The teacher dilemma is very important nowadays as it goes far beyond the issue of education. Principals have to manage schools as very complex systems of multi-level involvement. Not only students, but also their parents, parents committees, various external institutions, government, and teachers are part of the process. For this reason, the key concern of the principal is to balance the system and make it work. Therefore, the first thing to do it to find the heaviest unbalancing factors in the whole situation and address them first.
In current situation, the most viable factor is the emergency situation that requires immediate attention. In order to address the situation properly, the coach is needed to help distinguish the most appropriate actions with the police and with the parents that are already present in the principal’s office. I believe that the coach can help the principal fix the most important factors that help solve the problem with less harm to the school that is already in the trouble situation compared to the Rainbow Academy. The questions to be asked are how to fix the problem with less people knowing about the knife and the police visit and the instruments that help reducing the level of anxiety within the staff and students.
The knife itself is not a problem but the problem created around the situation. If the problem continues to grow, the school might suffer from other unwanted consequences – the grant application can be rejected, the school’s score can reduce even more as the school safety will be affected. Also, the safety plan will be put to doubt. And finally, the Principal Performance Review will also be influenced by the information if the situation with the knife appears in press and goes public.
For this reason, despite the fact that the knife in the back pack is not the most important and global problem from the first sight, it needs to be addressed prior to other issues. Many factors that are in the state of imbalance will increase their unstable condition.
The second issue that should be addressed is the meeting that is already going on, i.e. the Parents Association meeting and the meeting at 11:00 AM with the Superintendent about the preparation for the Principal Performance Review. Due to the fact that there are other major problems to be addressed at this stage, the meetings cannot be rescheduled. That is why, the information for the meetings and all the necessary documents need to be prepared. In this case, there are also some questions that the coach can be asked.
The primary concern here is to obtain information about how the morning emergency situation with the knife has affected the Parents Association meeting and whether the issue should be included in the meeting outline. Also, should the issue be raised in conversation with the Superintendent? It is necessary to find out in what form should the issue be described. The Superintendent will probably need to know how the Principal addressed the issue and how was it solved.
Finally, other issues are all the results of the great problem. In my opinion, with the help of coach the Principal is able to see the underlying problem which causes all the rest of the problems to appear. If looked carefully, the analysis of the issues leads to the conclusion that the school is competing with the Rainbow Academy. While the Rainbow Academy shows better results in terms of class size, safety and school attendance, and the parents tend to favor the Rainbow Academy, the school does need to blindly copy everything that the Rainbow Academy does. The reaction is solely the result of the internal problems that the school currently has for a certain period of time.
Moreover, the staff problems (the fact that teachers leave for Rainbow Academy) is important as this is already an indicator of severe internal problems that the school has. It might be a problem of the curriculum of the subjects that are taught. It might also be teaching materials and the program itself. However, these internal problems need to be fixed in order to provide evidence that the school reputation and image have improved with the arrival of the new Principal.
The coach can help understanding what the potential causes of these internal problems might be. The Principal needs to conduct a meeting with the coach that has to be urgent and prior to any actions related to the existing situations. When the overall picture of what is happening in school is drawn, the actions can be taken.
Due to the fact that it is the beginning of the school year, there is still time for solving the important issues. When the actions that need to be taken in order to address all these issues - school security and attendance, teachers leaving for the Rainbow Academy, parents concerned about the other school entering the building – will be formulated, it is then possible to address them in the grant application, the safety plan, and the Principal Performance Review.
Grant application will become more realistic and will be directed towards the key resources that the school needs to handle these issues. Safety plan will involve cooperation between the school and the Rainbow Academy and will put the school in line with the actions of the Rainbow Academy. This will decrease the total anxiety about the Rainbow Academy itself and its role in the school’s internal problems.
Finally, Principal Performance Review will demonstrate the logic and the critical thinking that help improve the image of the Principal as professional and the school itself. The school’s image will improve with the positive Principal Performance Review inevitably. This will also help the staff of the school think about their current job with less anxiety. Despite the fact that the school faces a number of problems, the ability to structure them and analyze their causes and effects provides a solid foundation for respect Principal’s work and professional qualities.