Tips on becoming a More Effective Administrator

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Hundreds of books are written, multiple lectures given, and many more struggles are felt by school administrators. Everyone who is anyone in the field of education has voiced their opinion on what it takes to be the kind of administrator that is effective and yet compassionate.

The following are tips on identifying, accepting and finding solutions to ensure the success of your school. These suggestions can not only help you as a school administrator but can also lighten the stress level of your job.

positive

Being a positive role model with an open door policy while you demonstrate servant leadership is the main key to success. Take time to listen to staff, accept criticism, and realize that every member is a vital part of the team. In dealing with all of the education community, frequently ask what you can do to make their jobs easier.
Realize that every child in your school can potentially be at-risk. By acknowledging this as a premise for your relationships with students, parents, teachers, and the community, you will open up the highway of communication.

In doing so, you will be able to accept the following:

  • a. At- risk can include failure to acquire knowledge, whether it be failing a course, grade level or state assessment.
  • b. At-risk can include low socio- economic conditions.
  • c. At- risk can be a reflection of parents who themselves had issues at school.
  • d. At- risk can include students who are bullied or have a fear of being bullied.
  • e. At- risk can include special needs students.
  • f. Even the gifted can be considered at risk due to peer pressure, or boredom.
  • g. Students who change schools or move frequently or even enter a higher grade or campus can be at-risk.
  • h. A high absenteeism can cause a student to be at-risk.

  • In other words, depending upon any given situation, all students can be considered at-risk.
    How then can you, as a school administrator, help and improve on issues dealing with at-risk students?

    First, it is imperative to meet with your faculty, discuss, and research areas of at-risk concerns in your school and surrounding community. In many areas, the fear of what happens to students once they leave the school is a high area of concern. What can be done about home life situations of your students without imposing upon family morals, values or disrespecting circumstances? Can you find haven activities that students can become involved in during after school hours? Are there local agencies to help provide services?

    You can and should develop a strong relationship with your local city government, such as the City Council. Through the City Council, you can have groups of city council members visit your school campus. A great idea is to have a Junior City Council on your campus that meets with the City Council to share concerns and help develop solutions.

    Once your faculty has identified at- risk factors, place faculty members in charge of monitoring conditions and reporting to the staff when issues arise.

    The next step occurs during grade reporting times. Quite often students do not realize that they may be close to or failing a given course. To alleviate the high percentage of failing grades, be sure that teachers allow students ample time to turn in assignments before the end of the grading period. If parents or another after school entity is available, send home extra work for students and allow class time or after school time for completion of graded work. Too frequently schools send home work which only makes a student failure greater. If a student is failing at school, additional work on the same topic will not improve the grade. Why? It is simple. They do not understand it at school. It may be that no one at home understands either. In some situations, there is no area of peace and quiet to work at home.

    students

    Remember, do not be judgmental of a student’s home life. The job of educating for grade specific content starts and stops at school. Encourage your teachers to take a close look at all of the students and individual circumstances. Educators tend to look for the low- economic situations. However, even the wealthiest of students may not have adult supervision in the evening due to parent’s social or work lifestyle.

    Scheduling “Parent Nights” for math, reading, science, and social studies is an excellent incentive for parents and students. A school assembly is held where you, as the school administrator, talk candidly with parents about successes at your school and areas of needed improvement. The parents then attend small group settings and rotate to several classes where a specific objective is taught along with a take home game activity to support that objective. Focus on only the objectives being covered by the classes during that grading period. The incentive is the take home activity, along with refreshments for all. Having a local store donate a student appropriate prize will raise the rate of attendance, as well.

    communication

    Finally, communication is the key to effectively gaining the support of students, staff, parents and the community. If you have parents whose home language is one other than English, an interpreter at all meetings is essential. School newsletters can be a great way to show off what is happening throughout your school. Also, be sure that all letters and correspondence sent home are translated. Putting translations on your school website is always a plus for communicating.

    These are, but a few of effective tips easily put in place in any school setting. Learning as a leader is a process, just as a student learning a new concept does not happen overnight. Be objective, understanding and ready to grow.

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Bonnie McRae