As we wind down another school year it is important that we take a look at the reality of what our principals are really expected to do in this new world of public education.
Many people think that the role of the principal is to only be the educational leader of their school. Others add to this the needs of the school and the community that it represents and to manage its resources.
If this were all that principals were to do, their plates would truly be full. But let us take a look at what a principal is fully required to do in their day-to-day lives.
A principal takes care of, in no special order: literacy, activities, senior trips, federal mandates, class sizes, grading policies, achievement gaps, detention/student and staff discipline, substitutes, covering classes when a substitute teacher is not available, prom, textbooks, high poverty rates, immigration concerns, hall duty/bathrooms, helping hand to custodians, stray animals, fire/intruder/active shooter/bomb/lock down/shelter in place drills, computer glitches, 500 e-mails in one morning, parents, unscheduled visitors, open door policy, bus driver, media, bullying, parking, assessment, dress codes, student council and other leadership groups in the school, honors/AP/IB curriculums, common core, PTA, budgets, SAT/ACT and other testing, standard based assessments, social media, maintenance (like flooding in the bathrooms), weather concerns, bullying, differentiated instruction, IDEA, RTI, suspensions, lunch duty, leadership, test scores, ELL, graduation, tardies, student issues like “can’t find my locker, or my locker doesn’t open,” field trips, sporting activities and trips, AYP, snow days, drop-outs, teen pregnancy, data-based decisions, staff, K-16 education, assistant principals and their school leadership teams, central office, board members, PED, coaching, virtual learning, advisers, summer school, hormones, bell schedules, language barriers, school safety, teacher observations, family life education, construction, senior pranks, NCLB, grounds, vacancies, early dismissal, homecoming, texting, cell phones, athletics, spirit week, pep rallies, ADHD, walk-throughs, transitions, final exams, smoke bombs and other classroom/school disruptions, emergency procedures, IEP’s, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 6 days a week, and the list goes on.
Next time you see a principal thank them for all that they do for you, your children and the community. Also when you hear all of the negative talk about your school, take a minute to reflect on what the expectations are for them. The pressures and requirements of the job are getting to be more and more each year. What do we really want to see for our schools?
Let’s not listen anymore to the rhetoric that is being promoted by special interest groups that want us to believe that are schools are failing. Instead let us look at ways that will address the myriad of concerns within our schools.
There are answers to our schools’ problems. Unfortunately the answers are not easy.
Take the time to know what is really going on in your school. Meet your teachers and principals. Ask them the hard questions that you may have and expect them to work with you in addressing and solving them.
The vast majority of the principals in our state are there for you and your student. Embrace the opportunity to work with them for the betterment of your school.