“In recent years, many have stressed that school leaders must reflect before acting. Reflection and thoughtful analysis are especially imp0ortant when on is developing policies or implementing policies adopted by others” (Fowler, 2009, p. 266). As I relate what I do at work to what I have learned in class, I find that I am a more careful and more thoughtful leader.
In the current weeks, there have been two policies that I have had to review and apply. The first is based on our crisis planning. After theOhioschool shooting, our administrative team had to look at our policy and practices carefully. “School leaders should make brief copies of the guidelines available to building administrators and classroom teachers and provide in-service education about these issues regularly” (Fowler, 2009, p. 132). At our recent faculty meeting, we reviewed several points about our crisis plan with the staff. We discussed what to do with a possible school shooter scenario and discussed the upcoming tornado drill process. The state of VA requires each school division to have a plan to implement. Having a plan is not enough. One must review it, update it, and discuss it to assure that it is thorough and inclusive.
In just viewing some news updates on MSN, I noted the Henryville, IN tornado storm report where all the Henryville schools were destroyed. One reporter notes that there was not way there would have been survivors had the students been in the hallways where they normally are stationed. “We knew this was coming. We were watching the weather like everyone else,” saidClark County,Ind., Sheriff Danny Rodden. “This was the worst case scenario. There’s no way you can prepare for something like this.” The schools were able to send the students home early due to the alerts. As a school administrator, this type of devastation really hits the heart. How do you prepare for this type of damage? What is the best call, send the students home or keep them safe in one place? What is the best decision?
The second policy I have been studying has been that of attendance and graduation. Our school attendance rate needs to improve. In looking at this policy, I have requested my superintendent to study another school division’s policy on this issue. There are several school divisions that require a certain amount of day’s attendance prior to graduation. If a student does not maintain the expected attendance rate, they may not graduate. I am still in the process of research and discussion. Just within the last few days, a teacher asked me about this policy because when she was inNew York, her school there had a policy that limited the days of absence based on graduation. If a student missed more than 10 days total in a year, they would not meet graduation requirements. The state of VA has a number of seat time hours.
I believe that this class on policy and law has given me a different perspective. Understanding how our values, culture and ideology all affect the need for, the design of, and the implementation of policy is very valuable.
Fowler, F. (2009). Policy studies for educational leaders (3rd edition). Boston,MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.