One of the problems I see at the high school level is the disconnect the principal has with the student body. This lack of communication with the principal is a major issue between the students and the administration and hurts the school climate. For example many student issues never seem to make it to the principal's desk and these students then believe that the principal does not care about them or their school problems. This lack of communication can result in misunderstandings between the student body and the administration and result in a poorly-run school. Sure, the principal may meet with representatives of the student government or on school committees. However, we are talking about two to five students, hardly a representative sample of the school's student population.
My idea is to have the principal teach a leadership class for the seniors. What better way for the principal to get to know the movers and shakers of his/her graduating class. Better yet, the principal will be exposed to the issues that most affect the students and can discuss them in an informal and non-intimidating fashion. Finally, being with the class every day the principal will bond with the students and better understand why certain polices bother them and can better relate to their concerns.
The advantages for the students are very obvious. They will view the principal as more a mentor than a remote administrator. their daily access to the leader of the school means that their complaints will get a fair hearing and they will believe they have some real say in school policy when it comes to the student body. Best of all, the students will feel empowered and feel pride in being part of a progressive school.
Having the principal teach a leadership class is a win-win proposition for the school since it unifies the students with it's leader. Furthermore, it allows a continuous line of communication between the two. Finally, it allows the principal to better understand what school issues need to be solved, based upon student input.
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