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Effective Principals Have the Daily Conversations


"If you want people to be honest with you, you have to be ready to hear what they have to say. Real feedback can be tough to give and even tougher to receive. You have to prepare your heart for it. But the truth is essential. It's the starting point for unification and change."  - Dr. Angela Brooks-Rallins, Principal at Rodney D. Joslin Perspectives Charter School

This week Fierce in the Schools will join principals around the United States in San Diego for the 7th Annual National SAM/Principal Conference.

The challenges, goals, and amount to accomplish in any single school year can be overwhelming. When Dr. Angela Brooks-Rallins walked on campus for the first day as the new principal at Rodney D. Joslin Perspectives Charter school in Chicago, Illinois, she knew she had some work to do. It was the third quarter of the school year, and she was stepping into a new role with big goals and few relationships within the school. The staff felt unsettled, parents were skeptical, and students were frustrated.

Dr. Brooks-Rallins knew she needed to make the time to be present with her teachers and staff and to change the culture by having the conversations that needed to happen. She began to partner with Fierce. For Dr. Brooks-Rallins, the most important challenge she faced was the fact that there had been a lot of turnover in the leadership of the school causing a general lack of trust. Because of this, collaboration suffered and the conversations among the staff were either one sided or avoided all together.

This week at the SAM Principal Conference we'll spend time engaging with principals who, like Dr. Brooks-Rallins, realize that their most important job as a principal is making time to be a leader for their teachers and staff. That the value they offer is being in the classroom, having the conversations, and engaging with learning that is happening in their school.

Effective principals also know that they must model the behavior they want to see in others. "I knew if I was going to inspire others to commit to a new way of communicating I needed to be relentless in my own commitment. I needed to model the behaviors in every encounter," said Dr. Brooks-Rallins. "I needed to talk the talk and walk the walk, and to fully commit to a new communication lifestyle."

Are you attending the SAM Principal conference? If so, what is your greatest challenge as a principal?

To read the full story about Dr. Angela Brooks-Rallins and Rodney D. Joslin School, click here.


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