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Career Story: Elementary School Principal At A Public School

Elementary School Principal At A Public School

Job Title: Elementary School Principal

Type of Company: I work for a suburban school district in the Boston area.

Education: BA in Sociology/Education, Dartmouth College •• M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, Lesley College (now University)

Previous Experience: I taught 6th and 8th grade in two different Massachusetts' school systems for a total of 10 years. I then worked as a Language Arts Coordinator, K-12 for a regional school district in Massachusetts for five years.

Job Tasks: I oversee the daily functioning of an elementary school. At the "big picture" level, set the direction of the school as far as core values and setting goals for our work with students.

I hire, supervise and evaluate teachers and assistants and plan staff development for teachers that helps us move toward our goals on our School Improvement Plan (our plan for continuous improvement). Staff development is in areas of curriculum, instruction and school improvement. Sometimes I do the staff development myself; other times I have staff members or other city staff provide the staff development.

I work closely with the PTO to organize meetings that meet parents' informational needs and to support their fundraising efforts. I advise the PTO on setting up their budget and prioritizing their spending.

I co-chair the School Council (made of parents and teachers) as we write and implement the yearly School Improvement Plan. I chair various school-based committees including the Crisis Committee and the Faculty Advisory Council (plans staff meetings). I attend school based committee meetings such as The Respect for Human Differences Committee.

I chair our special education team which meets with parents of students who have individual education plans to ensure that we create a program that meets students' needs.

I determine spending priorities at the school, needing to approve all expenditures.

I oversee the determination of the weekly schedule for students.

I plan monthly all-school meetings for the school community during which classes and individual students share what they are learning in school with the whole community.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: Working closely with excellent teachers and with new teachers who are working hard to become excellent. Getting to know terrific kids and families and supporting the students in school.

Worst: There is so much work to do that it is difficult to limit the work day/year to a reasonable number of hours/days.

Job Tips:
1. Teach for several years (in different grades if possible) before pursuing the principalship. This will give you credibility and will help you to recognize effective and ineffective teaching.

2. Become familiar with collecting, analyzing and acting on data on student acheivement. Using data to improve student learning is where it's at.

3. Make sure that you can write and speak clearly and effectively.

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