A day in the life of a school principal reflects many complex interactions. This includes communication with parents, connecting with students, collaborating with district administrators and support staff, managing financial resources, overseeing professional development, coordinating meetings, and overseeing various activities.
So, since this is National School Principal’s Month, we thought we would give you a glimpse of what principals do each day.
Early Start: Principals typically arrive well ahead of students and staff to ensure the day begins with preparedness and order. There are times when school and road conditions may be inadequate for teachers and students. It’s the principal’s job to ensure facilities are ready to receive hundreds of people.
Meetings: Principals participate in and oversee lots of different meetings, including staff meetings, community council meetings, PTA meetings, district leadership meetings, and different school committee meetings. These meetings are important to the direction of the school and include in-depth conversations about policies and procedures, reports and assessments, budgets and fiscal management, and planning meaningful activities and events.
Classroom Visits: Principals are required to spend a lot of their time visiting and observing classrooms. Teachers rely on professional feedback to improve their ability to instruct. The principal watches for the subtleties and nuances of teaching styles and engagement. But they also monitor state-mandated requirements and expectations – as such, they have to be up to speed on current hundreds of laws and regulations in public education.
Administrative Tasks: Principals also monitor overall student performance and data, submit reports and plans, and evaluate ways the school can improve. They have many emails, phone calls, and text messages to track and respond to. Some urgent matters require the principal to drop everything to create an immediate resolution.
Student and Family Support: One of the most important aspects of a principal’s job is creating relationships of trust with students and their families. Principals advocate for students academically but also for their overall wellness and safety. Students (and their families) come from all different backgrounds and perspectives, and some have significant barriers to success. The principal’s job is to educate and enforce policies while serving as a critical resource invested in their student’s growth and opportunities.
Events and Activities: Though some planning and execution is delegated, principals are often viewed as the overseer of school activities and events. They are the face of the school to the community and guests who visit and participate in different festivities. They act as both champions and cheerleaders to promote school spirit, making it a warm, friendly, and fun environment.
As you can see, school principals have demanding and essential responsibilities. And not every day is fun or easy. But they do it because it’s rewarding. For many years, students will stop them on the street, share what they are up to, and thank them for playing such a significant role in their lives.
Parents and students are encouraged to get to know their principal(s). Please support them and work together to create a positive atmosphere for each student and the school.