Lightening the principal’s load: creating more opportunity for improved curriculum

William Woods EDU

As principal of a large, or even smaller school, you may find yourself feeling like you don’t have enough hands or eyes to possibly handle and monitor every situation. As the go-to person, you are constantly putting out fires, answering questions, responding to requests, and enforcing protocol.

But where does that leave time for observing curriculum and forming improvement strategies? For evaluating how much, and how well, students are learning, and that they are graduating fully equipped with the knowledge and preparation to ensure a successful future?

Public middle schools and high schools in Washington D.C., such as Columbia Heights Education Campus, have developed a pilot project aimed at solving this issue that is now being implemented in 70 of the city’s 115 public schools. The proposed solution: Director of Operations and Logistics.

“…too often principals and their deputies have to deal with hundreds of things that have little to do directly with teaching and learning: student discipline, school maintenance, the cafeteria, safety, transportation, paperwork — and lots more,” writer Eric Westervelt reports in an NPR article on the issue.

“[By hiring directors of operations and logistics] the idea is to liberate principals to focus more on teaching evaluation, planning and assessment and far less on milk, leaky faucets or security.”

This position takes important to-do’s off the plate of the principal and allows him or her to focus more on raising the school standards for instruction, motivation and innovation. It allows them to spend more time in the classroom offering instructional feedback and professional development to teachers and on adjusting curriculum.

“It’s been an immense help,” says Maria Tukeva, principal at the 1,400-student Columbia Heights Education Campus while talking about the support of Prankaj Rayamajhi, the school’s Director of Operations and Logistics.

“I was worrying about whether there was soap in the bathroom or there was toilet paper in the bathroom. These things are important, and urgent,” Tukeva says. “However, I also have to worry about is everyone learning how to read at a high level, is everyone learning math at a high level.”

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) can’t say for sure how many schools have implemented this new position, and they note that though principals in nearly all schools across the country could benefit from the assistance of this supportive role, it won’t be a practical solution for many schools with budget-restrictions.

William Woods prepares current or aspiring principals to be leaders in raising the quality of instruction and curriculum in schools across Missouri and beyond. Through our Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction degree, Education Specialist in Administration degree, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, MEd in Administration, or Doctorate in Education Leadership, students gain expertise in curriculum construction, instructional development and assessment, organizational management, supervision, and beyond.

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