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A week in the life of a Principal: Friday


7.30: After a quick catch up with Pastoral Wellbeing Leader (no big matters that we were aware of unfolding at school for the day…), settled in to go through the applications that we’ve had for previously advertised positions, to see if any of these are suitable to approach about our new openings (if you are starting with this Friday post, jump back to the Monday one and watch how our smugness about staffing for 2014 unravelled in the space of about three hours…). Also shot out an email to staff responsible for various budgets around the school to remind everyone that funds not yet expended required confirmation from the Business Manager before they would be released (this is to slow down any sense that just because there is money in the budget…it should be used!).  Every cent counts as we plan for renovations to be made over the Christmas holidays!

8.35am: On Friday mornings we gather as a staff in our beautiful heritage Chapel for meditation and/or prayer.  Today we used the pray-as-you-go website for 15 minutes of reflective quiet time.  We’ve been pausing quietly on Friday mornings for about two years now, and the feedback we get is that people really appreciate this time at the end of the week to pause and clear their mind.  There’s usually very little input, lots of quiet/and or gentle music and the golden rule is ‘no announcements about the day ahead’. The other App we use a bit is the ‘Smiling Mind’ meditation. Strongly reccommed it!

Once a fortnight, my PA has the day off.  On these days, as well as keeping an eye on my own emails, I log into her account and keep track of any that come through to the generic ‘principal’ address that might be important for me to deal with.

9am: Interviewed a graduate from two years ago who has applied to go along as a junior leader on our Year 11 Timor Leste Immersion next year.  We send four staff and two of these junior leaders, each of whom went as a Year 11 student themselves.  They are a great asset to our program. Also popped my head in on another ex-student who uses one of our meetings rooms to sit her exams for her online Masters.  This is her last subject, which is wonderful news for her.

9.30am: Quick meeting with a representative from one of our local Bowling Clubs.  To retain their Club status, they are obliged to donate a percentage of their profits to local community groups.  Each year they sponsor some key ‘scholarships’ that we offer to families who require financial assistance.  This meeting was just to touch base and make sure we have our paperwork in order for the upcoming round.

9.50am: Chai Latte delivered by our VCAL students to my desk. It’s a lovely treat during the morning (at a cost, of course…they’re running a business), but also gives me a chance to have a chat with the kids and see how their day is going.

10am: Interview number two for our Timor Leste Program.

10.30: Recess Time! Cuppa in the staffroom.

11am: Phone call conversation with a organisational consultant that are considering employing to work with the Catholic Principals in our Diocese (Region).  This was the first contact we had made with him, so we spent a good deal of time discussing where we were coming from and what our goals were for 2014.  Balancing the individual needs of each school against our collective goals requires good communication and a clear sense of what we are hoping to achieve.  I’ll report on this conversation at a meeting next week and get the consensus of the group about where to head from here.

11.30am: Meeting with our Head Maintenance worker and a builder that we are hoping to employ over the summer holidays to renovate some spaces around the school.  We were going over his quotes.  We have offered staff the opportunity to ‘Hot Desk’ in 2014, and as a result of this, are refurbishing several staff office areas to accommodate  both quiet spaces and collegial work spaces that are designed in a more flexible style that traditional office work space.  The furniture has been ordered, but we need some walls removed and more windows knocked through to ensure they are pleasant spaces to work.  There’s also a bit of work to be done removing walls between classrooms and replacing them with huge sliding glass doors.  We’ve used this very successfully in many areas of the school, creating spaces that can be either glass enclosed general classrooms or large open spaces.

11.50: Quick touch-base with two Leadership team members about staffing. We have some good ideas coming together around this.

12.05pm: Headed off to teach my Year 10 RE class.  With the Funeral Home unable to accommodate us today, we began work on our Major Assignment, which is for students to prepare a guidance booklet for a family about how to prepare a funeral (eg. suggestions about the funeral celebrations, things they should know about grief, what to expect in terms of costs etc). I spent most of the 75mins just answering their questions as they worked away. Our whole unit is developed on a Wiki, so they have a lot of the information and necessary links at their fingertips.  We use a program called “Teacher” which allows me to monitor each student’s screen throughout the lesson.  I put this up on the whiteboard, so wherever I was in the room, the kids know that I can see what they’re working on (or not, as the case may be!).

1.25pm: Lunchtime at my PAs desk, answering a few emails.

2pm: Interview with a recent Graduate for one of our Trainee positions in 2014.  Trainees undertake a Cert III in Education Support while they work in various areas of the school for a gap year (eg. in ICT, Library, Sport, attending camps and excursions as extra staff member).  It’s a great opportunity for those young people who need to earn some money before they go to University, and don’t want to waste the year on a check-out somewhere!

2.30pm: Spent an hour wrestling with the NAPLAN website trying to get copies of all the reports from this year’s data.  Need to spend some proper time over the weekend looking at the trends so that on Tuesday at our 2014 planning meeting, we have a clearer sense of our priorities.

3.30pm: Cleaned up the last few emails, including a few to parents about some overdue work that some of my students have and how I’ll be following that up. Prepared a couple of lengthier emails that will need to be sent first thing on Monday.  Took a quick phone call from a parent about something wonderful that had happened today for her child. Got together the information I needed to get a few things done on the weekend.

4.40pm: Walked out the door. Weekend…woohoo!



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