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MsBTexas MsBTexas is offline
 
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Overeager New Principal
Old 07-28-2019, 09:56 PM
 
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So we have a new principal starting at my school this year! I have already met with her multiple times because she's pretty enthusiastic about starting a student Youtube Live broadcast (so am I), and I will be the teacher to lead it (half my classes are the journalism classes, half reading). She seems extremely kind and is VERY energetic! However, we've talked about many ideas for various other school things, and her ideas/plans are just SO over the top. I know I'm just whining here and will surely just try to go with the flow when push comes to shove--but I am dreading what my colleagues are going to have to go through from the plans she's shared about our first day of PD! How do you guys deal with overeager principals? Basically, it seems like she's trying to fix/change things that simply aren't broken or a true priority (lordy, we talked forever about decorating the front office for some reason ).


Haha, rant over. I just love reading all your input and own similar experiences with this sort of stuff!


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Haley23 Haley23 is online now
 
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:38 AM
 
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Hopefully this person will burn herself out quickly and switch to focusing on only a few things. People are going to get upset if she comes in and tries to change everything without acknowledging the things that may be successful already. It sounds like you're feeling pretty comfortable with her- if you think she would take it okay, I might try saying something about how she'll get more buy in from the staff if she takes input about what's working already and then works on tweaking the biggest issues.

We got a new P a couple of years ago now. She did come in with the idea that she wasn't going to come in and just change everything, but she had some pretty strong opinions in some areas. One that she was absolutely certain she could "fix" was behavior. She came from a school that was higher poverty than ours (ours is still high poverty), but her previous school had a very high EL and refugee population. She thought her previous school was "harder" than ours and therefore the issues at our school would be easily fixed. The thing is- ELs and refugees tend to be very nice and compliant. She was in for a world of shock when students started at my school. She kept saying over and over, "I've never seen kids act like this!"

She came out with all of these new plans and initiatives. The good news is, some of them worked. She really enforced the idea of using common language and expectations for behavior, and overall having a more structured and predictable environment. Those changes have helped big time. Other ideas were completely off the wall. She started with the idea that if a student just wasn't responding to anything the teacher tried, she or the AP would come sit with the student in class until they got their act together. They found out on about day 2 that was totally unrealistic- every classroom would need this all day long as there are several "high flyers" in every single room- not just a couple in the whole school. She had several ideas like this one that were abandoned pretty quickly.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:30 AM
 
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My guess is she’s going to 1) realize her gung ho ideas aren’t realistic and 2) hit some pretty strong pushback.

I think the smartest new principals spend the first year not making new changes. They observe, see what the situation is, what really needs to change and who the players are and start making changes in year 2.

Hopefully she’ll settle down.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:13 AM
 
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I've also heard and experienced new principals spending the first year "watching" and the following year mixing things up to their preferences. Teachers usually go with the flow for a short time and let the principal be the one to discover which things just don't work, then the teachers usually appear to voice their concerns.

We had a live broadcast each morning that came over the tv sets in the classroom of our school only-no youtube thing. Each week, some students from each classroom in the school gave announcements, the pledge, read the lunch menu, gave the weather report. Not every student spoke, but all did the pledge as a group. It went very well! Students liked seeing their peers on the classroom TV, and the kids looked forward to their time being on TV.
The hardest thing was to get that week's group of kids down to the room where it all took place. They ended up letting each week's students know ahead of time when they would be on TV for the week, plus they'd call them on the loudspeaker a few mins before the morning program ran. The teachers were fine with the whole routine! Hope you have fun with your plans!

Just go with the flow.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:38 AM
 
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Haley - She did send an email when she first got hired not long ago asking a few specific questions-- one being what are the three top things we think the school needs to work on. I'm not sure how many responses she got, but she did tell me that the biggest thing people who responded said was that there wasn't as big of a family culture in the school as they'd like. I agree with that, but I'm not sure her first day PD ideas are going to achieve that. A family feeling is not something you can force I don't think. She wants to put the staff in groups on the first day and they each come up with their answers to "what my school means to me," and then I video each group to be able to splice them together to make one big video. Also, she wants to have a staff pep rally in which the department heads announce their team and we run through some sort of tunnel like a sports team. I see the sentiment, but we have SO Many introverts on staff that would just NOT enjoy this. I'm terrified as to how they will react! Last year, our principal set up a camp gladiator session and sprung that upon the staff to try and achieve the same results (a family atmosphere). That did NOT go over well! Whatever happened to letting people socialize and get to know each other in a more natural way?! Haha.



LazyLake - I did a YT Live daily broadcast at my previous school (4th/5th/6th graders did it), and it went over pretty well. The kids liked it, but we had a REALLY hard time getting all the teachers to tune in each day, and some would outright just not do it, so their kiddos didn't hear any announcements. At this school, I'm not sure yet if we will be doing daily live video announcements or maybe just starting with once a week. I think she wants a more practiced feel to it, so I will be auditioning kiddos and forming a few teams (probably mostly kids in my journalism classes!). I am so thrilled, but at the same time, she has sooooo many ideas for random things in the school, and I also teach a core subject, so I've got other fish to fry no doubt!



GreyHound - Do you think the pushback would set her up for failure though? Like, would she be able to still win the staff over if there's some royal screw ups in the beginning? Haha, I feel like teachers are hard to impress sometimes (which is why I told her flat out that NO I would not be leading any PD sessions when she asked!)


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Old 07-29-2019, 10:15 PM
 
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My principal of six years usually comes at us with a few things like that on our first PD staff meeting. A couple of months later, she tosses them because reality once again sits in.
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Give her a chance
Old 07-30-2019, 02:26 PM
 
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Yeah, her ideas might be so over the top, but just go with the flow at first. Build a relationship with her as a staff, and try not to complain too much! It might actually be good (decorating the front office-). If it gets to be too much, you will then have enough of a relationship built that you can say, "whoa there...too much".

The best principal I ever worked for was like this, and he didn't have the support of ALL the staff, unfortunately. But for those who wanted to go over the top, the opportunity was there!
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:20 PM
 
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...and then I video each group to be able to splice them together to make one big video
I'll be the one hiding in the rest room until this videoing (aka torture to me) is over. Do you think my excuse (that my mom didn't sign the release) will fly?
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Haley23 Haley23 is online now
 
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:33 PM
 
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Also, she wants to have a staff pep rally in which the department heads announce their team and we run through some sort of tunnel like a sports team.
This idea is literally horrifying to me. Last year, one of the other elementary schools got a new P and she kept making them do this call and response cheer complete with dance moves at the district kick off. I looked at my P and said, "I'd quit." Luckily, P shares my attitude on things like this!
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