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A week in the life of a Principal: Wednesday


7.30am: Quick chat with Pastoral Wellbeing Leader about the day ahead.  It’s lucky we’re both early-birds, because this short catch-up can often set the tone of a good part of the day!

Settled in to write the ‘front page of the Newsletter’.  I always start off thinking I’ve got nothing to say, and then end up having to cut back…it really is amazing how much happens around a school in one week!

Cleared out the emails and took a phone call from another Principal conducting a referee check for one of our staff. Approved the Christmas Card design (by one of our Year 9 students) and looked over some new photos for our website.

8.40am: Had a walk-in from a teacher who, for family reasons, is considering a move to another town.  Let the teacher know that whatever their decision, we’d support them and that I fully understand that this is a big decision that means a lot to them. The second they walk out the door, of course, I start to plan how that set of classes might be covered in 2014. Ugh (and again, don’t forget that we’ll be advertising in The Age this weekend!).

8.50am: Headed out to go and get my Year 10 class because this morning we were off on an excursion to the cemetery!  I teach one class each year, and this year it’s Year 10 Religion.  I teach a unit called ‘Dying and New Life’ which is based around the enquiry question ‘How can we have a good death’?  We study grief, statistics about death in Australia, planning for death, the role of hospices, the physiology of dying, beliefs about death (especially Christian ones) and how they comport the dying and support the grieving, funeral rituals, planning funerals, organ donation and pretty much anything else the students want to know about this topic.  The assessment task is for students to prepare a booklet for families to grab and use to plan for a funeral. It’s a great unit!  Today we were off to the cemetery to look at how they ‘work’ and what some of the landmarks and features are, the different choices people have around being buried in a cemetery etc.  This group were really interested and we an excellent time exploring, learning and ‘visiting the relatives’.

10.30am Back at school and five minutes to grab a cuppa before jumping online to Chair a meeting of a group of  teachers and leaders who act as a reference group for the development of an online Learning Management System for our (Catholic) sector.  Mostly I drive to Melbourne for these meetings, but every so often I just find it just too much to do a midweek roundtrip (it’s about 250kms, and in the early morning, I spend a lot of time paranoid about hitting kangaroos).  It was a productive meeting with about 5 of us online from around the State and another ten or so in an office in Melbourne.  Thank goodness for online audio-visual collaboration tools!

1.30pm Met with the students who had applied for House Leader positions and informed each candidate about whether they were successful or not.  Like most schools, we make a point of speaking to each candidate individually and if they ask for it, providing feedback about their application.

1.50pm: Dashed over for the last 10 minutes of lunchtime so that the staff knew I am actually alive. Got distracted by the rubbish in the yard and corralled about 40 kids into doing a clean-up.  Made it to the staffroom for a quick chat with a few teachers about house buying vs building.

2pm: Leadership Team meeting. The five of us build the agenda for this meeting collectively using a GoogleDoc.  On today’s Agenda: use of the TimeOut Room,  Mentors for our new staff in 2014, the final details of our Annual Action Plan planning day next week, and the reorganisation of the Year 11 and 10 exam period. Our meetings are fairly informal and we don’t take minutes.  We’re a productive team though, and tend to push each other to use our time effectively.

3pm: Met with two members of the Leadership team to discuss the potential shifts in teaching loads in light of the announcements of the last few days.  Checked the draft of the advertisement and sent it on to be lodged with the respective Careers websites etc.

3.45pm: Looked over the proposed timeline and cashflow for our new building project.  Started stepping out the implications for the school in terms of building usage (3 classrooms to be demolished to make way for the new building) for the remainder of the year. Checked that all was in order for the upcoming meetings this evening and that I was confident about the documents we were discussing; cleared a few emails.

5pm: Finance Meeting. Our monthly meeting,which includes four school staff, a representative of the Catholic Education Office and two representatives from our Governors, the Brigidine Association.  We monitor the cashflow, financial reporting and planning, building projects and oversee OH&S.

6.30pm; Dinner with our School Board (called our Stewardship Council).

7pm: Stewardship Council meeting.  Overseeing all aspects of school life and strategic planning.Tonight we had a number of the Council absent, so we spent some time going over some more generalised information for two newer members, and allowing them to ask all those questions about the operation of the school that they might not be keen to ask in front of the bigger group. It was a good opportunity to get to know these two people a little more.

8.15pm: Popped my head into a meeting for the parents of our Year 11 students who are participating in a solidarity visit to Timor Leste in July 2014.  Just caught the end of the meeting and was able to speak with a few parents briefly.  They seem as excited as their kids about the opportunity.  This is our fifth student immersion to Aileu in Timor Leste. We also have about a dozen staff go each year (during the Easter holidays).


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One Comment to

“A week in the life of a Principal: Wednesday”

  1. November 13th, 2013 at 10:15 pm      Reply Darta Says:

    Howdy Kate
    Couldn’t resist, enjoyed the read. Like te reference to changing gears, makes sense when you reflect on that. Look forward to tomorrow.

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