Monday, February 14, 2011

Schooling Aspiring Principals in Clark

This from the Winchester Sun:

Clark County Schools Superintendent Elaine Farris has had many mentors as she has progressed through the educational system at the school, district and state level.

Because of that, she said, she knows the importance of grooming individuals who are looking to move up and someday become administrators...

Farris started an Aspiring Principals Cadre this year for individuals within the school system who want to someday become principals.

Ten teachers and district personnel responded to her call and have been meeting with Farris, Barbara Disney, a former principal and Providence Elementary School principal Brenda Considine once a month since August.

One of their first tasks was to review the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISSLC) standards for school administrators, then assess where they were on those standards and create a professional growth plan to work toward...

“Principals are no longer building managers. The ones who are more instructionally focused and have the expertise and knowledge and can improve student performance are the ones who are being hired now,” Farris said.

The training and experience the class members are gaining will serve them well whether they decide to go on and become a principal or not, Farris said.

“I don’t care whether it’s high school, middle or elementary school, being a principal in the 21st century is a tough job. Maybe some of them might decide after this that they don’t want to be a principal,” Farris said. “But when these individuals go back into their schools and have developed these skills, even if they don’t become principals, they can take those leadership skills and that perspective back to their schools and be even better leaders in their buildings.” ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a teacher and a sometimes contributor, I have some advice for aspiring principals: if you don't support your staff, they will not give you their full allegiance. Your teachers, most of them, at least, will continue to do their jobs, but a teacher's loss of trust has far reaching implications for a principal. (I'll let Richard share that with you)

Let me give you reasons why I cannot give my principal my complete allegiance. First, mine tends to be wishy-washy on the rules. For example, I was told by our principals that we confiscate cell phones when they are "out" in accordance with board policy. A few weeks back I confiscated a cell phone that was in a student's hands during class. I even checked with the SAFE staff officer to check that I was doing the right thing when I confiscated it. My principal then said, "You should not have taken the phone unless the student was talking or texting on it." Board policy was the exact opposite.

Second, always say something good about a staff member in front of a hostile parent. A colleague of mine was verbally attacked for something he said to a student a few weeks ago. The parents were upset and were calling the teacher (a colleague with a good reputation) a slew of names. Not once did the principal step in to defend the teacher. It was an ugly situation and the faculty member did not feel supported at all.

Third, visit your teachers' classrooms. I have seen my principal pop in only during practice testing or for evalauation. Most of the time she is in the office. Interaction with students and teachers is limited. Principals should stop in a teacher's classroom at least once a week. My principal is not an instructional leader.

Fourth, listen to your teachers when diversity issues arise. I came to my principal about a white student who had a problem with another teacher, and I had strong suspicions that the white student had a problem with that teacher's race. When I approached the issue of race, the white principal immediately made excuses for the student's behavior and implied this was the reason for the negative behavior. The minority teacher felt completely demoralized.

Fifth, watch what you say to teachers. At our school, we are focusing on academic rigor. When a student complained about me course to a principal, the principal
said I was too rigorous! What does it mean to be "too rigorous?"

Sixth, watch what you say to students. On several occasions, I have heard principals say to kids such absurdities as "When I was your age I hated reading, but reading is important" or "I can't make you do your homework." What messages do these send to students?

Being a principal is hard today, but you must support your faculty.