Cornwall Central Middle School
Cornwall, New York
1) I think one of the best practices we do as an administrative team is getting into classrooms every day. Visiting five classes is always the minimum benchmark set. During these daily walkthroughs, it helps to see what is happening in the classroom and how different material at all grade levels is taught. We also use practices like “Dropping Anchors” and having follow up conversations with staff about what they are teaching. When parents call and have questions or concerns about a specific classroom, we can speak intimately about it because we are in those classes. When we have to meet with a student, we can speak directly to the mood and material of the classroom, because we are actually in those classrooms. There has been no practice more powerful or effective than making it into classrooms every single day.
2) When I was a teacher, one of the biggest complaints I heard from my colleagues was about visibility. This was something that impacted me when becoming an administrator. But just being seen is not enough. So I made a list of things that “being visible” means to me and every day I seek to check off the entire list. If I come up short on a given day for some reason, I focus even harder for the next day. On my office wall is the following things I must do each day to be visible; greet the students when they get off the bus, say good morning to everyone I see, move kids along to class, check each bathroom twice, get to each wing twice, stop by each lunch period, learn the name of a new student every day, and say goodbye to students and staff. It is a healthy list and there are a lot of excuses that can get in the way, but by staying disciplined I make sure I am visible and as a result, have a trusting relationship with the students and staff.