From the Principals’ Perspective

It is no surprise to anyone who works closely with school districts that most still find that their budgets do not stretch far enough. Our annual survey of K-12 principals confirmed that again this year. However, the survey also allows us to spot early trends and anticipate the impact of changing conditions and circumstances in schools and districts across the country – positive and negative. This year’s survey reaffirmed that principals still play a large role in deciding which products and services are purchased for their schools, even if purchasing happens at the district level.
This means that segmenting the market for your product offers is still critical to success as you inform decision makers and influencers about solutions and services to solve their unique district challenges.
In our current survey, many principals are preoccupied with increasing numbers of students with special needs; teacher recruitment and retention; student readiness; and attendance. On the other hand, positive trends include technology integration; career and technical education (CTE) advances; the successful transition to higher learning standards; and increased college and career readiness.

Some of the highlights from this year’s report include:

  • 56% believe their district leaders understand how ESSA will impact their school’s funding.
  • 35% are investing in devices, bandwidth, and Wi-Fi infrastructure.
  • 5% report devices as their leading technology expenditure.
  • 2% have sufficient bandwidth for simultaneous online assessments.
  • 6% noted an improvement of teacher morale year over year.
  • 4% think their districts are moving in the right direction in their policies around student data security.
  • 1% implemented new safety procedures at their schools.
  • 4% installed new security systems.

College and Career Readiness

Principals noted the increasing interest for alternative career paths in expanded career and technical education (CTE) initiatives. CTE is almost universally seen as positive as many educators understand that a college degree is not the best choice for every student. The resurgence of interest in CTE is likely the result of thousands of skilled jobs going unfilled while many college graduates are underemployed.
Even with the transition to higher learning standards across the country, too many high school graduates still find themselves unprepared to handle the rigors of college work. So an ongoing commitment to raising college and career readiness standards is a prudent strategy for schools and districts. Principals are aware that strengthening college and career options for students will give many young people a stronger and brighter future.

How to Contact Principals

As site managers, principals are busy people focused primarily on the management of their faculties, students, and facilities. We asked principals the best way to contact them. The overwhelming majority (78.8%) of principals state their preference for learning about new products is email. Only 1% want to be contacted by phone and only 2.5% what a personal visit from a vendor. This reinforces the intensity of their workday and the difficulty of getting their attention. However, email campaigns have gotten more sophisticated and are effective at delivering a differentiated message to principals and other district influencers.

 

There is much more detail about principals’ goals, concerns, and celebrations in the full report. By working with MCH as we track trends, opportunities, and data developments in the K-12 market, you’ll stay on top of the critical elements that contribute to growing your business successfully.