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I'm a high school principal. Ask me anything!
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amother




Amethyst


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 5:21 pm
that seems low- I know elementary principals who get paid more then that. could it be due to location, size and hashkafa of school?
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 5:41 pm
amother wrote:
that seems low- I know elementary principals who get paid more then that. could it be due to location, size and hashkafa of school?


Yup. Those are definitely factors that account for the wide range. Also meant to write over a hundred thousand at the other end of the range.... will go back to edit.
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carnation









  


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 5:47 pm
From a principals perspective, I wonder what advice you would have for my DS difficult situation:

He very much needs to change classes ( 2 classes per grade ). He is very unhappy with his rebbi. All interventions with rebbi failed. The principal knows that rebbi is a problem and can't do anything about it. Principal has no problem with the idea of changing classes during the year. BUT - Principal does not allow DS to change classes because other class is overloaded.

As a principal, what would convince you to let this child change classes even if the other class is overloaded?
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 5:52 pm
carnation wrote:
From a principals perspective, I wonder what advice you would have for my DS difficult situation:

He very much needs to change classes ( 2 classes per grade ). He is very unhappy with his rebbi. All interventions with rebbi failed. The principal knows that rebbi is a problem and can't do anything about it. Principal has no problem with the idea of changing classes during the year. BUT - Principal does not allow DS to change classes because other class is overloaded.

As a principal, what would convince you to let this child change classes even if the other class is overloaded?


As I stated higher up, my school does not have parallel classes, so I have never dealt with this scenario specifically. I try not to give advice about things that I dont really have experience with. I also can imagine that things play put differently in boys schools. Maybe there is someone in the other class who would benefit from a switch as well?

Hatzlacha!
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amother




Magenta


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 7:09 pm
carnation wrote:
From a principals perspective, I wonder what advice you would have for my DS difficult situation:

He very much needs to change classes ( 2 classes per grade ). He is very unhappy with his rebbi. All interventions with rebbi failed. The principal knows that rebbi is a problem and can't do anything about it. Principal has no problem with the idea of changing classes during the year. BUT - Principal does not allow DS to change classes because other class is overloaded.

As a principal, what would convince you to let this child change classes even if the other class is overloaded?


Sounds like a tough situation. If the other class is at capacity, I wouldn't move another child no matter what. But what do you mean the principal can't do anything about the rebbe? If he's incompetent, he should be terminated.

In this situation, with a second class at capacity, as principal I would coach the rebbe, coplan with him, and meet with him regularly to try to ensure the needs of his students are met.
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professor









  


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 7:29 pm
How do u deal with bad teachers who insult and put a kid down?
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Sun, Nov 04 2018, 7:47 pm
professor wrote:
How do u deal with bad teachers who insult and put a kid down?


I have never had a situation like this (or at least one I was made aware of). I am extremely careful that whoever I hire is in line with my understanding that I believe all people are to be treated with respect.

I have had situations where I felt that teachers dealt with a student incorrectly, or didnt take a student's full situation into account when dealing with her. In those cases, I mediate between them and I have asked teachers to apologize or clarify.

I myself have apologized for overreacting or misreading a situation. Although it is a humbling experience, I believe it is important to admit when you are wrong.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Nov 05 2018, 9:48 am
I know some people have become irritated by these threads. I started mine after seeing how helpful the mikva lady thread can be.

At the same time, for some of us who are in certain professions, it can be very helpful to have an anonymous forum to see what is on the minds of others, in a way that others are reluctant to discuss irl. It is also helpful to be forced to think through and have to articulate some of our policies and procedures. I want to thank everyone who took the time to bring important ideas to the forefront. I learned a lot!

To those who expressed strong hurt or frustration, I have learned a lot in terms of the type of feelings interactions with principals can evoke. I would like to think that I am trying in my own small way to change that. I wish you could somehow discuss these issues with those who have actually hurt you and ve able to resolve the pain that you feel.
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amother




Amethyst


Post  Mon, Nov 05 2018, 10:00 am
do you get to decide on curriculum or is set by the state?
how do you encourage independent thinking (if thats a value for you? )
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amother




Orange


Post  Mon, Nov 05 2018, 10:21 am
amother wrote:
I care and if they were my students, I hope they would know and feel that.


That's great, but I was talking about such students not even having a chance to get into a high school because of schools wanting the smartest and the best
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Nov 05 2018, 6:13 pm
amother wrote:
do you get to decide on curriculum or is set by the state?
how do you encourage independent thinking (if thats a value for you? )


There are some basic requirements mandated by the state in terms of what subject matter needs to be covered. There are also guidelines which allow students to receive grants for seminary and college, so we follow those as well. There is some leeway in determining how those subjects are covered.

Yes, independent thinking is encouraged. This is done by not spoon feeding all the information and most importantly, by not discouraging questions. All questions may be asked as long as they are done in a respectful manner.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Nov 05 2018, 6:26 pm
amother wrote:
That's great, but I was talking about such students not even having a chance to get into a high school because of schools wanting the smartest and the best


Although admittance is not entirely up to me, this is one of the hardest parts of the job; the knowledge that we cant possibly accept everyone due to space constraints. I have worked to try to get students into schools and I know firsthand the anguish of girls and parents in this parsha.

I believe that the best classroom experience is when there is overall balance. A great class is a mix of all different abilities, personalities etc. It does girls some good to have to be a bit patient with students who learn at a slower pace than them, and it does weaker girls some good to hear from and learn from questions that brighter girls ask. It does loud girls well to have quiet girls to listen, and it does quiet girls well to hear the hock....

Therefore, we strive to create a balanced class in all directions. It is never good to have a class that is entirely in a certain direction.

I have 2 mentors who taught me that a big part of a class's success is the weaker girls that are included. I have seen it so often firsthand, that I do not see them as less desirable at all. I've seen classes gain tremendously when they include children with physical disabilities (Rabbi Yaakov Bender speaks about this).

Lest I sound too idealistic about this, I will be honest about the fact that as I said earlier, we will be careful not to have too many of any certain type (very bright or very weak) of girls in one class. And as I mentioned earlier, we will not accept a girl who we feel we cannot safely manage.
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Chaya123









  


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 2:53 pm
Wow, you sound like such an intelligent, resourceful, kind individual. I would love to have you as a principal!
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amother




Khaki


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 5:26 pm
Two questions that are really intertwined: why is there so much homework? My dd can spend hours on math and studying for a test plus 4 or 5 quizzes given in one day! Plus pre-reading for classes, answering parsha questions etc.
And why is chessed/play mandatory?
I have a severe chronic illness & my dd is never able to help- between hours of school & homework she is exhausted plus add in hours of play practice and chessed by others (I was told im not entitled to getting my own chessed girls) she is not here to help.
At one point my dh was going thru a severe illness (ontop of me being sick too) and I had to tell the school, no dd cannot go do chessed now.

How is this ok?!
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:09 pm
amother wrote:
Two questions that are really intertwined: why is there so much homework? My dd can spend hours on math and studying for a test plus 4 or 5 quizzes given in one day! Plus pre-reading for classes, answering parsha questions etc.
And why is chessed/play mandatory?
I have a severe chronic illness & my dd is never able to help- between hours of school & homework she is exhausted plus add in hours of play practice and chessed by others (I was told im not entitled to getting my own chessed girls) she is not here to help.
At one point my dh was going thru a severe illness (ontop of me being sick too) and I had to tell the school, no dd cannot go do chessed now.

How is this ok?!


It sounds like you are dealing with a lot and I hope things get easier for you!

As I stated up thread, I cant possibly answer for others. I can explain the policy in the school I work for.

In my school, we do believe in a reasonable amount of homework (I know that's relative! ). At the same time, when we are made aware of specific circumstances that require us to look away or make exceptions, we are happy to accommodate that. The same is true for chesed hours.

]Here's a tip for communicating with schools that I often wish I can point out to parents (I guess this is my chance to!). This is not for you specifically as you may just be dealing with an unreasonable hanhala. It's just an insider's tip.

Often, when a student requires us to make an exception to a rule or policy, the parents get defensive. When meeting with the school, they come with a list of reasons why this rule is ridiculous and that's why their daughter cant keep to it.

In most cases, the school rule is reasonable and works well for most students. There may be a reason thos particular student needs to be an exception due to family circumstances or the student's unique challenges. Therefore it is much more effective for the parent to communicate that they understand the value of the rule, and then explain why they need the school to make an exception for their child. With a reasonable hanhala, this is usually very effective
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studying_torah









  


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:26 pm
However you need to realize no teen wants to stick out.
So if chessed play whatever is mandatory, no teen wants to be the only kid not doing it.
By making these things optional, there will be some who join, some who do not and both are ok.
Dd herself gets very stressed about having all these obligations ontop of her homework.
(And no, her amount of work is not reasonable. 3 hours a night is not reasonable imo.)
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:38 pm
studying_torah wrote:
However you need to realize no teen wants to stick out.
So if chessed play whatever is mandatory, no teen wants to be the only kid not doing it.
By making these things optional, there will be some who join, some who do not and both are ok.
Dd herself gets very stressed about having all these obligations ontop of her homework.
(And no, her amount of work is not reasonable. 3 hours a night is not reasonable imo.)


Yes, that is a great point. Much earlier in the thread I said that chesed works differently in my school. They type of exceptions we make are not so noticeable. They are more individual, but this is an important point.
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amother




Orange


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 10:55 pm
Does your school have an elementary school as well?
How many classes per grade do you have? How many girls in class?
How much is the tuition?
Is it a Bais Yakov type of school? MO? Community school?
You said that you strive for a balance between academically stronger and weaker girls. Do you have a system in place for weaker ones or it's up to parents to hire tutors?
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Fri, Nov 09 2018, 12:22 am
amother wrote:
Does your school have an elementary school as well?
How many classes per grade do you have? How many girls in class?
How much is the tuition?
Is it a Bais Yakov type of school? MO? Community school?
You said that you strive for a balance between academically stronger and weaker girls. Do you have a system in place for weaker ones or it's up to parents to hire tutors?


It has a preschool and elementary school. One class per grade for now (younger grades have 2 so we will have to expand later on).

I explained earlier that I dont want to answer about the type of school....

We have several things in place for weaker students. Remedial classes for some subjects. Modified programs or testing for others. (This is a very specific setup that I have shared with other principals. Would rather not go into detail as it can be a giveaway, but its aim is to boast girls confidence and spare her pride).

The only time parents feel a need to hire a tutor privately is if the student is refusing to take part in any of the help we offer.
We also offer help with social or emotional issues up to a degree. If these issues are very severe, it is usually in their best interest to get private help and then we work along with whoever they hire.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Fri, Nov 09 2018, 12:31 am
Chaya123 wrote:
Wow, you sound like such an intelligent, resourceful, kind individual. I would love to have you as a principal!


Thanks! But honestly looking through this thread I realized that although I am very proud of many things that I implemented, there are still many areas that I would like to strengthen and improve.

Also, I dont think my students always think so! Even today I know that there were 2 students who felt that a decision I made was unfair and would probably disagree with you! As I mentioned earlier, this is a part of my job that I find difficult.
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