Leadership program helping Bibb principals spend more time in classrooms

Principals better monitoring their time with new program

22 Bibb County schools are involved in the National SAM Innovation Project. The program helps principals better schedule their time so they can be in the classroom more working with their teachers.
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22 Bibb County schools are involved in the National SAM Innovation Project. The program helps principals better schedule their time so they can be in the classroom more working with their teachers.

Bibb County school principals are getting into the classrooms more and spending less time dealing with managerial issues.

The district implemented a leadership development process last year with 10 principals. Now, 22 principals are using it, in addition to Superintendent Curtis Jones and the district’s principal supervisors, Lindsey Allen and Donna Jackson, said Lori Ward-Rodgers, assistant superintendent of district effectiveness and federal programs.

Board of Education members heard a presentation on the National SAM Innovation Project from founder and director Mark Shellinger. This process shows principals how to better manage their days so they can decrease time spent dealing with managerial issues and increase their instructional time with teachers, he said. Research shows that student referrals for discipline issues went down as principal instructional leadership time went up.

Principal participation in the program is voluntary, but there is enough interest that there will be a new cohort in Bibb County next year, Ward-Rodgers said. It’s a “win-win” for students when principals can be in the classrooms more and others in the building can take on more leadership roles for the managerial pieces.

“We’re seeing such great success with the instructional practices with this process that we are definitely looking at expanding that to other schools,” Ward-Rodgers said. “Anytime where you are able to reflect on your current practices and make adjustments along the way to improve the instruction within the school, that works.”

The seats in the board room were filled once again by parents and community members concerned about their neighborhood schools closing. Seven people spoke on behalf of Riley or L.H. Williams elementary schools during the public comment portion of the meeting. More than 50 L.H. Williams supporters attended the October meeting.

A decision has not been made yet to close either school, but the district is working on its five-year facilities plan and will have to decide whether any closings or mergers are needed.

At a work session last week, Jones asked the board to consider keeping schools as they are; merging Riley Elementary into nearby schools; or consolidating L.H. Williams Elementary into Brookdale Elementary, although other options could also be considered. He will make a final recommendation at the Dec. 14 board meeting.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the board approved an updated memorandum of understanding with Macon-Bibb Government that specifies the Ed DeFore Sports Complex will not be renamed if the property is bought by the board. Last month, the county added the clause prohibiting the name change.

The memorandum involves two other sports facilities as well. Board members previously agreed to the transfer of ownership of Tom Fontaine ballpark from the county and allow a $1.5 million sports complex to be built behind Hartley Elementary School on Anthony Road. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Macon-Bibb County will pay $750,000 each for the new facility, but there will be no cost to the school district.

The Ed DeFore Complex is being appraised, and the Board of Education will purchase it if the price can be agreed upon, according to documents from the school district.

Board members also approved:

▪  A contract of more than $167,000 for multifunction copiers at elementary, middle and high schools.

▪  The purchase of $69,244 worth of small kitchen items and $890,959 worth of large equipment.

▪  The purchase and installation of five 75-inch interactive panels, at a cost of $21,405 using education special purpose local sales option tax dollars, for Academy for Classical Education charter school.