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Mondays are Bad Enough without Rain


Yesterday was a rainy Monday. It was also a terrible day that included tornado warnings, street flooding, and heavy thunderstorms. I was very happy to be able to remain inside my house. It's one of the joys of retirement. But after the storms passed, we had a cold front today with much lower temperatures. So many things went wrong at school today that I remembered what it was like to be a principal when the seasons changed. It drove the kids nuts. But, today everyone was nuts.

I won’t go into the details but I will say that with each hour of the day, more bad news kept popping up. It was hard to decide what to do first. I applied one of Roslyn’s Rules of Administration. Here’s an explanation and an example:

Rule: When you have lots of tasks competing for your attention, decide which tasks are necessary, which ones are important, and which ones are urgent. Urgent tasks always trump important and/or necessary tasks. When problems involve parents, teachers or students, students always come first.

Example: I had to decide whether to focus on one of three problems today. 1) The report cards for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten had to be picked up from the print shop. Report card conferences are Thursday. 2) The photographer forgot to take pictures for IDs and cumulative folders, only taking pictures of students who wanted to purchase his photo packages. 3) Two staff members got into an ugly argument which was witnessed by several parents.

Readers, which of these problems do you think I addressed and why? Please comment. I'll tell you what happened tomorrow.


Picking up report cards from the print shop could be delegated to anyone. I would imagine any staff member could take care of this and it was delegated. The matter with the photographers can be cleared up at re-take time, so a simple phonecall could remedy that (I'd imagine). That could wait until later. Now the issue with the teachers having a dispute with witnessing parents needs immediate attention. I'm voting on this one to get your immediate attention as the reputation of your school and staff is at hand on this one.

I would like to call to the attention of readers a website dealing with issues in New Orleans, www.teachingthelevees.org. The website accompanies the Teaching The Levees project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and created by Teachers College, Columbia University. The project created a 100+ page curriculum based on Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke. At the website is a copy of the free downloadable curriculum, a discussion board for sharing lessons and teaching materials, and a blog about New Orleans done by Ellen Livingston.

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