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  1. #1
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    Default Crappy Principal - advice please!

    My child's primary school got a new principal this year (middle of the year) . Well, she is underwhelming to say the least.

    She is never in the playground at drop off or pick up. Doesn't speak to the kids, or greet them when she enters classrooms. She does not attend assemblies (well, maybe two for a few minutes). In fact, it feels like she is invisible (I've seen her at a distance about 3 times), when I saw the last principal every day. I should say, this isn't a big school - about 300 kids - and she doesn't teach.

    So, learned parents, what would you do? Do I speak to her directly? Send a letter (anonymously?)?Are my expectations too high?

    Your advice would be very appreciated. It goes without saying, my child's education is very important to me. We attend a socio-economically disadvantaged school that has been performing better than would be expected. At least up until now...
    Last edited by Lubdub; 15-11-2016 at 19:11.

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    I always think that the first port of call should be directly to the person you have concerns with. Go to the principal (book an appointment) with a reasonable list of questions. Have a discussion. Spoken word is so much easier to interpret tone etc. then send a follow up email, "as discussed on such and such date... the issues of... I appreciate your time and look forward to..." so you have written evidence if it does need to go further.

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    I think you're being a wee bit hasty/harsh. She's only just started, probably trying to find her feet etc. Just because you haven't seen her much doesn't mean she's not out and about doing stuff. I'd personally keep it to yourself until she actually does something that directly affects you/your child.

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    Have you met her yet?

    I know it is end of school soon but I would maybe give her the benefit of the doubt for now. Maybe there is a lot going on in the background that needs attention for now.

    Maybe have a meeting to discuss what her plans/expectations are for the new year etc etc first.

    Also is there actually a decline in the performance of the school?

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    I think it's important a principal is present for the community but I don't think it's an issue if the principal isn't visible every day.

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    I'm not really sure what you'd put in your letter? An anonymous letter complaining that she's not visible enough seems a little over the top. Or a lot.

    A meeting or letter etc to tell her that she's not meeting your expectations would not be helpful and could definitely get your relationship off on the wrong foot. To put it mildly. You're not her boss.

    What would I do? I'd give her a chance to settle in and try to get to know her style a little better.

    I'd also join the P&C association and if possible volunteer at the school. That's a fantastic way to get to know the Principal and foster a good relationship, and positively influence the culture of the school. You'll also get a better understanding about what she's actually doing around the school. She could be doing a lot more than you realise.

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    Yeah I have to say calling her a crappy principal is pretty harsh. The workload of principals these days is absolutely mind-blowing, and taking over at a new school midyear is a big undertaking. Who knows what she has inherited, what meetings she has etc?

    At my small school (55), our principal is out an average of two days a week just for meetings. She teaches as well, but the rest of the time she is busy in her office. They are just busy people.

    I agree that it would be better for her to have more presence at assembly, but again, without knowing the reasons for that I would hesitate to make a complaint.

    Do you have a parent club or something at your school? Was there any sort of welcome event for her? Maybe you could approach them and ask for ideas to encourage her to engage more with the parent community.

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    If the school is not performing well and if you say she won't even speak to the kids? Then I would firstly maybe talk to your p and c ( as pp have said) to see if they notice the same thing then I would ask your child's teacher if she's noticed how different the new principal is and how your worried the schools not performing well and see her reaction , then if they all agree then I would organise a meeting to voice your concerns - our school has only 300 kids and our principal is very involved , he doesn't teach but attends all p and c meetings, runs weekly assembly, has his turn at playground duty and often gets involved in the boys sports , including Saturday's, sends out a weekly newsletter and we see him often - so yes if we had a new one act like yours it definitely would be strange

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    I think you're being a bit harsh too. Taking over a school would be daunting - so many new people, kids and teachers. Is it her first principal position? My first step would be to introduce myself and ask how she is liking the school and the new area. We got a new principal 2nd term this year and the first time I saw him, he walked past my daughters class as I was walking out so I made a point of saying hi and we talked for about 20 minutes. He's not as visible as the old principal, but that doesn't mean he isn't doing his job! (Though he does talk to the kids and do the assemblies). Give her a chance and introduce yourself. That would be nicer than sending her a letter criticising what you see as faults, but there may be a reason you're not aware of.

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    I agree with what PP have said - I don't think you really have the grounds to complain to her about not doing her job properly just because you havent seen her on the plyground. What makes you think school performance has dropped? That's almost impossible to measure in just 1 1/2 terms of her being at school. There would have to be some pretty extensive testing going on to show a drop in student performance in appx 15 weeks.

    I do think being at assemblies is important - but does she have an assistant principal or someone who has taken that role?
    The thing is, some principals are great at developing parent relationships. Some, it's not their strong point. It has no bearing on whether she is doing her job well or not. In fact, some of the schoom staff I have seen who are the worst at parent relationships, are the best with the kids and school life. I have also seen some terrible teachers who are great at developing parent relationship. It's a skill that is beneficial as a principal, but doesnt mean she is a 'crappy principal'. I would talk to the parent committe perhaps and get a feel for what they say.


 

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