Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hercules "one principal for two schools" a bad idea?


With the recent report that Principal Bender has had to rely on the Hercules PD 161 times since the start of this school year, one might wonder if perhaps having one principal for two schools is a bad idea. Add the fact that this is a new principal, correct? Their first job as principal is one that includes taking the helm for two schools? All of the other middle schools in the district have their own principal.
Hercules Middle-High School has one principal, two HS assistant principals and one middle school assistant principal. I do know that an experienced, competent assistant principal can make a difference. How are these assistant principals doing?
When a teacher excessively relies on the use of referral notices to keep their students in check, they are sometimes downgraded for not having control over their students. Could this many calls to the police be signaling that this principal is having a difficult time managing their 2 schools? Is she being set up for failure by having to take the helm of two schools?  The following Hercules High School newspaper gives the reader an idea as to what this principal is grappling with.  Vandalism and a fire accidentally started by a science teacher and a teacher arrested with bags of marijuana are matters requiring the full attention of this principal.
Maybe Hercules Middle School should have its own principal, not just for administrative reasons, but for the fact that each school needs a leader that the parents can look to. Middle school principals can make a huge difference for both a school and a community.
Just look at what Principal Burnham did for Portola Middle School. He has attained hero status. He has quelled disruptions. He has worked with the community, including now trustee Todd Groves, to introduce a math initiative. Portola Middle School has a full time advocate. Hercules Middle School has a half-time advocate. 
Why was this decision made to have one leader for two schools?  For the simple reason that the two schools are on the same campus?  Maybe Superintendent Harter and the school board need to rethink this decision. 

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