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October is National Principals Month. I feel a strong desire to talk about our wonderful Principals in Box Elder School District. In general good things can happen in pockets in all school buildings. There are such great teachers in our school district and state and they work so hard that they find ways to make great things happen in the classrooms where they teach. This can happen hit or miss throughout a school or school district. What makes an entire school and even an entire school district great? What brings about effective teaching and learning on a consistent basis? It is Leadership. For an entire school to be effective you have to have an effective principal. There has been a lot of research that has been conducted that has led to this conclusion. It would seem that the answer would be simple then. Hire a great (effective) principal and you will have a great (effective) school. I promise you from the school district perspective we are aware of the importance of the principal in the building and we do all we can to hire great ones and then collaborate and train with them to be the very best they can be.
One of the research studies was completed by the Wallace Foundation. Some of the information used for this article comes from The Principal as Leader: An Overview – Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. I would like to copy from that article the following:
Education research shows that most school variables, considered separately, have at most small effects on learning. The real payoff comes when individual variables combine to reach critical mass. Creating the conditions under which that can occur is the job of the principal.
This Wallace Perspective is a culling of our lessons to describe what it is that effective principals do. In short, we believe they perform five key practices well:
The Principals at Box Elder School District amaze me on a constant basis. They are learning and growing and have such wonderful understanding that their main effort is to effect the student learning in their buildings. They know that the best way to do that is to provide a safe, positive (happy), and educational environment. In the past Superintendent Corner published in August I talked about the SEE initiative that we are focusing on in Box Elder School District this year. Most of our Principals were well ahead of this understanding that kids and employees need to be treated with respect, dignity, and even love to be able to flourish and be successful. At the district level we meet twice a month with our building principals for training on these very issues and we are in constant contact to recognize and celebrate those who are adhering to these principles.
I want to publicly thank our principals who are working incredibly hard to help their buildings become environments of collaboration, growth, joy, and even love to help the children in their schools. Please acknowledge the great work Principals are doing. It is a hard, time consuming, and can be an incredibility rewarding job at times. But they deserve to hear it from all of you.