Mary Kate Diltz

Madison Avenue Upper Elementary School
Madison, Mississippi

Best Practices

1) One of the most influential things I can do throughout the course of a day is act as an instructional leader. Learning the curriculum and keeping up to date with research-based techniques is critical for the success of the staff and students. I work with the teachers to analyze data and determine areas that need to be addressed and strategies to address these areas with teachers. I want to help the teachers be the most successful they can be. We have created an opportunity for teachers to choose an area of improvement for themselves by completing individual professional development plans (IPDP). These plans are developed by the teachers in which they are setting goals for their teaching and professional life. These plans are brought to the administration and discussed. Teachers work towards their goals using strategies they have come up with and approaches the administration offers to help them achieve their goals. My curriculum knowledge and data analysis offer the teachers various pathways to meet their goals and be successful.

2) The second most important thing I do as an assistant principal is build relationships with faculty, students, parents, and stakeholders. Speaking to anyone when I see them creates a sense of belonging and care. Listening to their answers and responding appropriately builds trust that is instrumental in being a successful school. Modeling building and maintaining relationships for faculty and students deepen the care and ownership individuals display at school. Whenever a student is sent to my office, whether for a computer issue or a discipline issue, I always ask how their day is going and what can be done to improve their day. I want the students to know that I care about them, and I am always there for them when they need something. I have spent time building relationships with teachers through conversations, support, and instructional leadership. I have also created a culture committee, in which several teachers and myself plan activities for teachers to partake in outside of school to build relationships. We have attended trivia nights, gone out for dinner or dessert, hosted a waffle bar at school, and have hosted an art project for teachers while offering to babysit for teachers’ kids so they can enjoy time with their colleagues. Building relationships with parents was complicated during the pandemic since they were not allowed in the building, so updating the website and communicating in other ways helped facilitate those relationships. Every year, we have a community-wide event where we invite first responders and other community members into the building to complete science experiments with the students. We also invite these community members to a special lunch each year to promote positive relationships. Fostering relationships with the faculty, students, parents, and stakeholders creates a positive environment for all to excel in.