Confessions of an Urban Principal/ A Good Place To Be.
by Frank Murphy
Installment 8 of 8
Today we dismissed our students at noon. The remainder of the day was reserved for school based professional development activities. Our school leadership team had planned the agenda. After a brief whole staff meeting the rest of the afternoon was organized into grade level meetings. I enjoy this kind of format. I am able to relate on a more personal level with the teaching staff in a small group setting of this type.
The primary task of the afternoon was to examine different samples of student achievement data such as reading levels, report card grades, and test scores in order to indentify the strengths and weaknesses of our instructional programs.
As the afternoon progressed, I moved from one group of teachers to another. All of the group discussions in which I participated were lively and offered a number of insightful observations. The teachers at each grade level did a good job of using data in order to identify the strengths and needs of their students. They then developed an instructional action plan that was based on their analysis of the data. By the end of the day we all felt good about the work that we had completed. This was one of the best Friday afternoons that I had in some time.
Through out this whole past week, I have been focused on finding happy times. I’ve talked to a lot of kids and have visited many classes. Reading student journals, observing lessons, and listening to students explain their work has helped me to feel far less stressed. Doing so reconnected me to the joy of being a teacher. When I am deeply ensnared in disturbing and dysfunctional events, it is easy to overlook the positive and productive things that occur every day in a school.
Meade is a good place to be. The staff is terrific. The students are wonderful. The parents with the exception of a few individuals are supportive. It will be worth the effort of engaging in the battle ahead in order to remain here.