September 15th, 2009

Finding Good Principals

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently, “We have no good schools without good principals.”  But finding good principals is a tough job:  they need to empower teachers, please school administrators and ensure that all students in their school are getting a meaningful education.

The Principal Story, a P.O.V. documentary premiering tonight on PBS, tells the story of two principals–one veteran and one newer on the job–in two struggling schools.  It follows their struggles, successes, and illustrates just how critical the job really is.  What does it take to succeed as a principal?  What happens if you fail?

Last year, we profiled a similar story in Washington, DC:  Michelle Rhee was midway through her second year as DC Schools Chancellor and had just replaced 40 school principals when Darrin Slade, Principal of Ron Brown Middle School, had to prove his worth.  We followed him as he aimed to prove his effectiveness as a principal–how was he handling the drastic influx of students and raising test scores?  Would he make it another year or get replaced as so many of his colleagues had?  Watch his story below and catch “The Principal Story” on PBS.

Finding Good Principles in Washington, DC  (8:49min):

“The Principal Story” trailer:

P.O.V. The Principal Story

Related Video: Finding Good Principals [VIDEO]

Related Podcast:  A Principal’s Perspective: Principal L. Nelson Burton must raise test scores at Washington, DC’s troubled Coolidge Senior High School – but he says that half of his teachers are not effective.

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