NJPSA Leaders Advocate on Capitol Hill

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NJPSA President John Hahola, President-Elect Fidelia Sturdivant and NAESP State Coordinator Angelina Martino Finnegan recently walked the halls of Congress to advocate on behalf of principals and supervisors statewide as part of the National Association of Elementary Principals (NAESP) National Leaders Conference.  The conference is held annually to focus advocacy efforts on issues impacting elementary and middle school principals across the nation. 

This year, NJPSA’s delegation met with representatives of the offices of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D), U.S.  Senator Cory Booker (D), and Congressional Representatives Leonard Lance (R), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), Donald Payne Jr., and Rush Holt.

 The NJPSA delegation shared information about the status of New Jersey’s education reform efforts under the ESEA Waiver including teacher/principal evaluation, Common Core and PARCC  (Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness) implementation challenges and the need for dedicated professional development for principals.  NJPSA Leaders specifically asked congressional leaders to support the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act, H.R. 1736/S. 840 which focuses on capacity building measures and professional mentoring programs for principals, especially those in high needs schools.

 Additionally, members urged the New Jersey delegation to sponsor and support the Great Teaching and Leading for Great Schools Act, H.R. 4269 which focuses on creating more opportunities for teachers and principals to engage in meaningful, job-embedded, continuous professional learning to meet the needs of both teachers and principals.   Professional development under the Great Teaching and Leading for Great Schools Act would focus on continuous professional learning strategies involved the use of technology, peer networks, and time for school leaders and teachers to participate in collaborative team-based learning multiple times per week.  The bill also advances evidence-based professional learning strategies for principals to provide useful feedback to teachers, engage the community and other stakeholders, and foster professional learning communities. Following our visit, Representative Donald Payne Jr. signed on as a prime sponsor of this important legislation!