Principal effects seemed fitting for this blog title as I have very high expectations and hopes for myself as I wrap up my first year, of hopefully many, as an elementary principal. I truly hope that each day I have an “effect” on the students and staff that cross the threshold of school. The biggest effects I hope to have are on academic achievement of course but I also hope to impact the school climate and attitudes that students have about school. These little people are the true gateway to the community and stakeholders. If students feel positively about school and enjoy their experience they take that home to their family and pass that on to the future generations. I hope to use this blog to serve as a resource not only for administrators but for teachers as well. So here goes….
My initial focus at the beginning of the year was on establishing relationships with staff and students which would eventually bring parents into the picture. To start with the staff I keep a file with short notes of various information I pick up, like children, grandchildren, illnesses, etc. I also surveyed the staff during the in-service prior to school starting with a few simple questions such as name, family members, birth date, favorite snack, and favorite drink. So then on the staff member's birthday I use this information and give them their favorites as a gift. It's a small gesture to show they are important on a personal level to me.
To establish relationships with the students I tried very hard to get to know all of the students' names (160 students at two elementary sites) within the first month. I accomplished this by hanging out with the students at some recesses, often helping monitor the lunchroom, and visiting the classroom some. Looking back, I could have accomplished this same feet by sitting in the classrooms more often than what I did. I also visited each classroom the first day to introduce myself and give the students a little information about myself. I talked about how much I appreciate hard work on schoolwork and how much I liked good behavior. I also told them about the chance to visit my office on their birthday to get a treat from the principal.
Establishing those relationships served me well. Teachers were of course asked about the "new principal" and the students went home and talked about me so parents inadvertently were getting to know about me as well.