Thoughts for tne New Year
MESPA Monday Memo
August 15, 2016
Membership Has Its Privileges!
New This Year: Choose MESPA only ($299) or MESPA/NAESP ($534)
See below for information on joining MESPA.
Thoughts for the New Year
Mid-August has arrived and the butterflies are starting as principals begin to shift from summer mode to prepare for the opening of school.  Principals devote a great deal of time and thought in the summer to planning and articulating a clear message for the new year.  

While I was in graduate school years ago, Roland Barth, founder of the Harvard Principals’ Center and prolific author of such classic books as Improving Schools From Within, used to require us to write “two-pagers” on a regular basis.  He reminded us that, as school leaders, we needed to be able to express our message clearly and concisely. Of course, this was long before the 140-character world of Twitter!  

During my years as a principal, I faithfully made it my practice to write a two-page “Thoughts for the New Year” to share with the faculty in August. School leaders must juggle school improvement goals with district goals and state mandates.  We play a key role in translating these multiple efforts into a school-specific focus and plan.   I wrote “Thoughts for the New Year” in order to provide clarity and focus to our work together for the coming year.   

As you prepare for the opening of school and the message you hope to convey, I encourage you to try writing a two-pager – even if just for yourself.  You may find the discipline of writing to be a good means to focus and clarify your thoughts.  Once clear yourself, you may find it easier to prepare a presentation to faculty. And, who knows, maybe even arrive at a 140-character Twitter version of your message!  

Rick Rogers
MESPA Executive Director
From the MESPA Blog:
Leadership in Elementary Education:
When It Comes to Effective Schools, What Are We Doing Well?
Be sure to read the latest MESPA Blog post by Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D, principal of the Millville Elementary School in the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District.  Paul introduces us to five attributes of effective schools identified by Dr. Matthew Lynch and then goes on to suggest three more of his own.  Paul poses the question and invites us to share “What else are we doing well?”  

Receive alerts about new posts by following us on Twitter @mespa1 and #mespachat.
Membership Has Its Privileges!
New This Year: Choose MESPA only ($299) or MESPA/NAESP ($534)
As principals, we share in one of the most rewarding – and challenging – jobs there is.  We need to support one another in this work.  For that reason, I urge you to join (or renew your membership to) MESPA. We currently serve close to 800 members around the Commonwealth and are dedicated to supporting principals, providing professional learning, and advocating for school leaders at the state level.   

Why should you join MESPA?
1. High Quality Professional Development:
  • New this year, in partnership with Ribas Associates, we are providing 31 workshops for teachers and school leaders in three areas (Addressing the Social-Emotional Learning Needs of All Students, Strengthening Collaborative Teacher Teams, and Developing Leadership Skills).  Your teachers can register at the membership rate if you are a member. A complete program of studies and registration form can be found at:
  • Fall Conference – Thursday, November 3: “The Connected Leader” featuring keynote speaker Alan November and concurrent sessions offered by colleagues.
  • Spring Conference:  TBD
2. Principals Supporting Principals Connect with colleagues through social media (#mespachat on Twitter and Voxer), new regional support groups, and our annual fall and spring conferences.  

3. Publications
  • MESPA Monday Memo is a weekly publication that includes news about upcoming offerings and reflections or posts of interest to principals.
  • Principal View is the official publication of MESPA, published 4 times per year with interesting articles by colleagues and important information for Massachusetts K-8 principals and assistant principals.
  • Principal magazine (NAESP members) is an award winning professional periodical with practical information to help support you in your work.
  4. State Advocacy Your membership allows us to represent the principals’ point of view on issues regarding public education and school leadership, including monitoring of legislative initiatives and responses to pending legislation that affects principals and public education.  

Benefits of NAESP Membership
Massachusetts principals can now choose whether to join only MESPA or join both MESPA and NAESP. While we hope the lower membership cost will help attract new members, we do encourage you to continue your national membership if your budget allows. In addition to NAESP’s publications and on-line resources, a major reason to join NAESP is the legal protection they provide.  For more information on legal benefits, go to :  

If you have questions or need assistance with processing membership, contact Victoria Ellison (
Regional Principals’ Support Groups
We are organizing low-cost regional support groups for principals that will meet 6 times during the year and use a blended in-person/on-line approach.   These groups of 8-12 principals from different districts will be facilitated by an experienced or retired principal. Schedule and locations are coming soon.  If you are interested in facilitating or participating in one of these groups, please contact Rick Rogers (  
#MESPAChat Is Trending!
Join us for the next chat on Wednesday, September 7 at 8:00 pm  
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