After only one week of school, I've noticed some very interesting changes. Many of these are the result of a severe change of administration (our school has four administrators--now four and a half, if you count the intern). Three of these are new to the campus, and one of those is new to the district and the area. I'm the only remaining member of the former administration; many joked that I was the "sole survivor," but I like to think of myself as the only administrator not voted off the island (which in and of itself is odd, as I don't particularly like reality shows). The sweeping changes in approach and style were inevitable, but the weirdness seemes to have manifested in the response by the community.
Although I expected widespread rejection by the teachers, parents, and students, it seems that only the last group has had any real problem with the new regime. Dress code, attendance, state standards, curriculum guidelines, off-campus privileges--all are being strictly enforced. The teachers got on board almost immediately (at the Staff Retreat, their first real exposure to the new leadership as a whole). The parents have voiced overwhelming support for the new principal and her methods, and this is surprising for two reasons: first, because this hasn't always been the case with this particular community (I've tried to maintain some anonymity here--let's just say that our community is the stuff that TV shows are made of), and second, because in four years I've never seen this parent group this united about anything. Even the students have surprised me: sure, there's dissent among the troops (if their websites are to be believed, they're planning all kinds of rebellion; even there, however, other students are shouting them down), but the campus is cleaner than I've ever seen, the students are running--literally running--to class to avoid being late, and the typical discipline cases we usually see at the beginning of the year, those which smack of a "let's see what we can get away with" attitude, have yet to surface. It's just, . . . well, it's unusual for me. Part of me is starting to think that over the last four years I was part of the problem.
Now I feel like part of the solution. Maybe this is what the job is really supposed to be like.