Monday, September 7, 2009

Globe article on Bates principal

We’re back from a camping trip. So after being snug in a tent for three days, members of my family have retired to their own respective corners of the house. And I’m back at the computer.

I return to find that the Boston Globe has a trend piece on young principals. The story is really based around one principal, Kelly Hung, 33, who is entering her second year as principal of the Bates school. According to the article:

“One of the first lessons Hung learned on the job was that the first key decision every new principal faces is determining: What’s the issue here? Is it building maintenance? Teacher morale? Parental indifference?

“She quickly pinpointed her school’s issue. ‘We really focused on reading and literacy,’ she said. ‘Even in kindergarten, we have kids read aloud and ask comprehension questions. We stay away from yes and no. I worked on a solid writing curriculum that we all use in the same way. Before, it was not taught consistently.’”

From the parents’ perspective, the jury is still out on the new principal’s performance. The article says, “Jennifer Burg, who heads the parents council, which, among other things, fund-raises for Bates, is pleased with Hung’s performance. A survey of parents at the end of year, she said, suggested that some are very positive about Hung, a few negative, while the majority have taken a 'wait to see what happens' attitude. To be sure, there are skeptics. One teacher said Hung started off well, but began to isolate herself as the year progressed. Burg said she had heard that, too, so everyone is watching closely how the young principal does this year.”

The school certainly has its challenges, as the article notes. It didn’t meet its Annual Yearly Progress goals last year.

But this just might be an up-and-coming school. The article says, “Boston parents chose K1 at Bates for this fall in the city lottery system at double the rate of last year. And K2? That was up 50 percent.” (I’m not quite sure what “chose” means in this context. Were placed and then accepted a seat? Ranked it high on their registration list?)

I visited the Bates last year during school preview time. At the time, Hung was saying that they were hoping to increase physical education classes from once a week to twice a week. I hope they're able to follow through on that.

Since last year, the Bates become our neighborhood playground of choice. My son likes using the green path painted on the playground as a race track.

I wish Principal Hung lots of luck as she begins her second year.

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