From the Top
We have a new Principal. She seems nice enough, if a bit young. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have the feeling that our school needs a strong leader, someone who knows how they want things to be. And it seems that strength and vision comes primarily from experience.
On the other hand, our old principal was mostly hands off (except when it came to technology). Not bad (and Oh, I’ve worked for some bad principals), but not great either. It seems that at worst, the new one will be a lateral step. At best, she may just be biding time and getting a feel for what she has to work with, and end up knocking our socks off. For now, I think she’s earned the benefit of the doubt.
Along with the new principal comes new management in the form of Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership 4 Los Angeles Schools. The most obvious upfront change is that every administrator will be expected to observe classrooms for three hours a day1. Over the course of a year, that’s 540 hours. Five administrators at our school makes for 2700 hours of observation. Split that up among slightly over 100 teachers, and I can expect to have someone watching me for about 25 hours this year.
Last year, despite repeated invitations, I got maybe a total of an hour. I look forward to the change, if for no other reason than that our administration may develop a better sense for what’s happening in our classrooms, and how our students (fail to) learn.
There are also rumors of a dress code for teachers. One concerned colleague worried that she might be prohibited from wearing jeans. If it’s a good enough rule for the students, shouldn’t it also be good for the teachers?
Every 6th grade student will take AVID. If it takes, it’ll be a huge benefit – they’ll learn to have an expectation that they need to show up ready to work. On the other hand, we’ll need to train everyone at the school to reinforce that expectation, everywhere.
We’re going schoolwide with the pearson learning teams. I think that’ll be good too, though it may tae a couple of years to pay off. I hope it stays around.
And finally, hopefully, our Safe&Civil will get a higher profile. It’s had limited success in the past, but I still think that school wide discipline is the lynchpin for any success or failure we might have, and this is a way to achieve that without the usual referral/suspension fight.
1 This is a huge change. I think something more along the lines of Scott’s resolution might have been in order, but I’ll take this if it gets followed through on.