Principal - May/June 2021 - 36

APS RISING

Flores found that out in advancing an initiative to improve equity. While everyone in the district was on board,
introducing themes such as white privilege to teachers and
union representatives required an adaptive velvet glove.
" We had to start slow to go fast, " Flores says. " We started
with an important concept-self-identity. It was part of the
equity work we had done at the leadership level, and it
aligned with our district model: Each child is an individual. "
Most adaptive challenges will be new to the AP. " To
solve some of these problems, they are going to have to
take on new knowledge, " Wilson notes. " Let's say you ask
me to lead a data inquiry on seventh-grade math teachers. I am going to have to learn how to do that, so I will
work with someone-the principal takes time to show me
or I sit with a specialist in the school who's a good data
cruncher. I get some books on it. I attend a training. "

Reacting Fast
When schools transitioned to distance and hybrid
learning last year, learning and communicating new
information became an essential part of leaders'
response. " Our principals had to make huge changes, "
Wilson says. " They learned new skills they didn't have
before. They had never led in a 100 percent virtual
environment. Now we're asking them to go into a Zoom
classroom and provide teacher feedback when these
teachers have never even taught this way. "
Another example is special education: Few new APs
have experience establishing IEPs, but many are asked
to take on the task anyway. " Give them the opportunity
to sit in as a participant first, " Wilson says. " The job of a
principal should always be to grow your assistant. One
day, they will be principal, and they will need to know
how to do these things. "
" I don't care what school you're in, you are going to
be solving problems and leading change, " she adds.
" Some APs are very good at it-they are eager to learn.
Others are a little more reticent; they are fearful of failure or worried about the repercussions. Principals have
to create a climate where it is OK to fail forward. "
" When I stepped in, I was a little shy, " Flores admits.
" Had it not been for my principal pushing me to take on
leadership roles, I might not have come out of my shell.
[In Chula Vista], you have an opportunity to step into
the role as the facilitator of the group or school. Take
that step, so you can begin to take on leadership roles.
APs are such an important asset to any school; they
allow principals to focus on change. "
Ian P. Murphy is senior editor of Principal magazine.

*

36

M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 1 * N A E S P. O R G

Extra! Extra!
Last month's APs Rising e-newsletter featured
exclusive content on self-assessment as it relates
to collaboration, 10 tips for meaningful self-care in
pandemic times, and questions APs should consider
when thinking about moving up to the principal
role. For more, watch for the next APs Rising, hitting
your inbox in June!

About The
Wallace
Foundation
The Wallace Foundation works to support and
share effective ideas and practices to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for children and the vitality of the arts for everyone. Its
objectives are to improve the quality of schools,
primarily by developing and placing effective
principals in high-need schools, promoting social
and emotional learning in elementary school
and out-of-school-time settings, expanding
opportunities for high-quality summer learning, reimagining and expanding access to arts
learning, and building audiences for the arts. The
Foundation seeks to generate knowledge and
insights from these efforts to enhance policy and
practice nationwide. For more information and
research on these and related topics, please visit
the Foundation's knowledge center at
wallacefoundation.org.


http://www.wallacefoundation.org http://www.NAESP.ORG

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