thinking “counseling stuff” we teach to young people when they are in danger of making a “bad” life-altering decision. That “counseling stuff” isn’t an abstract philosophical exercise; it’s ultimately a concretely real and necessary good human relations life practice. And in any event, why would you undermine your own legal authoritative power by engaging in some extra-legal act?

Finally, losing a job is one thing, but when a district formally requests that the state revokes your license, well, that’s another whole level of pain. This action is the profession saying that under no conditions should you ever be anywhere near working with a school or children. This license revocation action is a very serious process (so serious that school districts must meet a very high “justification” bar for seeking it). And further, there is very little “compassionate grey area” wherein the superintendent can work. In a few cases where an educator had a “moment-of-bad-judgment” in what was otherwise a stellar career, I felt very sad (yes, believe it or not, superintendents are human) for being on the requesting revocation side of this process, even though it was necessary, and I could not avoid my professional and ethical responsibilities to follow through to the (that person’s professional career) bitter end.

When they go loud and angry, you always go low-volume and calm…

In every highly-emotional negative school building person-to-person situation (especially when it involves you personally), stop, take your time, take multiple deep breaths (and as I learned in my Yoga practice: pay attention to your breathing). Try doing a visualization; for me, it was always ‘seeing’ my mother’s face, and thinking of all of the sacrifices she made for me to be where I am now; and also, me asking myself, “ would she approve of the response I selected? ”  Remember that there are hundreds or thousands of other students, parents, and staff-persons depending on your leadership presence. Put aside your ego and perhaps let another staff person calm the situation. The first move is not guaranteed to be the best move. A few “curse words” didn’t create your leadership, and a few “curse words” won’t make it disappear. Always know that you are never without alternative choices; and so, push-pause, step back or step away if you must; because the post-incident review clarifying “charging” statement from your superintendent is going to be something like: “I understand that the other person might have been wrong, but, you are the principal!”

This wasn’t my intent, but like the principalship—stuff happens!

“As a principal, the only chance you have of keeping your students and staff safe (especially if you don’t have metal detectors) is to be willing to make some tough decisions that will invariably make some folks uncomfortable or unhappy; you must always err on the side of keeping your school family away from serious harm and danger. If your professional aspiration is to be universally liked, choose another career. The parents who say that you are “doing too much” are the same parents who will be on the central committee of the: “Why can’t this principal run a safe school!” club. As a superintendent, the only chance you have of optimizing the safety of your district’s staff and students is to support (back) principals who make legally bold and decisive decisions to keep their school families safe.”

“Parents running away and hiding while their child is sitting in jail suggest that this young person had been emotionally abandoned long before the tragedy occurred. School administrators must know when & how to intercede, operationalize and humanize “In loco parentis” before a crisis erupts.”

I have received thousands of supportive and encouraging comments from all over the country (and world) concerning my two multi-social media postings of 12/5 on The unique school safety and security challenges principals presently face. And I wish I could respond to all of them. But this particular post from a principal brought back so many personal principalship memories:

“Thank you for posting. I am constantly being scrutinized as the principal who is too strict, or a “rule-follower.” Parents compare my decisions with those of other principals and complain that “Other schools are _____” but you aren’t letting us ____.” My barometer has always been what’s best for kids, and I never have to second guess or doubt my decisions.”

The focus of my 12/5 two postings was on the challenges that principals face as they try to navigate the immediate school safety and security issues. But we should not lose sight of the many daily difficulties principals face on so many (unknown to most) other fronts. And how one can easily feel isolated and unsupported; yet, at the same time, be expected to perform “miracles,” which many principals amazingly manage to do!

As a superintendent, I warned the district attendees to my “Pursuing the Principalship” class; they should not want to be a principal because they believe they will not have a “boss” in the building looking over their every move and decision. Unfortunately, the reality is that a principal will have (too) many “bosses” both inside and outside of the school building but (too) little management authority that matches the written and unwritten job description and requirements of the position. Many of the principal’s unofficial “supervisors” (not the superintendent) will, of course, know how to lead and manage the school better than the principal; and they are often entirely oblivious to the fact that most of the “directives” they send your way, conflicts with the “directives” of other similar faux supervisors. For example, as a principal, I was accused (in the same school year) by some parents of: “paying too much attention to the academically struggling students” and by another group of “paying too much attention to the high academically achieving students”(Or, perhaps in my way of seeing it, I was paying attention to both groups!) And on another topic from “supervisory” community stakeholders: “Black and Latino children aren’t successful on gate-keeping standardized exams!” —I get them to pass standardized exams; “You’re too focused on standardized exams!” Please, make up your minds, people! This brings me back to that principal’s post; perhaps the best approach to principalship professional success is to do that which is ethically right, just, and in the best learning and safety interests of children; and see everything else as background noise.

Some MAJ library naming event pictures for all my friends and colleagues who are not on any social media platform.

report writing to school principal

Mayor-Elect Eric Adams and I walking to the official ribbon-cutting area. Now, there were so many beautiful moments created by so many wonderful people yesterday, for which I will need to post a lot of appreciation pictures. But this particular picture resonates so strongly with my spirit. This scene took place outside of the hearing of the press or audience and was that moment when we were simply two Brooklyn brothers paying tribute to our mothers for making everything we achieved possible. Thank you, Pauline Johnson, for I can never repay you for all the sacrifices you made on my behalf. I can only try my best to do some lasting good in this world… Blessings on all mothers who believed in us.

report writing to school principal

Science Skills Center High School Library Naming and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

report writing to school principal

On Friday, November 12, 2021, 1:00 PM ET, the Hon. Eric Adams, NYC’s Department of Education (NYCDOE) Science Skills Center High School (SSCHS), will ‘cut-the-ribbon’ on its new state-of-the-art Research Library and Media Center (RLMC). The RLMC will be named after the school’s founding principal, Michael A. Johnson*.

I would first of all like to thank Dr. Dahlia McGregor, the SSCHS principal, for developing a dynamically inspiring library facility and proposing that I be honored in such a fantastic way. I would also like to thank former NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza and present NYC Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter for graciously waving the NYCDOE regulation that prohibits the naming of any part of an NYC public school facility for a person who is still living (I am, by the way, very much alive, fully vaccinated + booster shot!). As a former NYC superintendent, I understand the “political risk” of taking such a bold action; and so, I will always strive to honor their decision and work hard never to disappoint them.

Further, and in every significant way critical to this project, I would like to thank the Honorable Eric Adams (now mayor-elect of NYC), Brooklyn Borough President, who provided encouragement, material, and spiritual support for this new library facility. I am highly honored that Mr. Adams would recognize me, a humble son of Crown Heights Brooklyn, in this extraordinary way. And in addition, with all of the things he must have on-his-plate, that he has decided to attend the event personally. It is my hope and prayer that SSCHS will make his future public leader-servant mission work easier, and that SSCHS will forever remain (in the words of several former NYC Mayors and Chancellors, and specifically quoting one former NYC Chancellor Harold Levy): “One of the great bright and shining stars of the NYC public school constellation!”

I am also proud to announce that the Research Library/Media Center will be managed by the very competent and experienced hands of SSCHS Librarian, Ms. Sandra Echols. I sincerely hope that my former American Library Association and Brooklyn Public Library Trustees colleagues, and all of my many elected officials, corporate, private foundations, and city, state, and federal governmental agency friends will give this great new Library the support it deserves.

Finally, as you have probably noticed, the word “Science” is prominently situated in the school’s name; but it also takes the lead in the school’s extraordinary sense of respect for the principles of science; therefore, this event will be virtually broadcast so that we can encourage medically safe distancing. I am hopeful that at some point in the future, after everyone gets vaccinated (sorry, you know once a principal, always…), and we have defeated this Covid-19 scourge, we will be able to gather as a community and celebrate in this beautiful facility. But, until then, and with special thanks to SSCHS Technology Coordinator Mr. Andres Villar; here is the virtual viewing information:

Subject: Library Ceremony Zoom Meeting. Topic: MICHAEL A. JOHNSON LIBRARY RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY & OPENING Time: Nov 12, 2021, 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 868 8115 0113

Passcode: 470375

One tap mobile +16465588656,,86881150113#,,,,*470375# US (New York) +13126266799,,86881150113#,,,,*470375# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Find your local number: If you have any technical viewing questions please contact Mr. Andres Villar at: (718) 243-9413

report writing to school principal

For all those who are ever watching and forever watching over us from the ancestral realm, my mother, family, and friends; my growing-up-in church family, the community/neighborhood elders of my youth; my childhood Cub/Boy Scout, Sunday school, Acolyte, and P.A.L. leaders, the kind and wise Hasidic (a WWII Holocaust survivor) grandmother who daily provided me with warm milk, cookies, and words of encouragement during those very cold dark winter days on my before-the-start-of-school Eastern Parkway newspaper route (Oh my, route #18!).

To all, both living and dead, of my great K-12 NYC public school educators. Please know, all of you, that I have failed and fallen short of my own expectations at times, but rest assured that I have always strived to be worthy of your hopeful dreams and aspirational belief that the unfolding promise, “under-divine-construction,” ever inquiring, and in so many ways awkward and discontented adolescent you thought warranted your attention would someday make all of your hard work, support, and sacrifices worthwhile.

My young world was (and the world still is) full of many morally and efficaciously excellent, gracious, kind, and caring adults, wrapped in all colors, religions, nationalities, and ethnicities; these are those who sincerely want to see all of the children of this world survive, succeed and enjoy life to the fullest; and without them, our species is despairingly doomed.

I was that societally disenfranchised “latch-key” kid who was able to survive into adulthood because of two safe sanctuaries; P.S. 9 elementary school and the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), where I went every day after school and stayed until my mother came home from work. The BPL’s unofficial childcare program allowed me to escape the many dangers of the Brooklyn streets. And yet, (as the old folks would say: “the devil can’t know what’s on God’s mind”), that escaping danger experience allowed me to spend hours on hours of intellectual seed-planting reading time with great enlightening books, across many different topic areas. That “falling-in-love” with books period of my adolescence would lead to a life-long love of reading, learning, and enjoying the knowledge prizes that waited at the end of every intellectual inquiry. P.S. 9 (and later JHS 294’s Gifted and Talented program) and the BPL learning sanctuaries also provided a constantly in danger Brooklyn Black boy with that critically crucial safe space to be smart. I would eventually share my love-of-learning, and seek to protect and inspire that learning-love in thousands of young people; and who would imagine (surely not me) that the BPL free after-school “childcare kid” would one day serve as a Trustee for the entire BPL system; and as a professional educator, create a nationally and internationally highly acclaimed after-school STEM learning center in a wing of P.S. 9! It all almost sounds—well, miraculous!

To my many friends and supporters, my professional education community colleagues, in the U.S. and from around the world (especially my former students who, to my great joy, are now my professional colleagues), to all of my former students in whatever career they pursued, to all of the outstanding school staff members, school administrators, principals, teachers, and the many school district staff members I worked with as a superintendent. Having gained a more wise and greater time-granted experiential understanding of life, I can now, with profound and humble sincerity, fully appreciate the many years of love, support, and positive teamwork accomplishments we have seen together; for surely your names are forever joined to the single name on the wall above the doors of this library—Peace and Blessings on you all. And to everyone, please stay well, stay safe, stay smart and follow the science! M.A.J.

report writing to school principal

*Michael A. Johnson is a former teacher, principal, and school district superintendent. An internationally recognized formal (school-based) and informal (outside-of-schools) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Career Technical Education (CTE) educator; and a School Leadership Educationalist. He served as an expert peer-review panelist for “request for funding” proposals submitted to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Science Foundation. A member of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment Exam Development Committee, designers of the first NAEP national science exams. A presenter and panelist at numerous professional conferences, symposiums, and meetings like the NYS Governor’s Conference on Developing New York State’s Action Plan for Science and Engineering Education, Research and Development, Albany, New York; 1990, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting: “Science and Mathematics Assessment in the Service of Instruction,” the National Press Club, the National Urban League National Conference: “Science and Mathematics Education, Tools for African-American development,” Philadelphia, PA, the New York Academy of Sciences, and as the keynote speaker at the International Conference for STEM Administrators and Educators, City College, Norwich, England.

The subject of many international books, dissertations, research studies, electronic and print media stories, and articles including PBS’s “Crisis: Who Will Do Science?” (1990) and the Nightly Business Report, PBS: “Phelps: An example of a school of the future”, 2008. The New York Times Magazine, “Scores Count.” Bulletin, National Association of Secondary School Principals – “Standards-Based Education”: Are Academic Standards a Threat or an Opportunity, 1997, Cross and Joftus pgs. 15-16; Savoy Magazine 2012: “CISCO/Phelps High School Developing the Next Generation of IT Leaders.” “Bridging the gap between cultures”; Li Xing and Tan Yingzi; China Daily; 2011. The Washington Academy of Science; Journal (v. 97, no 3); “STEM/CTE Education: Phelps as a new model”; Dr. Cora Marrett (NSF); Dr. Sylvia M. James (NSF); 2012. Johnson also serves as a consultant and grant writer/reviewer for universities and school districts’ STEM-CTE projects/programs funding proposals. In those efforts, he is working hard to build strong and sustaining STEM-CTE operational and systemic pedagogical “bridges and infrastructure” for the PreK-16 educational systems role in building and expanding the national STEM-CTE career “pipelines”.

The author of many newspapers, magazines, and journal articles, including two American Association for the Advancement of Science Journal articles: “Assessment in the Service of Instruction” and “Science Assessment in the Service of Reform.” Johnson was appointed a member of the NYS Education Department Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Equity and Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education (1989-1990). The recipient of hundreds of awards, citations, and proclamations, for example, Resolution of Recognition U. S. Senate Floor; Congressional Record-Senate; S9581; U.S. Member of the Senate; Mary Landrieu (La); The Global Diversity Innovation Award; World Diversity Leadership Council; Boston, Mass; U.S. Department of State Award: “For Contributions Fostering Global Understanding Through Language Learning and Support of the National Security (Chinese) Language Initiative,” Washington DC. Multiple Proclamations in Recognition of Dedication and Excellence in Education, U.S. House of Representatives, NYS Senate, NYS Assembly, and the City Council of New York.

As a principal, he created the first majority Black and Latino students national F.I.R.S.T. Robotics and Cyberforensics academic competition teams. As a superintendent, he extended STEM learning to the early childhood, elementary, and middle school levels by building dedicated applied STEM Labs and assigning specially selected and professionally developed science teachers to those labs. As a superintendent, he also provided access to larger numbers of Black and Latino students to the district’s expanded Gifted and Talented, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Advanced Placement (AP) programs; while building lower-grades “STEM capacity” by significantly “ramping up” the quality and efficacy of elementary mathematics education; thus having more students prepared to take 8th-grade Algebra (the “STEM gatekeeper”).

He is a former NYC Mayoral appointee as a Trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library. Instrumental in leading the designing, development, and building of two Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—Career Technical Education (STEM—CTE) high schools: Science Skills Center High School, NYC and Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School, Washington DC. In addition, Johnson has served as an adjunct professor of Science Education in the School of Education at St. John’s University. An author of a book on school leadership: Report to the Principal’s Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership.; and is presently completing his second book on school administration and leadership: Report From The Principal’s Office (Fall/2021).

Report To The Principal’s Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership

Report to the Principal’s Office (ISBN-13: 978-0692066317), 484 pages, $25, is available for purchase in hard-copy or Kindle on: Amazon at ,

Barnes & Noble at

Books A Million at

  • The main category of the book: Effective High School Building Leadership .

report writing to school principal

About the Author…

Michael A. Johnson is a native New Yorker and a proud product of NYC’s public school system. This was also the city where he spent the majority of his personal and professional life. He has served as a Public School: Teacher, Science Skills Center Director, Principal and several years’ experience as a school district Superintendent. Over an 11 year period he led in the designing, building, and serving as the principal for two state of the art Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics-Career Technical Education (STEM-CTE), Title 1 urban high schools. He also served as an adjunct professor of Science Education, in the School of Education at St. John’s University

report writing to school principal

His book: Report To The Principal’s Office represents a compilation of the lesson plan objectives’ & notes from a Teacher to Assistant Principal (AP), and AP to Principal courses that he taught as Superintendent of Community School District 29 in Queens, New York. It also serves as the working-reflection textbook from many years of serving as a principal and superintendent. During those 20+ years he was responsible for appointing, mentoring, professionally developing, supervising, evaluating/rating, and unfortunately, in some cases, removing school principals from their positions. This book is about focusing on and defining the best practices of an effective school-based leader (SBL), the principal.

report writing to school principal

Some of his appointments include: The New York State Education Department Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Equity and Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education, Albany, New York. Health Careers Opportunity Program, College of Health-Related Professions Task Force, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, New York The Pre-College Science Education Initiate for Science Museums Review Panel, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Expert Grants Peer-Review Panel, National Science Foundation, Washington. Educational Testing Service, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment Exam Development Committee, Princeton, New Jersey. Clarke Fellow in Science and Mathematics Education, Teacher’s College Columbia University. Charles H. Revson Fellow for the Future of NY, Columbia University, New York. Trustee Brooklyn Public Library System.

report writing to school principal

A Few Of His Awards: “Special Recognition Award”, Kings County Club National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. “Recognition Award”, Women’s League of Science and Medicine. “Ailanthus Award” for Community Service, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. “President’s Award for Outstanding Educator”, Medgar Evers College of City University of New York, Education Conference. “Award of Excellence”, City of New York Human Resources Administration. Proclamation, The City Council of N. Y.; Council Member 35th District, Brooklyn. “1993 Bridge Builders Award”, Black Child Development Institute. “Humanitarian Award”, Youth Law Center. “Community Service Award”, NYEX – Minority Management Association. “Community Service Award”, Caribbean Women’s Health Association, Inc. The Evelyn Brown Clarke Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Science Educator Award. Brooklyn Public Library Board of Trustees, Award for Service. “The Faithful Servant Award”, Progressive Club of Concord Baptist Church of Christ. “Outstanding Service”, American Legion, Department of New York Zone 2. “Meritorious Award”, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. “Congressional Achievement Award”, Congressman Gregory Meeks. “School District Leadership Award”, Congressman Major Owens. “Dream of King” Community Service Award, Hip Hop Summit Youth Council. NAACP, Albany, NY; Albany Branch Award, April. Resolution of Recognition U. S. Senate Floor; September 14, 2006; Congressional Record-Senate; S9581; U.S. Member of the Senate; Mary Landrieu (La) Global Diversity Innovation Award; World Diversity Leadership Council; Boston Symphony Hall; Boston, Mass. U.S. Architect Of The Capital Appreciation Award. U.S. Department of State Award: “For Contributions Fostering Global Understanding Through Language Learning and Support of the National Security Language Initiative”. U.S. Department of State Appreciation Award: “For Dedicated Support Of International Education and Exchange For the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Program”.

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Rantz: Seattle English students told it’s ‘white supremacy’ to love reading, writing

Feb 14, 2024, 7:08 PM

Image: Lincoln High School in Seattle teachings on white supremacy leads to controversy. Seattle wh...

Lincoln High School in Seattle teachings on white supremacy leads to controversy. (School photo courtesy of the school district website; quiz images provided by a parent in the school district)

(School photo courtesy of the school district website; quiz images provided by a parent in the school district)

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Students in a Seattle English class were told that their love of reading and writing is a characteristic of “white supremacy,” in the latest Seattle Public Schools high school controversy. The lesson plan has one local father speaking out, calling it “educational malpractice.”

As part of the Black Lives Matter at School Week, World Literature and Composition students at Lincoln High School were given a handout with definitions of the “9 characteristics of white supremacy,” according to the father of a student. Given the subject matter of the class, the father found it odd this particular lesson was brought up.

The Seattle high schoolers were told that “Worship of the Written Word” is white supremacy because it is “an erasure of the wide range of ways we communicate with each other.” By this definition, the very subject of World Literature and Composition is racist. It also chides the idea that we hyper-value written communication because it’s a form of “honoring only what is written and even then only what is written to a narrow standard, full of misinformation and lies.” The worksheet does not provide any context for what it actually means.

“I feel bad for any students who actually internalize stuff like this as it is setting them up for failure,” the father explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

More from Jason Rantz: Communist Seattle teacher breaks silence to support Hamas, claim ‘ACAB’

Everything is ‘white supremacy’ at Seattle Public Schools

The father asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution against his child by Seattle Public Schools. He said the other pieces of the worksheet were equally disturbing.

The worksheet labels “objectivity,” “individualism,” and “perfectionism” as white supremacy. If students deny their own racism — or that any of the nine characteristics are legitimately racist — is also white supremacy. Denialism or being overly defensive is a racist example of an “entitlement to name what is an [sic] isn’t racism and that those with power have a right to be shielded from the stresses of antiracist work.”

The father argues the concepts are “incoherent and cannot stand any sort of reasoned analysis.” And he notes that it’s set up to ensure students accept every concept without ever questioning the claims.

“How is a 15-year-old kid supposed to object in class when ‘denial and defensiveness’ is itself a characteristic of white supremacy? This is truly educational malpractice.”

report writing to school principal

Terms and definitions regarding white supremacy given to Lincoln High students.

White students told to apologize in yet another Seattle high school controversy

Another aspect of the white supremacy lesson at this Seattle school involved a video titled “Getting Called Out: How to Apologize” by Franchesca Ramsey. It’s reportedly presented in the context of white students expressing what the teacher views as “white supremacy.”

“Getting called out, in this context of this video, is when you say or do something that upholds the oppression of a marginalized group of people,” Ramsey says.

Ramsey says her advice is about becoming an ally and “doing the right thing.” She explains you shouldn’t “get defensive” by denying you’re oppressing marginalized people, even if you’re not actually oppressing marginalized people.

“What you really need to do is listen because this is where the other person is hopefully going to explain to you what you did wrong and how you can explain it,” she says.

In the context of the worksheet on white supremacy, it seems clear that students must merely accept that they are upholding oppression. Using the worksheet, if a student defends independence or a love of reading and writing, that student is supposed to accept that it’s white supremacist thinking and stop acting independently or loving to read and write.

report writing to school principal

The worksheet on white supremacy.

Father says Seattle Public Schools isn’t serving students

The father says he taught his son to be on the lookout for this kind of Radical Left indoctrination. It’s why his son flagged the worksheets to him. But he notes that the curriculum doesn’t exactly help his kid on the subject he’s supposed to be learning.

“My problem with this curriculum is that this is supposed to be a writing and literature class and lessons like these do nothing to help my kid become a better writer,” the father explained. “I’m sure Lincoln administration will point to the high ELA proficiency scores but the high proportion of HCC [highly capable] kids (40% of the student body) is a big factor. With so many smart, hard working kids (white supremacists) it’s easy to support these luxury beliefs but system-wide only 63% of kids are proficient in English. Is this really the best use of class time? ”

The father also wonders how many students will fall for this toxic thinking across Seattle schools where concepts around white supremacy are so clearly partisan.

“I feel bad for any students who actually internalize stuff like this as it is setting them up for failure,” he said.

Seattle Public Schools spokespeople provided their normal response to requests for comment: none.

report writing to school principal

‘How do white supremacy characteristics show up in your personal lives?’ was a question in a worksheet given to Lincoln High students.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the  podcast here . Follow Jason on  X, formerly known as Twitter ,  Instagram  and  Facebook .

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Miami-Dade school principals get directive to ‘postpone’ distributing controversial form, sources say

Hatzel Vela , Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A few weeks ago, Jill Peeling was in disbelief when she received a permission form and her daughter asked her to sign it so she could participate in Black History class.

Peeling’s daughter is a student at iPrep Academy, a magnet school with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Peeling spoke up and got national attention. There was a backlash.

“The reason this has gotten so much traction is because people know it is wrong,” Peeling said.

Miami-Dade School Board member Steve Gallon said he was concerned about the students whose parents decided not to sign the form.

“This is about equal access to the fullness of what education represents,” Gallon said.

Peeling said the school board members need to look at the state law that prompted the school to send parents the form and not the law’s implementation.

Manny Diaz, the Florida Commissioner of Education, disagreed. He had an issue with the implementation of the law.

“That was wrongly done at that school,” Diaz said. “Superintendent has been advised.”

This prompted a directive to school principals to “postpone the use of the Form 2424,” according to several sources familiar with the process in Miami-Dade.

“Form 2424 is undergoing a revision,” the directive said, according to Local 10 News sources.

Peeling saw it as a small victory, but what she wants is for the state law to go.

“Black history has been something that has been around for generations,” Peeling said. “And to try and put a permission slip in place and say, ‘Well an outside speaker is coming in.’

“At what point does it stop?”

Copyright 2024 by WPLG - All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Hatzel vela.

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 


Controversy arises as miami-dade school seeks parental consent for black history month events, education commissioner says black history month permission slip ‘wrongly done’ by miami-dade school, miami-dade schools seek clarity on required permission slips for events like black history month.

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Teacher arrested for class assignment about ‘ways to kill’ one of his students.

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A Virginia teacher was arrested and had to give up his license after he gave his class an assignment asking them to come up with different “ways to kill” one of his students, it has emerged.

The unidentified Crestwood Middle School teacher instructed his students to write how they would kill one particular student in the class in January 2022, according to court documents obtained by WTKR Thursday.

The documents state that the assignment came from another student in the class, but the teacher went along with it.

Students then reportedly pulled out their tablets and dutifully listed ways to kill the selected classmate, with court documents describing how the students came up with ideas to chop him up, throw him out a window, burn him alive, and feed him to a dog.

Police became aware of the incident after the bullied child went home that night and told his parents, according to WTKR.

During an ensuing investigation, police reportedly asked what could have prompted the teacher to come up with the writing exercise — to which he said it was hard to engage the class, and the student at the center of the assignment didn’t appear to be upset by it at the time, records show.

Crestwood Middle School is pictured.

The teacher went on to admit it was an inappropriate class assignment and said it was an error in judgment.

He later pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and voluntarily surrendered his teaching license, according to WTKR, which has been digging into the reasons teachers have lost their licenses throughout the state.

The Chesapeake School District said the teacher was employed at the school from Aug. 31, 2021, through April 8, 2022.

A Virginia State Police vehicle.

In a statement to the local news station, school district officials said they would not comment further “on such situations involving personnel.

“The safety of our students is our top priority and Chesapeake Public Schools expects all employees to act with the utmost professionalism to provide a positive learning environment for all students.”

The Post has also reached out to the Chesapeake School District for more information.

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report writing to school principal

Chandler Unified principal on leave as 'Goon'-related legal claims stack up

A southeast Valley principal whose stepson has been arrested in connection with the August beating of another teen and accused in a lawsuit of coordinating a May attack is now on leave.

An email that the Chandler Unified School District sent to parents on Tuesday does not state how Riggs Elementary School Principal Jamie Lander's leave was initiated. Stephanie Ingersoll, a spokesperson for the district, declined to comment because it's a personnel matter.

On Monday, The Arizona Republic published statements Lander made to Gilbert police while they were interviewing her stepson in connection with the August assault. Lander sought to intercede on her stepson's behalf after police reopened the case in December, which she claimed resulted from political pressure, according to police records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

On Aug. 18, Richard Kuehner's then-16-year-old son was attacked in the parking lot of the Gilbert In-N-Out Burger. Kuehner's son named Lander's stepson as one of his attackers that night, but police said they were "unable" to establish probable cause after interviewing him.

Gilbert police listed the case as "inactive" in October. They didn't reopen it until after The Republic inquired about the attack in December.

Police have now made six arrests in the assault, including Lander's 16-year-old stepson.

The Republic does not normally name juveniles accused of crimes unless they are charged as adults.

Lander has been named in three separate civil court filings.

Lander, her husband and her stepson were named in a lawsuit filed Thursday by Kuehner against over a dozen young people identified as "Gilbert Goons" and their parents. The case accuses the Goons of assaulting unsuspecting victims, recording attacks, and sharing photos and videos of them on social media. It accuses parents of negligent supervision.

The three were also named in a lawsuit filed Monday targeting Goons for their alleged involvement in a May attack on a 17-year-old in a Mesa park. The suit claims Lander's stepson "set up" the attack and threatened another.

A $6 million notice of claim sent Monday stemming from the attack on Kuehner's son names Lander too. The claim states Chandler Unified officials were warned Kuehner's son, a Perry High School student, had received death threats before being "jumped" by Goons, including Lander's stepson, and made no effort to stop it.

Lander lacked decision-making authority at Perry High School, according to the notice of claim. But it noted that Kuehner's son was forced to withdraw from the school as a direct result of her stepson's conduct. Kuehner's lawyer, Richard Lyons, referred to Lander as an agent and employee of the district, which is liable for her conduct.

Lander did not respond to The Republic's phone calls and text messages.

A Dec. 14 investigation by The Republic first detailed a string of vicious attacks by the Goons, who recorded their blitz-style attacks on teens in parks and parking garages, outside fast-food restaurants and at house parties. The Republic also outlined the group's potential ties to the fatal beating of 16-year-old Preston Lord at an Oct. 28 Halloween party in Queen Creek.

Since The Republic's report was published, at least 15 adults and juveniles have been arrested in connection with Goon attacks by authorities in Gilbert, Mesa and Pinal County.

Police record: Principal stopped stepson from naming attackers

In the weeks leading up to the Aug. 18 attack, Kuehner said, some Goons, including Lander's stepson, threatened to attack his son. Two carloads of Goons even showed up at his house but left before police arrived.

On the day of the attack, a "truck full of Gilbert Goons" stopped Kuehner's son at the In-N-Out, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday. Multiple individuals quickly surrounded and beat him.

A video of the attack obtained by The Republic shows Kuehner's son being hit and stomped in the parking lot.

On the night of the attack, Kuehner's son told police that Lander's stepson was one of his attackers, according to police reports. Police interviewed Lander's stepson that night, and he provided them with a video of the beating, which was shared in a group chat, police records state. He pointed himself out in the video as "running to go watch" the fight.

Police noted in their records that Lander's stepson appeared to be preparing to participate in the attack, but he is not seen in the video coming into contact with Kuehner's son. Police reported they were "unable" to establish probable cause and did not arrest Lander's stepson.

The attack video was sent to school resource officers at Perry High and elsewhere, but the investigation was inactivated due to a lack of leads, according to police.

Conspiracy alleged: 17 'Gilbert Goons' and parents sued over attacks

Lander's stepson was interviewed again by police in December after the case was reactivated. Lander and the teen's father were present for the interview at Perry High.

In the Dec. 19 police interview, Lander said her stepson was being made a "scapegoat," according to a police record of the interview. She said the only reason her stepson was being charged was because the media was involved, the record states.

"Jamie then told me, 'Your superiors want you to find somebody right now,'" a detective wrote in the interview synopsis.

When a detective asked her stepson to identify others involved in the attack, Jamie Lander raised objections, the detective reported. She didn't want her stepson "put in 'harm's way' by naming names," the detective said.

Lander said police had a video of the attack, access to the school surveillance system, photos of students and Perry High's resource officer. She said all could be used to identify other students in the attacks, according to the police record.

Lander suggested kids in the attack videos were being "lumped together" with the kids who were involved in Preston Lord's murder, according to the police synopsis. "That's the problem," she said.

Lander demanded to know why the detective was interested in her stepson since "it was known he didn't put his hands on anyone ... or go to anyone's home," according to the report.

She also said there were some accusations about Kuehner's son that could explain why he was targeted in the attack, according to the report. She said she and her colleagues in the district were receiving calls about his son's behavior and that Kuehner wasn't being held responsible for his son's action, the detective wrote.

When the detective said he intended to refer her stepson for robbery charges, she and her husband became upset, according to the report.

The detective said Lander's husband referenced another attack video, saying he could identify the attacker. When the detective asked for the name, the detective reported, Lander "made an audible 'mm-mm' sound and said, 'Nope. We're done.'"

Another lawsuit: $6M claim says Chandler school officials, Gilbert police failed to stop 'Gilbert Goons' attack

Reach reporter Elena Santa Cruz at   [email protected]  or 480-466-2265. Follow her on X at   @ecsantacruz3 .

Robert Anglen is an investigative reporter for The Republic. Reach him at   [email protected]  or 602-444-8694. Follow him on X at @robertanglen .

Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction: What You Need to Know

Should you claim the mortgage interest deduction when you file your federal tax return?

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Becoming a homeowner isn’t just the American dream for some. It can also come with tax benefits, one being the mortgage interest deduction. However, not all homeowners can claim this tax deduction, and the rules can be complex. For example, how much you can deduct might depend on when you bought your home and your filing status. Additionally, deducting mortgage interest isn't the right choice for everyone.

Since tax season has started , here’s what you should know about claiming the mortgage interest deduction on your federal income tax return.

How does mortgage interest deduction work?

The mortgage interest deduction allows homeowners to deduct the interest they pay on their home mortgage from their taxable income . This can help homeowners lower tax bills by reducing their taxable income. 

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However, taxpayers can only deduct mortgage interest if they itemize deductions. This means you cannot claim the standard deduction and deduct mortgage interest in the same tax year. 

Is it worth itemizing to deduct mortgage interest? It wouldn’t make sense to take the mortgage interest deduction if your total itemized deductions (which can include mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local income taxes etc.) are less than the 2023 standard deduction for your filing status.

  • For 2023, the standard deduction is $13,850 for married filing separately and single filers.
  • Head of household filers have a standard deduction of $20,800 for the 2023 tax year.
  • If you are married and filing jointly or file as a qualifying widow(er), your 2023 standard deduction jumps to $27,700.

Mortgage interest deduction limit 2023

As stated earlier, your mortgage interest deduction limit depends on when you purchased your home and your filing status.

  • If you purchased your home before Dec. 16, 2017 and are a single or joint filer, you can deduct interest paid on the first $1 million of your mortgage.
  • If you are married and filing separately, your allowable mortgage interest deduction is limited to interest paid on the first $500,000, even if you purchased the home prior to Dec. 17, 2017.
  • For homes purchased after the above date, the allowable mortgage interest tax deduction drops to interest paid on the first $750,000 for single and joint filers and to $375,000 for married couples filing separately.

(Note: If you purchased your home after Dec. 15, 2017, you might qualify for an exception. According to the IRS , a taxpayer who “enters into a written binding contract before December 15, 2017, to close on the purchase of a principal residence before January 1, 2018, and who purchases such residence before April 1, 2018, is considered to have incurred the home acquisition debt prior to December 16, 2017”.)

What mortgage interest is tax deductible?

To take the mortgage interest deduction, the interest paid must be on a “qualified home.” Your first and second home may be considered qualified homes, but there are some exceptions.

  • If you rent out your second home, the home only qualifies if you use it “more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days during the year that the home is rented at a fair rental, whichever is longer.” 
  • If you have more than one second home, you can only use one of them as a qualifying second home during the tax year.
  • If you have a home office in your home, your property can still be considered a qualified home. However, you must allocate the use of your home. 
  • A home under construction cannot be considered a qualifying home unless it becomes a qualifying home when it is ready for occupancy.
  • A home under construction cannot be considered a qualifying home for a period longer than 24 months.
  • If you rent out a portion of your home, the home won’t qualify if you rent to more than two tenants during the tax year or rent an area of the home that has its own sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.

(Note: Multiple tenants who share the same sleeping quarters are considered one tenant by the IRS.)

Writing off mortgage interest

You may be able to deduct more than just the interest paid on your qualifying first and second home. Here are some other expenses that may be tax-deductible:

  • Late payment fees
  • Prepayment penalties (if you incur an additional expense for paying off your mortgage early)
  • Interest on a home equity line of credit ( HELOC ) that was used to improve a qualifying home.
  • Points paid (may be referred to as loan origination fees, maximum loan charges, loan discount, or discount points)

Not all points are fully deductible. The IRS provides a flowchart that can help you determine whether or not your mortgage points are fully deductible for the 2023 tax year.

What costs don’t qualify as mortgage interest? Costs that you can’t claim as a mortgage interest tax deduction include homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance premiums, and title insurance. Here are some other expenses that are not tax-deductible.

  • Unpaid interest on a reverse mortgage
  • Down payments
  • Closing costs
  • Appraisal and notary fees
  • Interest on HELOC loans where funds were not used to improve your qualifying property

How to claim the IRS mortgage interest deduction

If you paid more than $600 in mortgage interest last year, keep an eye out for a Form 1098 from your mortgage lender in the coming weeks, (early 2024). A copy of this form will also be sent to the IRS. In most cases, homeowners can report the amount on this form on line 8a of Schedule A (Form 1040). However, the allowable deduction amount may differ in certain circumstances, such as if the property isn’t considered a qualified home.

Remember that you’ll need to itemize your deductions if you choose to take the mortgage interest tax deduction. This can make preparing your taxes more complex than if you take the standard deduction, so you might find it helpful to work with a tax professional to make the process easier. 

For more information about claiming the mortgage interest tax deduction, see IRS Publication 936 .

Related Content

  • 2023 and 2024 Federal Tax Brackets and Income Tax Rates
  • How to Earn Tax Free Rental Income Legally
  • 13 Tax Breaks for Homeowners and Home Buyers

Katelyn has more than 6 years’ experience working in tax and finance. While she specializes in tax content, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement and financial planning and has had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes that knowledge is the key to success and enjoys helping others reach their goals by providing content that educates and informs.

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report writing to school principal


  1. Write a report to your school principal

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