Business people have a "heart of mission" when they partner with local schools, Julia Daniely said Thursday. The Westside High School principal showed her four "Principals for a Day" the leadership ropes and had candid discussions with them about student needs and community partnerships.
More than 50 community members stepped in as "principals" at Bibb County public schools. During Principal for a Day, each school welcomed one or more guest from local businesses, organizations, churches, agencies and more. They got a first-hand look at day-to-day school operations, principals' instructional and administrative duties and classroom practices.
After a hiatus of more than five years, the district brought back the Principal for a Day event last year. It's sponsored by the Business Education Partnership, an alliance between the school district and OneMacon.
Frances Marine Davis, chief counsel and campus affairs officer for Middle Georgia State University; Pastor Todd Hunt, with The Redeeming Hope Center and CEO of Timber Management Inc. and Wood Basket International; Robert Betzel, CEO of Infinity Network Solutions; and Susan Clay, director of hospitality sales for Edgar's Hospitality Group, spent time at Westside.
"I wanted to be Principal for a Day because I love our city, and I believe the relationship between our schools, our churches and our businesses has to be brought together," Hunt said. "I think this is a great school, and it's a great example of what can be done in Macon."
There are always going to be students who need special care, and community agencies are a part of providing those services, Hunt said. Betzel said the visit opened his eyes to Westside's successes, growth, challenges and factors that affect student outcomes. Employees come out of the school system, so employers have a responsibility to be involved in order to create a stronger workforce.
Hundreds of Bibb County high school graduates go to Middle Georgia State University each year, and it's important to understand the context they're coming from, Davis said. As a Principal for a Day, she was able to see examples of why policy and people must go hand in hand. She also realized that high schools and higher education institutions face some of the same challenges.
"I was really encouraged by the love that I see in the educators here and how they understand that the 1,100 students at this high school are not one-size-fits-all," Davis said. "They come from different walks of life, they have different talents and interests and stories, and it was encouraging to see that they're trying to address that."