Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tune in to "The Principal Story"

Our astute bloggers have clued us in to an upcoming PBS documentary that we all need to watch. Tune in on Tuesday, September 15th or Wednesday, the 16th to view the program, then come back and discuss it here. The clips look very inspiring.

"The Principal Story, a $1.5 million dollar national multiplatform broadcast film and outreach project, was selected for full funding by The Wallace Foundation in response to its RFP to help elevate the visibility of leadership as a lever for school improvement. The Foundation was seeking a film that would provide compelling and credible stories of principals and their leadership teams whose work could result in schoolwide improvement and academic achievement for youth. With a focus on the vital and changing role of school leadership, the project’s objectives are to raise awareness; educate and motivate key audiences, including opinion leaders in policy and education; provide resources; and spur collaboration and action. Since 2002, improving education leadership at all levels of the system – state, district, and school – has been the sole focus of The Wallace Foundation’s efforts in education.

The Principal Story is a 60-minute documentary about public school leadership and learning seen through the eyes of two very dynamic and passionate principals, one in the Chicago Public School System, and one in Springfield, IL. Following these two principals and schools in depth for one year, the film reveals the complex social and political dynamics that connect children, parents, teachers, principals, principal supervisors, school system executive officers, and elected officials. THE PRINCIPAL STORY takes the viewer along for a compelling, passion-filled ride that reveals what effective educational leadership looks like in the 21st century. Produced and directed by Tod Lending, Nomadic Pictures, and David Mrazek, the film is projected to air on PBS in fall 2009.

Studies have shown that student success in struggling schools relies heavily on the effective leadership of the principal. In THE PRINCIPAL STORY, all three leaders oversee a majority of low-income student populations facing the testing challenges of the No Child Left Behind Act. Their schools offer distinctly different educational environments, with the unique challenges of different age/grade levels and class sizes. Each principal is at different phases in her career; their leadership styles reflect this."

To preview clips, click here.

Download the field guide by clicking here.

Full Broadcasts to be aired --

Tuesday, September 15, 10:30pm
Thursday, September 17, 4:00am

GPB Channel 8:
Wednesday, September 16, 10:00pm
Saturday, September 19, 1:00am

GPB Knowledge
Wednesday, September 16, 9:00am
Wednesday, September 16, 3:00pm
Wednesday, September 16, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 20, 12:00pm


Anonymous said...

In most school systems, the best of the best aspire to become principals.

In the Crawford Lewis administration, every aspires for a cushy Central office gig.

Anonymous said...

The best of the best in DeKalb look for a way out!
This is what I see as a teacher in the DCSS for the past 2 years.

Anonymous said...
"One of the questions is how do you quantify bullying? It could even be as simple as a rolling of the eyes," said Dale Davis, a spokesman for schools in DeKalb County, Ga., where Herrera committed suicide.District officials have said since soon after the boy's death that there was no evidence that Herrera was bullied, and that outside factors including the death of a close relative influenced him to take his life.


Hey Dale, you freaking jack@#$, don't belittle the bullying at DCSS schools but such a ridiculous comment. Any competent educator knows what bullying is, and it ain't no rolling of the eyes.

DCSS Central Office, Crawford, Ron Ramsey, Jennfier Erion, etc. are all in denial about how present and persuasive bullying is in DCSS schools.

Dale's comment shows how the DCSS Central Office just blows it off. They're too busy at the Central Office making up new jobs for former principals.

No Duh said...

@Anon 1:42 Rolling of the eyes is indeed a form of bullying. Girls are experts at it. It is a prime example of how bullying can be so silent that teachers are completely unaware that it is happening.

Cerebration said...

Click on the photo at the right that says "Say No to Bullying" and read our posting about the subject -- there's a whole lot of info there on what bullying is and what it isn't and the programs that exist to combat it. Cobb County in particular seems to be trying to honestly confront the issue.

No Duh said...

Just watched the show.

First thing I noticed was that the principals touched their children -- I mean physically! Hugs, kisses on the head, tears wiped away.

Then, they said out loud to these kids "I love you." wow.

Then, one of them actually fired a teacher. But, no detail was given as to how she accomplished that -- except I believe the teacher was considered new -- having just come from teaching HeadStart.

Then, Anon 12:38 hit the nail on the head!!! The best principal -- when faced with being forced to move to a failing middle school -- bailed the system and now consults across the nation on leadership skills.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it was an awesome documentary. If you haven't seen it, it's really worth your time.

Anon Southside said...

Saw the segment and I wish the elementary teacher could have stayed. I think consulting her out within the district would have proven beneficial. Principals could have learned what needed to be done instead of plucking her out and then her leaving the system. So the middle school that they wanted to improve still lost out.........

It takes a lot to be a good principal in a troubled school and turn it around....

Still don't know the answer but still enjoying the conversation

Shayna Steinfeld said...

I haven't caught the show yet but I really think one thing DCSS could really do better is to pair successful principals (and teachers for that matter) with new ones or other struggling ones in mentor/mentee roles instead of just plucking them and moving them so everyone feels vulnerable. A lot goes into a successful school -- principals and teachers really are not that fungible that someone who is very successful in one environment will necessarily be able to replicate that success in another enviornment. But they could really mentor others to success. Also, pulling the successful principals now in the administration back into the schoolhouse would help alot.

Anonymous said...

How about hiring a few principals from outside the system too? Just moving principals around and promoting from within the county is ineffective to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I agree but when they did that at LHS, she was really at a disadvantage because she didn't know how to play the politics and expected that things would work "normally" and nothing in DeKalb works normally.

Anonymous said...

Having just watched this on the internet, I am astounded by the similarities that I saw at the 2 districts show cased and DeKalb. Everything is so political and people aren't thinking of what is best for the kids. Have we forgotten why we have jobs and what we are there to do?

In DeKalb we have so many administrators on the district level. The more that I see from a teaching stand point, the more that I know that this will be my last year of teaching in DeKalb. Talking to people at the state level today to talk about elementary math and reading between the lines, I realize that DeKalb is infamous for their stupid, political decisions that do not have our children's best interests at heart.

I sit at home tonight disgusted and feeling like I know I could do a better job in my classroom, I know how to do a better job in my classroom, and I want to do a better job in my classroom, but my hands are tied. I must follow the DCSS curriculum to keep my job. I question if the DCSS system really wants good teachers and administrators in their schools. I question if the school board, Dr. Lewis, and all others in charge really have the best interest of our children at heart. I question, why do our administrators feel that they are smarter than the companies that research and put our children's text books together and why are we not following the rigor that the state wants us to achieve for our children. I wonder, when is someone from the state going to open their eyes and do something about what is being done in DCSS.

I am also saddened by the sadness that I see in my fellow co-workers who feel defeated already this year because they see their students with so many deficits and not enough time to cover them all.

What can people who really care for DCSS do to improve our schools? What can we do to get our administration and school board to have our children's best interests in mind when making decisions? What can we do, to get teachers feeling proud of the job that they do once again?

Without change at the top and I mean real change, I see our schools becoming more and more of a revolving door for teachers and administrators who really care about the well being of our kids and don't want to fight the DCSS political machine.

Anonymous said...

Wow, to hear that last post, from the heart, from a current DCSS teacher, I'm truly saddened. Everything she/he wrote wah 100% on the mark. DCSS administrators think they know better than the state. They have such incredible self-inflated ego's, they are truly unbearable.

As the teacher wrote, things have to change and they have to change now.

Cerebration said...

Well - at least it seems that we are honoring good teachers!

DeKalb Honors 2009 Teachers of the Year

More than 700 guests joined the DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation, Inc. and DeKalb County School System in the recent salute of 143 excellent educators. The 20th Annual Teacher of the Year Tribute, held August 29, 2009 at the Thalia Carlos Hellenic Center, honored the hard work and dedication of DeKalb’s 2009 Teachers of the Year.

With WABE-FM morning host Steve Goss serving as master of ceremonies, the teachers were honored during an evening of recognition, food and dancing.

The height of the evening was the awards presentation to the system-wide elementary, middle, high school and centers Teachers of the Year (TOTY) as well as the overall system-wide Teacher of the Year.

High School Teacher of the Year
The 2009 High School TOTY is Regina Wallace of McNair High School.

Middle School Teacher of the Year
The Middle School TOTY honoree is Shatavia Amey of Miller Grove Middle.

Elementary Teacher of the Year
Tarris Scott of Glen Haven is the 2009 Elementary TOTY.

Centers Teacher of the Year
For DeKalb’s Centers, James W. Mallory is the 2009 honoree.

System-Wide Teacher of the Year
From this group, Tarris Scott is the overall System-wide Teacher of the Year for 2009.

Tarris Scott, currently a physical education instructor at Glen Haven Elementary, is a proud product of DeKalb Schools having graduated from Redan High School. During his 10-year tenure at Glen Haven, Scott has served as the liaison for the school’s No Place for Hate partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. He also assumed leadership in the school’s adoption of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and HealthMPowers programs, both of which tackle childhood obesity by promoting a healthy lifestyle through the physical activity during the school day. Coach Scott designed and implemented Glen Haven’s Jammin Two Minutes, Bulldogs on the Move, and What a Salad Wednesday—all health-conscious activities that earned the school national bronze recognition as well as a visit from Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue for the 2009 the signing of House Bill 229. Scott is an alumnus of Fort Valley State University, has earned a graduate degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University and is pursuing a doctorate degree.

For their accomplishments, the four finalists were each awarded a laptop computer and printer, a digital camera and photo printer, and a framed Teacher of the Year poster.

Airtran Airways awarded Tarris Scott with airline tickets to a destination of his choice as well as a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In addition, Wallace, Amey and Mallory each received a trip and cash.

All TOTY honorees were presented with gifts, including an engraved glass award donated by The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Board of Education members and the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Crawford Lewis, were in attendance along with many district administrators and business leaders to congratulate the honorees.

The Teachers of the Year recognition program is an annual celebration that honors the hard work and commitment to educational excellence exhibited daily by DeKalb educators. DeKalb County School System adopted the recognition program 20 years ago and commemorates the service of more than 100 teachers each academic year.