Happy New Year colleagues!
Throughout my 12 years as a building administrator, education and administration have dramatically changed. At the start of my educational career the emphasis was on cutting, reducing expenses, and doing more with less. Fast-forward to now where there is a surplus of money coming into schools unlike any other time during my career. At the same time, we are going through a global pandemic, managing teacher and sub shortage, coping with school tragedy, improving school safety all while pivoting from in-person to virtual learning. We have these new challenges and are still handling all of the other responsibilities that come with our positions.
With all of the changes and questioning of what should be our priorities, it is important to trust yourself. We work in highly critical positions and standing up for ourselves and the decisions we make is as important as ever. Our day is different than it was four or five years ago and we have to be okay with adapting to our new norm and priorities. Trust yourself in supporting your teachers and their needs, even if it upsets others. Trust yourself when standing up to community members who are questioning you. Trust yourself when making difficult health-related decisions. Trust yourself when taking longer than the normal getting back to a concerned parent. Changing norms and priorities creates a natural atmosphere for questioning yourself. Trust yourself that the work you are doing, when you are doing it, is the right decision for your building.
The additional funds available to all of us allows for new program implementation. The challenge for new programs is that they are expected to provide a quick fix for learning loss, social/emotional needs, and increased disciplinary referrals. Trust yourself in implementing programs/interventions that have been properly vetted, when staff and students are ready for them, coupled with the time for appropriate staff training. Even the best programs when implemented with a high degree of fidelity, take time to show improvements. I think you know what is coming next… trust yourself that the work you have put in before selecting and implementing a new program will achieve the intended results.
As we move into the second half of the school year I suspect we are all behind in a variety of areas including teacher observations, taking the time to build relationships with staff and students, data collection, and program implementation. The list goes on and on. Our new normal is certainly challenging; however, it is our ability to adapt, plan, prioritize, and lead in the most challenging time that makes you exactly what your building needs.
Written by: Kyle Wood, Principal at Croswell-Lexington High School and MASSP Board of Directors Member