Monday, July 30, 2007

Hello My Name Is...

This morning, about 60 new principals and assistant principals from around the state gathered at North Thurston High in Lacey for AWSP's workshop for new administrators. Some are already administrators that are simply in new schools; others are completely new to the principalship. There were individuals from P-4 schools and teams, like the all-new administrator crew from Kent-Meridian High School in the Kent School District. Rural. Urban Suburban. Big. Small. In-between.

To get things started, AWSP's Executive Director Gary Kipp asked everyone to visualize the room as the state of Washington, then asked participants to stand in the approximate areas of their schools (like the group from southwest Washington, at right). This gave everyone a sense of who may be close by, in a neighboring district, in the ESD, or way across the state. It was a great icebreaker that helped put people more at ease with all of the new faces and helped them better connect with people who they might someday call upon for advice.

Dr. Harvey Alvy, an associate professor of educational leadership at Eastern Washington University, was the day's first presenter. A co-author of the popular New Principal's Fieldbook, Alvy began by focusing on the challenges of being a new administrator. His comments focused on the importance of interpersonal communication, underscoring the value of a principal's interaction not only with students, but with adults, as well. With so much to do at the start of the school year, he cautioned, don't forget about the adults in your quest to make things right for the students. His guiding quote for the day:
"Human relations is essential to the effectiveness of this job."
In our last post, we asked what advice you for your best "back-to-school advice" for new administrators. Today, in keeping with Dr. Alvy's theme, we want to know: As an administrator, what do you do to get to know or reconnect with staff at the start of the new school year?

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