I don’t really have a specific goal in mind for today’s blog. Usually I have an idea about exactly the point I’d like to get across, but today… I’m just going to write about things I’ve been pondering lately.
1. PLCs – We’ve done some great work with PLCs this year. I really feel that we’ve made strides in making them more powerful than ever. I’ve done some anecdotal data gathering from teachers, and they certainly appreciate the opportunity to participate in both grade level and interest based/cross grade PLC groups. They also appreciate the simplicity of the Google Form we use to record My pondering is around the momentum. I always reiterate with teachers the fact that the goal of PLCs is student learning, and have incorporated that into the Google form, by adding that, it adds a level of accountability and helps to keep the focus
2. Mentoring – I’m fortunate to have a relatively new vice-principal this year. She is keen to learn and really focused on doing what is best for our students. I really like the role of being a mentor to someone like this. We spend lots of time planning, reflecting, and challenging each other. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with someone who helps me move forward and learn.
3. Politics!!! – We have a provincial election coming up. I am thrilled with the engagement I am seeing this time. People are fired up and I think we might actually see a change in the 43 year reign of the current political party. ANY political party will lose its ability to be effective after that much time. We need a shake up in Alberta and I think it might just happen!
4. Planning – OMG! There’s a lot of planning to do this time of year. I LOVE planning, especially when the resources are there to make my plans come to fruition! Well, there’s NOT enough resources this year, but anyone who has been paying attention knew this was coming. I had a number of scenarios in place already, so had a skeleton of a solution in place for where we are at now. If things change in the future and we get an increase in resources, I will welcome that and revisit the vision for the next school year. It’s so important to have the resources (including the people) allocated in the best possible way. There’s still teachers that have a ways to go in their approach to teaching. Fortunately at this point, I don’t have any duds – not every one is a master teacher, but they’re all reliable.
Running a school in Alberta can be an interesting job. (As I’m sure it is everywhere!)
We just recently finished finalizing our budget at the school – with the instruction, which makes sense – to make sure that everything balances. The budget was quite a bit smaller than in years’ past due to government cutbacks, so it required a lot of trimming in more than one area. My Accounts Clerk, my VP and I sat down a few times to hammer out where we could trim. Some budgets had to be set at zero. The comparison of ‘belt tightening’ certainly fits with what we have had to do.
We have a helpful and active parent group in our school who do a lot of fundraising, and we are thankful for that. Unfortunately we have to ask them to help prop up some areas of the budget that have had to be cut. We still need art supplies and library books. We need to conduct science experiments and run a phys ed program. Things still need to happen, and the kids shouldn’t notice a change in the program.
As frustrating as it is, our focus needs to stay on what’s the best program we can do for the kids. Our school is filled with great, caring staff who want the best for each student. I know that our school division is trying to lessen the impact on the students as much as possible.
Money is tight, but we are doing our best to maintain the strongest possible program that will carry each child along and help them realize their potential. It’s what we have always done and will continue to do.
When I think about the great things I get to do at school, taking care of budgets, schedules, resources, maintenance, furniture, and the many other things aren’t in my top ten list. I do appreciate how they impact the students and the staff indirectly and directly, but it is the interactions with the students, families and staff that are the core of what makes my job great!
It’s the days when this standard takes up most of my time that are the most frustrating and usually feel the least productive. When these things are well managed, however, there is more time for the GOOD stuff I do!
I feel I have effectively met this criteria by doing the following:
- Used our school budget to ensure a safe environment, while also being able to effectively support learning initiatives within our school. This includes staffing, resource allocation, scheduling, evergreening of furniture – technology -music, grant money allocations, dollars from parent fundraising, donations, overseeing staff funds and amenities, school initiatives….. and the list goes on!
- Have redesigned the Gathering Area as well as other areas to make the focus more student and parent oriented. This has received several compliments for the relaxed open feeling. Students have referred to the area as the school living room.
- Developed a staff professional development program that uses the expertise of our entire school community, while also being able to effectively redirect budget allocations to other areas in our school. AISI PD dollars are being used to allow for Staff Collaboration.
- Purchasing and implementing iPad use in the school
- Oversee and train staff in the new fob security system
- Allocate resources and Guide staff in the implementation of new technology
Study Island online learning and assessment tool (used for 2010 – 2012))
- Working with the Town of Bon Accord and Town of Gibbons to set up and support the Out of School Care program hosted in our school.
The important piece to keep in mind is that all of these things do support the teaching and learning that happens in our school. Proper allocation of resources is important to ensuring the best possible program.