How to run a school

Paraprofessionals, custodial staff and office staff are interviewed before they start working in the school.

  • All the outside staff and contractors are hired by the board in a process involving tenders and RFPs.
  • Assistant to the principal and vice-principals may oversee other departments like kindergarten or special education and in general be a co-administrator to the principal.
  • The principal should train and mentor the assistant or vice-principal to take up the position once he/she retires.
  • Sharing of responsibilities and delegation should be done at every level.

Even with the economic downturn and the looming class-size increase, community comes together for support.

  • Libraries adopt the schools and allow groups of students to read their books.
  • Banks and book stores give away 1000s of books and $5000 in money to help develop the library.

    What makes a school special is its community. In some states, schools are specified an attendance area, an area on the map from which a school can admit its students. Some schools also admit some students with a special permit: children of parents who worked or had day care in the school area.

    Volunteers are very important for schools. They have flexibility, but managing their schedules and utilizing their help is a full time job and mostly a teacher is put in charge of their day to day coordination.

    • Good schools have good volunteers.
    • They have booster clubs (however humble the beginnings), room parents (who are identified by the teacher to act as the single point contact with all the other parents of the room.).
    • Good schools celebrate local games and ethnic new years along with their communities.
    • Other community events include: Hiring staff
    • Volunteering at the library
    • Grant writing
    • English Language Advisory Committee
    • Annual events and Movie nights (where the school baby sits and parents have the night to themselves).

       

    The Principal, like the CEO of a medium sized company, has to be the driving force to bring about change in the school. Good principals increase parent involvement, recruit good volunteers and are the change they want to see. Some principals mentor other schools and maintain relations with schools abroad.

    From the teacher’s point of view, it looks like a post of power. But, a principal cannot get much done if everyone in the school is not tied in to the idea.

    • The principal has to have everyone believe in him/her, have the power of persuasion and influence.
    • They have to be facilitators and collaborators, building trust and respect.
    • Principals need to be good listeners, to entice the staff to share their ideas and suggestions.
    • They need to draw parallels from the corporate world and other jobs they have held.

    The state board hires teachers in a centralized recruitment process. Then committees of individual schools can interview the teachers and select them. The committee is made up of the principal, a parent and an administrator from the board. Some good schools have teachers who went to the same school. When the teachers are selected, they are told about the culture of the school to see if they are a good fit. So, teachers do not give resistance while collaborating and planning for school events.

    Schools for Advanced Studies have a responsibility towards gifted children. In some schools, 20% are identified as gifted and a few more have special needs. For students with learning disabilities, special day classes with teachers with special education credentials are held. These students need that kind of support. When the general education teachers too are patient, kind and collaborative, it makes the special needs students feel cared for.

    Though the state standards are followed, intelligent teachers can adapt the curriculum and modify it. Schools for advanced studies especially have to modify the curriculum to help their gifted and talented students.

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