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   >> Quackenbush's

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Garibaldi
100+ posts
01/28/08 12:33 AM
Qualities of a good school

I thought about posting this earlier, but decided against it as I didn't want it to seem I was fishing for ideas to talk about in an interview. The post on the Austin High School Principal pushed me to post though.

I am applying for the Principal position at the high school I currently teach at. Being only 26 years old and with limited experience in the role of an administrator, I know the battle is uphill, but think I can bring a new perspective and a mixture of innovative and basic changes to a high school.

The community is pretty much a blue collar town, high poverty, crime, and drug rates. We're slowly turning the corner, but its a big challenge, especially considering the average ACT score is at a 19 right now.

What are qualities of a good school? What ways did you see your high school, or a high school, help kids that really didn't feel the need to learn? What did you expect out of your teachers, principal, or school, that you might not have ever gotten?

Just looking for some different viewpoints.





That was the story of the lion.

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Napoleon
1000+ posts
01/28/08 07:46 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

1) Small Classes


A bad school can have small classes as well, but I good school can't have really big ones.



2) At the private school I went to growing up, every morning about 8 to 10 students would "check-in" for about 10 minutes with an "advisor" (8:00am-8:10am). And "advisor" was just a teacher responsible for keeping track of who was present before school started and who was absent. But when a student was having problems with grades, the advisor was also the one to ask questions, offer advice... simply be there. It was a teacher/mentor that the student was around every down outside of a classroom setting and could develop a trust with.

When I ended up at a public school for part of high school, there were 3 Advisors for over 1,000 Students.


In summary: Small Classes & Personal Attention

If a student feels like a number (like at UT), it is not going to spur their interest in succeeding. They have to know that someone is pulling for them and will be there if they need help.

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Woland
1000+ posts
01/28/08 07:54 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

As a principal, if you can foster an environment where the teachers feel like they have a stake in the school, where they are innovators in education and learning is teacher-driven, you are golden.

I'll add more later.




Beer - the grease on the wheels of collaboration.


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Sangre NaranjadaSponsor
10,000+ posts
01/28/08 09:40 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

You absolutely must get strong parental involvement. If the parents buy in to what you're doing then most of them will snap their kids into line.




"going to aggyland is about as glorious as a thorough proctology exam" - Horns83 8/1/07

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iamtigerwoods
2500+ posts
01/28/08 09:52 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

Sangre is right on. It is all about getting the parents involved.

Spend less money on technology. Spend more on finding ways to get parents involved. Host free dinners/lunches at the school on a monthly/bi-monthly basis for parents catered by some place they would actually eat from(ie: no school cafeteria food). Have prizes for parents who attend the most, etc. Do what it takes to get mom/dad active in their child's school.




If you can tickle yourself it may be a sign of mental illness

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ShinerChESponsor
250+ posts
01/28/08 10:03 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

Motivated teachers, involved parents, and discipline. The first two should be able to take care of the third. In terms of actually learning at school critical thinking and the application of concepts should be the prime objective.

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Woland
1000+ posts
01/28/08 10:24 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

Keep your focus student-centered. If you are fair and parents feel you are truly keeping THEIR student's learning and welfare in mind, they will accept your decisions.

Communicate, communicate, and over-communicate.

Never forget that your administrative assistant is actually the most important person on campus.

Make your campus data driven. Education is a process, and that process should continually improve. Get everyone on board to this idea.

Don't make standardized tests the end-all. Your school can improve and still not see immediate improvement in scores. Be patient. Don't forget, sometimes it only takes 2-3 kids to make a difference in how your school is evaluated.




Beer - the grease on the wheels of collaboration.


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Summerof79
1000+ posts
01/28/08 10:58 AM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

parental involvement... that's it in a nutshell.

You will find this to be the lynchpin of good school and the bain of poorly performing schools. Now the problem in parental involvement is that in poor schools the paretns are often working every waking hour just to survive, so getting additional parental involvement is TOUGH.

This to me is why "vouchers" are just so much smoke and mirrors. The parent who has the time and inclination to find a way to get their kid halfway across town is going to be the same one that will get involved at their childs present school. All vouchers do is have some schools made up entirely of kids whose folks are not invovlved and don't care to a large degree. As well as of course allow those already paying for private school to get a state subsidy for the expense.

If I were pitching for the job you have to be 1) able to point at success in your own classroom 2) have numerous parents willing to write letters or commendation/reccomendation 3) provide a unique vision of private public partnership to help in getting additional parental involvement. Without a plan for greater parental involvement any gains will be temporary and fleeting.

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Beamwalker
1000+ posts
01/28/08 01:27 PM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

Plaid skirts and white button up shirts. I had no idea how good I had it at highschool everyday. Then I got to college, where the girls were so hot, but looked like [censored] every morning in sweatpants or shorts minus makeup and care.




Everyone Loves a German Girl

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Larry T. Spider
1000+ posts
01/28/08 01:39 PM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Beamwalker]

Im a teacher and I will admit that there is nothing that I can do that is as important as what is going on at home. Parental involvement is the most important issue facing 90% of schools that I have seen. If you keep parents involved you will see less stressed out teachers. How you do that at the high school level, I have no idea. I know how elementary schools work, but you couldnt pay me enough to get me to try to turn around a poor high school with low parent involvement. My hat is off to you for being willing to take it on.




I f-ing hate OU.

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jmatt
2500+ posts
01/28/08 02:50 PM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

The others have covered the most obvious stuff.

I would suggest cultivating pride in your school is also incredibly important. If the kids (and their parents) are proud of the school, everything else is MUCH easier to accomplish.

This is, of course, much easier in single-school towns. And also much easier said than done. It's also much easier if there are "roots" with the parents (aka they went to the same school).

Use anything and everything that will help in this. Every accomplishment by a student inside or outside the school (UIL, science, photography, art, music, etc competitions for instance) should be recognized. If a kid gets a poem published or wins a scholarship, make sure that's noted.

Go out and look for grants, scholarships, programs, etc that can be brought into your school (research them first, you don't want some Scientology or other whacko group influencing your kids).

Stuff ike that.




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naijahorn
10,000+ posts
01/28/08 02:53 PM
Re: Qualities of a good school [re: Garibaldi]

Corporal punishment.




I found that things became alot easier when I'm no longer expected to win,
You abandon your masterpiece and sink into the real masterpiece
-- Leonard Cohen

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