Association of Washington School Principals
Volume 3 – 2020-21
We have multiple opportunities every day to choose ‘amazing’
Angela G. Purdy
Principal, Valley View Elementary, Toppenish SD
Evaluation Criteria: Creating a Culture
Before becoming an administrator, I was a fifth-grade math teacher. I loved teaching and watching the learning happen with my students. There is nothing in this world better than seeing the lightbulb come on for a student when something new “clicks.”
I was tough as a teacher, meaning that I had very high expectations for my students. I also had strong relationships with them. They knew I loved them and that I pushed them because I loved them. I told them repeatedly how important they were, how they could be anything they wanted, and how much they were learning. I reminded them always that they were capable and could accomplish everything for which they were willing to work.
These reminders stuck with them. They reminded each other when the work was difficult. They reminded themselves when they were stuck. And they reminded me when they saw me struggling. I wanted my students to remember my words when they had difficulty. I wanted the positive language we had practiced to counter any negative self-talk.
As the principal of the same school in which I taught, I give my staff lots of love, praise, affirmation, and reminders. I remind them of what they have been able to accomplish through the COVID pandemic: learning to teach online, mastering technology, continuing to build relationships with our scholars virtually, communicating with and supporting families through this very trying time, and making time for their own families throughout it all. I tell the staff I love them — and I do. I love them for how much they love our kids and how hard they work to support them. I also tell them to “Go be amazing!”
By the time summer 2021 arrives, many of our students will have not been in a public education building for over a year.
I believe that being amazing is a choice. We have multiple opportunities every day to choose amazing. I want these positive reminders to stick with them so that they will remember to look for the positives when they face a difficult situation. When our staff feels loved, appreciated, respected, and heard, they spread the love and respect to our scholars. I listen to them telling kids they love them, that they are important, and that they can choose to be amazing, too.
Since becoming principal, I have worked to ensure that our school culture is built on love and hard work. We love our students while insisting that they do their best every day. We model what it looks like to choose amazing by working together to provide our scholars the best possible school experience. We handle disagreements with respect and an open mind. We work to do what’s best for kids every day. We don’t always get it right the first time. But, we get lots of opportunities to try again.
This pandemic has taken a toll on many aspects of our lives. Our students and staff members need our love and support more than ever. They also need us to continue to expect the best from them. By addressing both, we can truly create an AMAZING school culture where students and staff feel loved, supported, and want to work hard every day.
Love your staff.
Love your students.
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Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Principal | Volume 3 – 2020-21