News Briefs | FYI
September 21, 2020
School leaders plan to retire early due to pandemic
Some school principals are planning on retiring early as result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent poll from the National Association of Secondary School Principals.  The poll, which was conducted Aug. 14-19, revealed that 45 percent of principals report that pandemic working conditions are accelerating their plans to leave the profession.  “These new findings on principals’ departure plans should frighten the entire education community,” said NASSP Executive Director and CEO JoAnn Bartoletti, in a Aug. 21 blog post. “Our schools are already strained by principal turnover, and the school conditions policymakers have created will only intensify that turnover. Couple that reality with a shallowed pool of future principals caused by teacher layoffs and attrition, and we have a full-blown crisis in finding talented educators to lead our schools. We must make it a priority to attend to the needs of current principals and continue efforts to deepen the bench of leadership talent.”  Out of 1,020 respondents, 46 percent said that the pandemic had no effect on their plans to remain or leave the principalship, however a sizable portion are thinking or planning to retire due to coronavirus working condition: 23 percent said they had started having thoughts of leaving, 17 percent said they have sped up their plans to leave in one or two years, and 5 percent said they had decided to leave as soon as possible.  Percentages remain generally consistent across elementary, middle, and high school levels, and across urban, suburban, and rural communities, NASSP reports.  Respondents cited the politicization of teacher and student health, changing guidance, and health concerns — both for themselves as well as their staff and students — as reasons. The “mental strain” of having to make life-or-death decisions and being responsible for student and staff health added to the stress already felt by principals, as documented in research by NASSP and LPI earlier this year.   “This task feels nearly insurmountable, and the lack of support from district office is weighing on me,” a respondent shared. “Everyone talks about supporting students and teachers, but principals and assistant principals are being overlooked. I’ve never felt so burned out and unappreciated.”  Read the full blog post at
Help students to save for college with matching funds
As costs and student loan debt skyrocket, the ability to afford higher education is increasingly difficult. Research shows that children with savings accounts are up to seven times more likely to attend and graduate from college. That’s why ScholarShare 529 launched the Matching Grant Program — to play a role in helping low- to moderate-income families kick start their college savings. For a limited time through Dec. 31, 2020, the Matching Grant Program offers eligible families a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $200 in newly opened ScholarShare 529 accounts and a $25 bonus for establishing monthly contributions of $25 or more. Applying for a grant and opening an account is easy and takes about 15 minutes. Schools and districts can find outreach tools for promoting this opportunity to families at
Looking ahead: Observances in October 
Make plans now to observe the following events next month. National Principals Month: Join AFSA, NAESP, and NASSP in celebrating these heroes of education. Find ways to honor principals and make their voices heard, like inviting policymakers to shadow a principal for a day during October to gain a better understanding of the challenges school leaders face, at
. Unity Day (Oct. 21): Wear and share orange to show that we are together against bullying, and united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Find posters, guides for educators and other ideas at PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center at
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