I like the new principal. Upbeat, high-energy, hitting the perky-scale at a reasonably high but not toxic level, she seems motivated and carries a whiff of little-bit-crazy which Title I principals need. She’s brunette, athletic, attractive and relatively young. I sense some steel in that fine-boned backbone.
She is also my 11th principal in 9 years of teaching. I’m cheating a bit here. I worked under co-principals in two schools, the first a pair of retired guys who were working around the rule that retired educators can only work a certain number of days per year without affecting their pensions, the second a turn-around team brought in to rescue a school that frankly wasn’t broken, not for an alternative high school anyway.
Eduhonesty: I’m feeling a bit depressed this morning. I like the new Principal. I loved the previous guy, though, and he had been my principal for a remarkable four years.
We put our students and teachers through too many changes. Fixing a school’s climate takes time. Building random staff into a team takes time. I have watched the positive changes in the classrooms and hallways. Hallways have become safe and relatively orderly. Classrooms are in sync, teaching the same curriculum at approximately the same time. Educators are working together for the good of the school. My school has been making great progress. But the test numbers did not rise as demanded.
We change principals, superintendents, administration and teachers frantically nowadays to shove test numbers up. Unfortunately, all these changes themselves undoubtedly hold the desired numbers down. Consistency and an aligned curriculum can improve learning, but not if the vision of what these terms means changes on an annual basis. We will have a new system now as the Principal brings in her well-meaning reforms. I am not sure how she will impact the curriculum. I just know that all this change moves us back more often than it moves us forward, even when new administrators bring great ideas to the table.
Maybe I need to perk up. Our new Principal deserves a chance. I’ve just seen this change too many times: I’ve never yet seen any academic miracle from that change.