Tips for New Administrators

Tips for New Administrators

20 Tips for New Administrators 

(Better Known As: How to Stay Off the Front page of the New York Post!)

Tablet computer, smartphone and newspapersAdministrators have a tricky job! Here are 20 Tips on how to navigate the school system with efficiency and professionalism, compiled  over many years in the world of school safety, parental conferencing, student learning, professional development, union negotiations and sensationalist newspaper headlines! 

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This document was written by Margaret Russo for staff in her school, a highly rated elementary school in Brooklyn, NY. Mrs. Russo has been Principal there for 10 years.

Here is her list of 20 tips for new administrators. (Click to tweet)

  • Never, ever play with time or money. 
  • Keep receipts for everything.
  • Always punch in and out for per session activities.
  • 20K160_schoolWhen meeting with parents/ guardians, ask if they are in need of a translator.
  • Document every conversation you have with parents/ guardians. Include date, time, who was present and a short summary of what was discussed.
  • iStock_000040236798SmallNever get into an argument with parents/ guardians. If a conversation becomes heated, end it and tell them you will get back to them about their concerns. And then get back to them when tempers have cooled.
  • Document every school related conversation you have with teachers. Include date, time, who was present and a short summary of what was discussed.
  • If you are asked a policy question (sometimes known as an “Are we allowed?” question) and you are not sure of the answer, never wing it. Tell the person you will get back to them after you speak to the principal.Back To School Backpack
  • Any time NYPD, FDNY or EMS comes into the school note the EXACT time in your notebook. Notify the principal immediately, even if she/he is out of the building. Record the badge number for NYPD or ID number for FDNY or EMS. If they leave the building with a student or staff member, record the exact time, the bus #, the destination and who accompanied them to their destination. All students must be accompanied by a parent/ guardian or a staff member. Make sure there is an On Line Occurrence Report (OORS) generated. The Principal will let you know if you should notify the Superintendent or Network Leader. iStock_000019828739Small
  • If you are in charge of the building and there is a news worthy event (a tree falls/ scaffolding blows over/etc) make sure there is an OORS report and a call to the Emergency Incident Center (EIC). Usually a secretary can assist you with this.
  • Do not give any information about a student to any agency or person without approval from the principal. Do not speak to outside providers or caregivers without written permission of a student’s parent/ guardian.
  • Do not discuss a teacher’s professional work, not even in jest, with another teacher or teachers.iStock_000008262025Small
  • Do not ask teachers for personal favors. Do not hire anyone who works in your building to do work for you. This includes tutors for your own children or maintenance staff for home repairs.
  • Do not mention students’ or staff members’ names on walkie talkies. Walkie talkies are for official school business only, not for conversations.
  • Ask questions. Your fellow administrators are very smart and a valuable resource. 
  • Be confident. You wouldn’t have gotten this job if you were not qualified and a right fit for the school.ps160 ribbon
  • Learn something new every day. If we are telling students and teachers to learn amazing things every day, we should practice what we preach. lunar new year celebration
  • Take a lunch break. The little time you take will rejuvenate you for the rest of the day. I also recommend walking around the block everyday but I know that is sometimes impossible.Time for a Break
  • Enjoy the kids. They are not only delightful but they are also the reason we are here. 1st place chess team
  • You can add to this list as things come up. Welcome!

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More about PS 160: 20K160_school

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