The School Culture Funnel and How Administrator’s Create It

In 2020 if you are a school principal and you are not branding your school you are not doing your job. There are so many great things happening in our schools everyday and we need to highlight those to our school community. Here are some basic things school principals can do to self-promote their schools, according to Principal Andy Jordan.
Facebook: This is the easiest step a school administrator can do. Setup a page and make a few positive posts the first month and then hand it over to your business class or other teachers and let them highlight the positives for you.
Twitter: This is more personalized but it allows you to connect with other individuals who are more in tuned to Twitter social media and less Facebook. Make sure to follow your school’s groups twitter pages and retweet as often as possible.
YouTube: Setting up and running a school YouTube page is easy and it is a great way to broadcast your basketball and volleyball games as well as your special events such as concerts and graduation ceremonies.
Newsletters: Some schools still operate a monthly and/or a quarterly school newsletter that is mailed to residents. This is a great idea and it also reaches folks who are not on social media and who are not connected as others are.
Blogging: This could be a learning project for your high school English department and it would also tie into learning for your students. Running this blog would have to go through your teacher but it could be fun and positive. Make sure to highlight all the positive happenings at your school.
I am surprised that in 2020 many schools are still operating in the dark when it comes to social media and self-promoting their schools. School has changed tremendously in the past twenty years and it is important to highlight those changes and show the parents and school community all the fun and exciting learning that is occurring according to Principal Andy Jordan. Once you start sharing the positives and highlighting your school you will be surprised of the culture change you start seeing and the positive posts that will start happening on social media. It’s a great way to help turn your school around.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @principa_andy.

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How to Live Stream Basketball Games From Your Gym Written By: Principal Andy Jordan, Ed.S.

With COVID 19 restrictions schools are preparing to not allow fans and parents into their gyms for basketball and volleyball games this winter. Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health has put a restriction of 50 people per space in Illinois Schools.


Being able to stream ballgames live is a must for school districts. Here is an easy free solution to be able to do this quickly and professionally for schools.
Meet with your technology director and see if you have security cameras setup in the gym. If you do you might have to reposition one of them so it is at half court getting the basketball court in focus. Depending on the camera already in the gym you might have to switch to a wide angle camera which will allow you to record the length of the gym. You don’t want a person holding a camera having to zoom in/out and going back and forth during the game that would be a disaster and low quality.


Your next step would be downloading the free OBS Studio software onto a computer that is at least operating on an i7 processer. Make sure that you have a plugged in internet source and that you are not connected to the wireless internet. When you are streaming you want to make sure that you are plugged in to ensure there is no lag or disruption in your internet access. If you are able to, Principal Andy Jordan recommends having a 2nd camera that is focused just on the scoreboard. The OBS Studio software will allow you to pull in both camera’s off of their IP address and you can overlay the scoreboard camera on top of the feed which will allow you to watch the game and see the scoreboard at the same time.


Setup a personal YouTube account to stream your games from. If you use a school account you will run into issues if you are at a lower level and are broadcasting children over a school account. Make sure to make your YouTube channel look like your school channel and easy to find. You should do a test run before an actual game, but you should be able to stream the video from your OBS Studio software directly to your YouTube channel. Just an FYI in order to do a live YouTube stream you must verify your channel which takes up to 24 hours.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @principa_andy or by email at principalandyjordan@gmail.com

Illinois School Long-term Borrowing for Buildings Written By: Principal Andy Jordan, Ed.S.

Anytime that a school is seeking to do a bond it means that it is going to borrow money and go into debt. Typically, debt is considered a negative thing and if we can stay out of debt that is what we want to do. New construction would be one area that a school district might go into to debt in order to build a new school.
According to James Fritts Essentials of Illinois School Finance, “building bonds are used to fund land, building, and equipment costs for new schools, as well as alterations, additions, and repairs. They require a referendum.”
According to Principal Andy Jordan Illinois elementary and high school districts can borrow or be indebted up to 6.9% of their EAV (equalized assessed valuation) and unit districts can borrow up to 13.8% of their EAV. For example if you were a unit district and your EAV was ten million dollars you could borrow up to $1.38 million dollars.
Most schools that are looking to do a major building project should plan ahead of time and slowly start building up their operation and maintenance fund (40) to increase the amount of money they will have and lesson the burden on the tax payers. If you wanted to go for a larger project than what your borrowing capacity is you could do that and that is where the building bonds come into play.
In order to get a building bond passed you need to put it before the voters and they need to approve it through a referendum. Highlighting some of the negatives of what would happen if they don’t approve it and also highlighting the positives with pictures of what will happen if they approve it would be your best route to go. Some school districts hire a firm to promote the information of the building bond referendum which is legal as long as they are not using school funds to support one side of the cause. Superintendents that go out into the community and present the referendum and listen to the community tend to see more success with passing a referendum.
Passing a bond is tough. I have been fortunate enough to pass a 50 cent increase of the Ed Fund through my experience and it is no easy task. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @principa_andy or by email at principalandyjordan@gmail.com

Illinois School Long-term Borrowing for Buildings

Written By: Principal Andy Jordan, Ed.S.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anytime that a school is seeking to do a bond it means that it is going to borrow money and go into debt.  Typically, debt is considered a negative thing and if we can stay out of debt that is what we want to do.  New construction would be one area that a school district might go into to debt in order to build a new school.  

According to James Fritts Essentials of Illinois School Finance, “building bonds are used to fund land, building, and equipment costs for new schools, as well as alterations, additions, and repairs.  They require a referendum.” 

According to Principal Andy Jordan Illinois elementary and high school districts can borrow or be indebted up to 6.9% of their EAV (equalized assessed valuation) and unit districts can borrow up to 13.8% of their EAV.  For example if you were a unit district and your EAV was ten million dollars you could borrow up to $1.38 million dollars.  

Most schools that are looking to do a major building project should plan ahead of time and slowly start building up their operation and maintenance fund (40) to increase the amount of money they will have and lesson the burden on the tax payers.  If you wanted to go for a larger project than what your borrowing capacity is you could do that and that is where the building bonds come into play.  

In order to get a building bond passed you need to put it before the voters and they need to approve it through a referendum.  Highlighting some of the negatives of what would happen if they don’t approve it and also highlighting the positives with pictures of what will happen if they approve it would be your best route to go.  Some school districts hire a firm to promote the information of the building bond referendum which is legal as long as they are not using school funds to support one side of the cause.  Superintendents that go out into the community and present the referendum and listen to the community tend to see more success with passing a referendum.  

Passing a bond is tough.  I have been fortunate enough to pass a 50 cent increase of the Ed Fund through my experience and it is no easy task.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @principa_andy or by email at principalandyjordan@gmail.com  

Navigating The Illinois Teacher Evaluation Processes For Principals

Written By: Principal Andy Jordan, Ed.S.

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In Illinois teacher evaluations are required by law per Illinois Senate Bill 7.  There are some rules and steps that Illinois administrators need to make sure they follow to ensure they are conducting their evaluations properly and legally.  

When evaluating teachers you need to give them notice by the first day of school in writing that you are going to evaluate them that school year, according to Principal Andy Jordan.   Remember that non-tenured teachers are those teachers who are in their first four years of teaching and have not earned tenured rights.  

All non-tenured teachers must receive two formal evaluations and one informal evaluation.  If you are evaluating a tenured teacher they only need to receive one formal and one informal evaluation.  With each formal evaluation you need to have a pre-conference meeting and a post conference meeting with the teacher according to Principal Andy Jordan.  Most districts work out a timeframe with the teachers union and/or the PERA Joint Committee to ensure that the post conference happens within ten days of the evaluation date. 

Due to Senate Bill 7 part of the evaluation is based on the performance rating (informals and formal evaluation(s)) and the other part is based off of student growth rating.   The percentages of the performance rating and student growth ratings is set by your PERA Joint Committee.  If you are unsure what your percentages are check with your superintendent.  

Student growth practice: depending on the parameters set by your PERA Joint Committee your teachers will either have to complete a type I, type II, or type III assessment(s) to determine their student growth rating for part of their evaluation.  

Once you have completed the student growth practice ratings and the performance evaluation you pull it into a summative rating where you give your teacher a final rating.  This is where they are rated overall as a teacher.  This can be confusing for a first year administrator if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @principa_andy or by email at principalandyjordan@gmail.com  

Three Steps to Improve Your Basketball Game

Experienced school administrator Andrew Jordan most recently served as principal of West Carroll Primary School, overseeing daily operations at the pre-kindergarten through fourth grade elementary school. As a principal, Andrew Jordan has an impressive record of success, decreasing school suspension rates and improving test scores by as much as 20 percent. Outside of his educational career, Mr. Jordan enjoys a number of sports, including golf and basketball.

Basketball is an excellent pastime, both for the social aspect of the game and the great workout you receive. It requires speed, strength, and coordination to be truly great at the game. If you’re looking for ways to improve your basketball game, here are a few tips that might help.

Spend Some Time in the Gym
Most professional basketball players will advise you to keep up your basic conditioning level before you get into your basketball season. That means pushing yourself regularly, whether it’s running on a treadmill or in the great outdoors. Cardio conditioning will help you stay equipped with the stamina and speed you need to play your best on the court. While you’re working on cardio, add some weightlifting to your workout as well. During the offseason, spend some time building up your overall strength, as well as working on agility.

Use the 5 Percent Rule
Find an area of your basketball game that you consider a weakness, whether that’s in your core strength, conditioning, ball handling, or even your diet. Make a plan to focus 5 percent of your energy each day on improving just that single weak aspect of your game. It won’t take up too much of your time, but it will be enough to improve your weakness little by little every day. The results over time can be extraordinary!

Try Some One-on-One Games
This is one of the best ways to improve your game. Look for a friend who is just a little better than you at basketball and schedule some time to play them one-on-one. This type of play will help you work on every aspect of your basketball game.

Remote Learning In Education Doesn’t Work

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Remote Learning In Education Doesn’t Work

Written by: Principal Andy Jordan, Ed.S. School Administrator- 10-19-20

Many schools are starting the 2020-21 school year in full remote learning and/or hybrid models.  As we enter November 2020 we are seeing many schools switch back and forth between different models and switching back to in person learning.  

I am currently in quarter two of my first semester and we have successfully completed an entire quarter of in-person learning.  It has had some challenges and there are many different pros and cons but according to Principal Andy Jordan in person learning reaps far more benefits than remote or hybrid learning.  

Here are a few reasons why hybrid and remote learning are not as effective as in person learning and why administrators should be fighting to stay in person learning.  

Students are a creature of habit.  They need to be in the classroom and have their daily routines.  Students that have A/B or A/B/C or partial schedules are unable to manage it successfully and they are receiving less instructional time and support.  Other students are lacking the social emotional learning and the ability to connect with their peers and have a someone normal social life during this pandemic, which for some students is much needed after a total shutdown.  

Teachers do not have the time nor the resources to teach both in person and remotely during these times, according to Principal Andy Jordan.  Teachers are not prepared to equip with all the moving parts that are included with remote and hybrid learning.  Let alone how far behind they are since being shut down in March.  How can we expect to catch students up from March who are behind and also do so with less instructional time on a hybrid or remote learning schedule?  It simple can’t be done and it is not the fault of the educator, student, or parent.  

Schools should be operating for in person learning and finding solutions to make it happen.  Being able to adapt and be creative as administrators is what our communities need right now.  Being able to keep our students and staff safe is priority number one, but we should find solutions to make our school safe during these times.  

Teaching during COVID 19 and operating a school is difficult and almost impossible but we owe it to our students to be able be in person for this school year.  In some cases that is not possible, but according to Principal Andy Jordan we should turn over every stone and do our best to accommodate our students as their learning is more important now than it ever was.    

How To Turn Your School Culture Around

Written by: Andy Jordan, Ed.S. School Administrator- 10-16-20

When I took over as a building administrator I found myself in distain with what I was seeing my first couple of weeks.  Culture was rock bottom with students using profanity towards each other and even at staff members with no redirection from staff.  Here are some tips that Principal Andy Jordan used to turn around his school culture. 

  • Be visible all the time and get out of the office.  This means every passing period you are in the hallways, lunch time you are walking around the cafeteria, and before/after school you are meeting and greeting students and staff.
  • School wide assemblies monthly.  Use monthly assemblies to highlight the positives that are happening in the school and highlight individual students and staff members.  You should make these fun and include games and competitions along with music.  You can sprinkle in a guest speaker once a semester to keep the momentum going.
  • Utilize Facebook and social media to highlight what is actually happening inside the school with your students and teachers.  This will incite buy in from your community members and give your parents something to talk about with their children.
  • Send out positive weekly emails to all staff members.  Make sure to highlight a different teacher or staff member each week.  Send pictures as attachments through the email and stay positive.  According to principal Andy Jordan keeping your staff informed will go a long ways for keeping them in the loop and making them feel like they are apart of the school.
  • Highlight only the positives in your board report with pictures and lots of great information about the improvement of your building and highlighting your students and staff members.  Giving something positive for the board members to talk about while out in public is always a positive and they will appreciate it. 

Turning a school around can be tough but it can easily be done by following these five simple tricks, according to Principal Andy Jordan.  Being able to stay positive and take the hits early on as a leader will be important as staff will see your leadership and they will know that you will not waiver when it comes to school culture.   

5 Strategies for Serving your First Year Superintendent

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5 Strategies for Serving your Frist Year Superintendent

Written by: Andy Jordan, Ed.S. School Administrator- 10-18-20

The world of education spans far and wide and so do its leaders who take the helm as superintendent.  How do embrace your new boss as a school principal makes all the difference how your relationship will go that year and beyond.  Here are five quick strategies for principals to use when getting a new boss.

  • Be able to read your superintendent and figure out quickly what his strengthens and weaknesses are and what type of personality they have.  Some superintendents lead by power and complete control and others lead from afar building your skills and leading you.  If you have a superintendent that needs the attention and complete control you should be concerned and plan your days strategically. 
  • Highlight the positives and successes in your building as much as possible.  If you don’t use social media start doing so and highlighting everything that is qualitative.  According to principal Andy Jordan using Facebook and Twitter as your social media platform will quickly grow your culture in your building.  If negatives come up and they are not a district wide concern make sure to squash them and don’t let it get out of your building.  
  • Recognize and highlight the superintendent whenever you can.  For example, if you are sending a weekly update to staff say something nice about your superintendent and his leadership and make sure to BCC him on the email.  A few of those per month will start building trust and rapport with your superintendent, especially if he is a personality that needs the attention and needs to be in control. 
  • Weed out the negative.  Don’t say anything negative about him to anybody.  One negative comment or remark in the school setting could catch fire and get back to him.  Same thing goes for communication through email and chat messenger.  Don’t say anything negative about him, but instead drop a few positives with his name to different people.  This will protect you for when your superintendent decides to go through your emails and search his name.  If you don’t think this happens you are wrong, most superintendents go through their principals emails and messages to gain information about what is going on.  
  • Win the day.  Everyday in the principal position you are under fire and being attacked by many different angels.  Don’t let it get to you and do your best everyday.  If your superintendent has district wide initiatives you do them tenaciously and you win the day. 

There are many struggles as a principal, but according to Principal Andy Jordan you need to keep your head up and don’t let your highs get to high and your lows get to low.  Be able to have some other administrators on call and be ready to ask for help if needed.   There are enough people that make your job tough don’t allow your superintendent to be one of them. 

Effective COVID 19 Strategies for Administrators to Implement for In Person Learning

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Written by: Andy Jordan, Ed.S. School Administrator- 8-23-20

Since March of 2020 schools have been rocked and forced to adapt due to COVID-19 and remote learning.  One thing schools have learned is that remote learning is not as effective as in person learning and our at risk students are more likely to be left behind.  Andy Jordan school principal shares his tips and strategies that can be implemented by other small schools.  

Classroom Social Distancing

Make sure to have your desks spaced out as close to 6 feet apart as possible.  One strategy principal Andy Jordan has implemented is removing all flexible seating in classrooms and replacing it with traditional desks facing the same direction.  

Cafeteria

Remove traditional cafeteria tables and shift flexible seating from teachers classrooms into the cafeteria.  According to Andy Jordan principal this will help with storage within the school building.  If you have extra gym space convert your gym into a makeshift second cafeteria.  This will allow schools to have two lunch locations, maintain social distancing, and allow for less than 50 persons in one space.  

Hallway Traffic

Principal Andy Jordan has a middle school and high school in one building.  He was able to shift the middle school schedule three minutes later in the day to allow high schoolers to have their own three minute passing period and then the middle schoolers were able to pass after them.  This allowed for a reduction of 50% hallway traffic during passing periods.  As an extra precaution principal Andy Jordan also rotated the lockers around the building to space them 6 feet apart on three different floors increasing social distancing yet again.  

Wearing Masks

According to the Illinois State Board of Education students and staff must wear a mask that covers both their mouth and nose while inside the school building at all times, unless they are eating lunch socially distanced.  Principal Andy Jordan recommends providing school logo masks to students for free and to also allow students to bring and decorate their own mask.  This will help build trust and culture with your students and staff.

Praise the Positive

According to Principal Andy Jordan’s leadership blog, highlighting the positives will be crucial for getting through tough in person learning during COVID 19.   Being a leader that highlights positives in your building and praising you staff and students will be key to keeping morale high during uncertain times.