In this article Steven Virgadamo, a renowned expert in Catholic School Leadership shares some wisdom with Catholic School Leaders.
Looks like you made it!
October 31– Another month of your Apostolic work as a Catholic School Leader is in the history books. Congratulations!
To help you prepare for your next month in your leadership ministry Steven Virgadamo shares a few insights for new and experienced Catholic school leaders:
- As St. Benedict said – Listen with the ear of your Heart. Continue to listen carefully to the staff- the faculty, lunch staff and custodians. We are larger than the sum of our parts! More often than not the faculty, staff and custodians have a pulse and perspective on what is working and of course what is not,”
- Continue to honor the history of the school, and avoid using words like at another school I worked…”
- By now, you have a good read on your faculty and have identified teachers who have a passion for knowledge and “upping their game”. Encourage them to take measured risks and support them as they will help those more fearful of change to adjust to new pedagogies.
- Relationships matter. Focus on building community and never ever forget to admit when you are wrong or hold your ground when it is right for the children to do so.
- Research indicates a direct link between classroom management and academic success. Never stop practicing MBWA (Management by Walking Around), be visible in the hallways, dining facilities, playground and of course a mentor to new teachers.
- Keep your eye on the goal – the SMART Goals and be prepared to measure the effectiveness of your year in relationship to the goals.
- Test scores, test scores, test scores…be creative and innovative, work with teachers to conduct formal and informal student assessments in all academic disciplines but particularly focused on increasing students performance in Math and ELA.
- Model behaviors and be sure your staff perceives you as a lifelong learner. Staff meetings should be professional development opportunities not just informational monologues
- As you gather with the students and parents for first Friday liturgy, remind them that this is a school and Church built by God, it is HIS House and the more time that they spend in it and get to know Him and love Him the happier they will be.”
- Remember to manage up – as well as down – Keep your Pastor, Board, and Superintendent in the loop. Each is a great resource. Consult with them regularly and be sure to share both triumphs and tribulations.
- Keep a professional journal. It will be a great resource for you and will empower your growth as a school leader in service to the Church.
And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, make memories and be joyful as you are an important partner in Our Father’s business.