You might think you know what principals do day-in and day-out, but you might be surprised. Principals work long hours and wear a lot of hats. We asked one principal, Matt Brown of Remynse Elementary School in Arlington ISD, to take us behind the doors of his school and share what a day in his shoes is like.
This is a glimpse into his world, in his own words.
Greet students as they arrive at school
My day officially started at 7:40 a.m. as I greeted students arriving at school and wished them “Good Morning.” Sometimes the early morning welcome happens outside, other times it takes place in the cafeteria. The most important thing is that they know we are excited to see them and are eager for them to learn.
Attend graduation practice
As we prepare to close out the year, our 6th graders practice for graduation. At Remynse, we started a tradition in which the students can choose the staff member that most impacted their education on the campus. This staff member is then asked to present the student with their certificate as they walk across the stage. When a student invites you to give him or her the diploma, it is such an honor and a powerful reminder of how educators change lives.
Participate in awards ceremony
During this time of year, one of the best parts of my day is attending an awards assembly for the various grade levels where we celebrate our students’ accomplishments. It is an important ceremony for us to gather and commemorate all the hard work that both students and staff have accomplished.
Read with students
Whether it is with a book from the shelves or a sophisticated e-book on an iPad featuring QR codes (images that, when scanned, present multimedia content), I love having the opportunity to listen to our students read. The growth of a kindergartener – from learning their ABCs to reading – is always amazing to me.
Observe teachers educating and students learning
As the principal, I am responsible for advancing classroom instruction by monitoring and coaching teachers to make them the best educators they can be. I also am constantly working to learn about different ways students can and do learn. There are a variety of ways to engage students in word work and when visiting Ms. DeBrine’s class, we always see a ton of creative ideas. Students in this class are reading above grade level and are always being pushed to excel. It is a great chance to work with students and I love seeing how they explore the English language. This class of students under the direction of Mrs. Gomez is spending the middle part of the day completing a project where they have to film a commercial for a product they created. I sat in to observe and offer suggestions. Watching students work their creative magic to make the green screen come to life is a very cool experience. I spent some time with students who were designing products in a technology application and then sending them to the 3d printer. The librarian facilitates this project and oversees all of the students’ printing designs and projects. It really challenges our students to think and create in new, innovative ways. This was part of our Maker Space May month, in which all grades can come and participate in design and creative projects.
Lunch recognition of volunteers
For lunch, I got a rare treat, which was to visit the district’s central office with our parents who contributed 250 and 500 volunteer hours at Remynse. We celebrated and then had time for a quick picture with Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, AISD Superintendent. Volunteers – whether parents, business leaders, retirees, or others – are critical to supporting classroom, administration, event, and other important functions. We are so thankful for their time and talents, and we love recognizing them for their contributions.
Watch kids go from students to teachers
Stopping in Mr. Rogers’ 5th grade class, I found students using Lego Robotics to assemble a moving robot and then creating a how-to presentation in Keynote on iPads. They always say that if you want students to learn then have them teach, and thanks to the creativity of Mr. Rogers, our students will be very knowledgeable about Lego Robotics.
Host visitors from another school to share best practices
As the school day was winding down, a group of staff, students, and parents from another AISD campus across town came to visit our Media Team and see firsthand how we create our morning announcements that are broadcasted on the Remynse Elementary You Tube Channel. In this studio, our students design and produce morning announcements of interest to the entire student body. Then our staff has the freedom to show them in the morning when it is most convenient for them. Here is an example of one of our Remynse Roll Call videos:
Staff mentoring of students
This year at Remynse, staff members were asked by our counselor, Monique Simmons, to choose a mentee from the campus. We spent time with them and encouraged them throughout the year. This picture is a selfie of my mentee and me having a snow cone at the after school celebration event.
Last stop of the day: Technology Innovation Grant Fair
At 6:30 pm, I went to go to see our campus display at the Technology Innovation Grant Fair. The campuses that received the grant this year were asked to present and demonstrate at this fair and the picture shows students creating and teaching other attendees about their exhibit activities. While 12-14-hour days are common, every day as a principal is different. Some days you spend a lot of time in the classroom and in meetings. Other days you are presenting to business and community leaders and talking with parents. Regardless of my daily schedule, my goal is for Remynse Elementary to deliver the highest quality education possible to prepare our students to be successful in whatever they do long into the future.