ACSA committee supports those new to school leadership

February 1, 2019 Staff Writer

By Margarita Cuizon-Armelino

In 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 6 percent growth in jobs for school principals in the period from 2016-24. Meanwhile data from the National Center for Education statistics identify that roughly 20 percent of principals leave their school at the end of their first year. The natural question to ask is why?

It could be because they are underprepared for the job. If these statistics hold true, we have been and will likely be watching assistant principals move into principalships sooner rather than later, creating a situation that begs for a greater need to support assistant and vice principals so that they can transition into a principalship successfully and thrive.

With this in mind, the ACSA Co-Administration Committee is focused on providing our members the support they need to succeed.

“We are a unique group with specific concerns,” said Committee Chair and El Roble Intermediate School Assistant Principal Clarissa McNally. “It is imperative to have a support system in place and provide meaningful professional development to our group. As co-administrators, we play an intricate role in school systems and, as such, it is important for ACSA to give our group a voice and determine ways to help and support our positions.”

That intricate role includes everything from interacting with parents to evaluating staff, enforcing student discipline procedures and supporting district-wide and school assessments, just to name a few.

“APs also help to monitor student achievement and school safety, implement instructional leadership, maintain attendance, handle IEPs, 504s, and intervention programs and provide student achievement data to staff, faculty and the principal,” said Jer Soriano, assistant principal at Alisal USD and ACSA Region 10’s Co-Administration Committee Representative.

The ACSA Co-Administration Committee’s published purpose includes:

• Educating and empowering co-administrators and aspiring administrators (vice-principals, assistant principals, deans, coordinators, etc.) in their role as instructional leaders within their schools and communities.

• Promoting networking and increasing communication among administrators and aspiring administrators.

• Providing access to professional development and mentoring experiences.

• Increasing awareness and the importance of the co-administrator’s role.

To provide much needed support to co-administrators across the state, the committee works with ACSA Educational Services staff to design professional development opportunities such as the “A Day in the Life of A Co-Administrator,” workshop which addresses the specific needs of site level co-administrators.

“Assistant and vice principals who attend this workshop are exposed to practical sound techniques and strategies that are aligned with the Education Code and give them the necessary tools to prevent tough situations from escalating,” said ACSA staff member and former school administrator Sherman Garnett. “Rather than spending time putting out fires all day, they learn strategies to focus on becoming effective educational leaders.”

In addition to the workshops offered to co-administrators, the committee members are also focused on sharpening their skills through presentations about MTSS, vaping and Social Emotional Learning.

They are also currently conducting a book study on Michele Borba’s “UnSelfie” that explains what parents and educators must do to combat the growing empathy crisis among children today – including a nine-step empathy-building program with tips to guide kids from birth through college, and beyond.

Opportunities to engage provide valuable networking to co-administrators.

“I can’t speak enough about the importance of being able to work side by side with others involved in ACSA, whether they are vice principals or not, to obtain knowledge and information useful to become a better administrator,” Soriano said.

The group also serves as the voice for their profession, providing input and concerns about new or draft laws that impact their job-alike to legislative advocates.

“We have provided pertinent information to ACSA advocates who help fight for or protect our rights as administrators at the Capitol. ACSA has provided our group with a voice in the field and has also created a network of colleagues who can help support us,” McNally said.

The idea is twofold: co-administrators can attend ACSA workshops, designed specifically to meet their needs, as well as learn from committee members who bring back what they learn from all these resources identified above and share them with their peers both locally and at the region and charter levels.

Lastly, the group’s reach even goes beyond the co-administrator job title.

“The committee’s activities have opened the doors to involvement in other ACSA events such as the Legislative Policy Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee and Leadership Assembly,” said ACSA Staff Liaison and Educational Services Executive Tracy Robinson. “Ideas and input from committee members are shared not only with committee members but with organizations throughout the state.”

To learn more about ACSA’s Co-Administration Committee events and activities, contact ACSA’s Robinson at trobinson@acsa.org, or Rhonda Morgan at rmorgan@acsa.org.

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