Association of Washington School Principals
Volume 1 – 2020-21
From the AWSP President
I Didn’t Learn That in Principal School!
Human connections matter more than ever in a COVID world
Cameron Grow
2020-21 AWSP Board President, Principal, Lincoln Middle, Pullman SD
How many times have you heard the phrase, “I didn’t learn that in Principal School!”?
You have probably heard it much more during the last six months than you did during the previous six years. There is a reason: We did not learn how to lead in this type of environment. Whether you are full time in-person school, hybrid, or completely remote, it definitely is a different time to lead.
One of the things I have noticed during this time is that relationships are more important than ever right now. This has been so tough on our teaching staff, students, and the community. The relationships we have built over time are coming through right now. We are finding new ways to share the load. New teams throughout buildings are being created that will have long lasting effects. Principals are able to help share the load with teachers. This is a tough time, but nothing can replace human connection. It’s always about “WE.”
I’ve done more visits during the last six months than I did during the last 12 years as a principal.
Leading is about creating a community of staff, families, and kids who are moving in one direction together. During this time, we need to have more patience than ever. Things are not moving as quickly as they once did. We need to show more support for our team than we have in the past. We also need to lead in a way that promotes grace towards one another. Kids are at home trying to learn and families are doing their best to support them. If our teachers can show grace to our kids, we need to be able to show grace to our staff during this time.
Being a principal during this crazy time in education is about having a new understanding of your community and families. I’ve mentioned a number of times to principals around the state about my home visits with families and how we are trying to help them get through this time. We invite teachers to come with us on these visits so we can help “our” families. I’ve done more visits during the last six months than I did during the last 12 years as a principal.
Leading during this time is about knowing and understanding our kids. This is a tough time for us, but it honestly is an opportunity for principals. It’s an opportunity to embrace our families and community.
No, we didn’t learn all of these things in Principal School. This is real work with real people. It’s difficult work.
In the end, we have to ask ourselves as principals, “If we don’t do this important work, who will?”
Cameron Grow is the 2020-21 AWSP Board President. He has been principal at Lincoln Middle School in Pullman School District since 2007.
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Washington Principal | Volume 1 – 2020-21