Splitting A Principal
By Alex Saitta
Apri 1, 2017
I read the news story the principal of Dacusville Elementary is leaving the end of the year and the principal of Dacusville Middle will split her time between the two schools next year. That is, the two schools will share one principal.
Sure it will save a bit of money. Closing Holly Springs Elementary saved some money too, but it was the best performing school in the county. Dumb. And it seems all the board members just went along with this decision too -- half a principal at one of our largest elementary schools (625 students). When the aim is unity above all, no one questions even obviously bad decisions.
Second to classroom teachers, the principal is the most important person in the school. If they want to save money, they shouldnít be spending $2 million on more administration buildings. Or how about dialing back all the teacher training seminars that most find unhelpful or cut down the number of teacher coaches and observers who take up valuable teacher prep and planning time and have zapped faculty morale.
If the superintendent/ board is dead-set in splitting a principal between these two schools, they must explain to the parents why, the benefits of, solicit parent input and answer parent questions. That hasnít happened. Parent buy-in is needed before the district tries something as experimental as this.
The stated aim is to strengthen the leadership at lower performing schools and this school is not performing up to expectations, yet the district offered a contract to the principal? And she just decided to leave on her own? A young principal, with a history at the school? Likely there was more to the story here. The principal is the primary liaison to parents and the community. The what happened, and why, plus the leadership changes at the school all need to be explained or parents will be unhappy or left questioning like they did all over Facebook. One of the reasons you donít see such frank explanations of what happened and why, is the district office never publicly recognizes if something hasnít gone well. Never casts anything in a bad light. So you end up with these surreal situations where the past or what truly happened isnít discussed and this new person just shows up -- or in this case a half a person just shows up. And everyone looking on is like, what just happened here?