Change of Command
Swamprot Elementary has a new principal. Principal Umbridge is gone!
*Cue music while Mrs. Who does an impromptu happy dance. Try not to laugh at her as it is an interpretive dance of pure joy!*
So far, the new principal seems very fair. She’s more of a Principal McGonagall, but nowhere near as old. So she shall be Principal Minverva, (McGonagall in her younger days).
The most impressive thing she has done so far is to truly listen to our concerns. There have been situations of safety concerns for students that the previous dear leader refused to consider. Like in my building…tornado warnings are spent in the hallway (per district guidelines that state we HAVE to go in the hallway). Problem is…the hallway in my building has big glass windows at each end, and two sets of big skylights. But the district says ‘hallways’, so Umbridge ordered it must be so. Even though we can’t get eight classrooms of kids up against the wall in the middle part of the building. Even though each classroom in that building has a low-ceiling alcove by the bathroom that is out of direct line of the windows…with the added benefit the kids can quickly scurry into the even more sturdy bathroom. Principal Minerva looked it over, talked with the district officials, and voila…we can ‘officially’ be in a safer place. Not that either place is 100% safe…but the alcove provides less of a risk. (FWIW, I would have taken my kids to the safest place in a real tornado threat, regardless of what Umbridge ever demanded.)
The coaches had another concern. Umbridge demanded that they run into the PE building if they were out on the playground for PE and there was a lockdown, even if there was a shooting on campus. Basically, she wanted them to run across an OPEN FIELD WITH NO COVER. The coaches had wanted to be able to (if necessary) run the students out the back gate to a nearby daycare or small private school. Umbridge wouldn’t hear of it. Principal Minerva told coaches to use their common sense to keep the kids safe.
So, so far, so good. She has some things she wants done her way, but there are very good reasons for them. She listens. She LISTENS! Sometimes she says, ‘I need to think on that and then get back to you.’ Fair enough. Umbridge would make a snap decision and then never change her mind about it even if later it proved to be wrong or ineffective. And if she doesn’t agree with a point, she’ll give reasons why. Solid reasons.
And at our first meeting this week, Principal Minerva told her she was still learning our names, but said she’s already learned some of them…whereupon she glanced pointedly my way. Yeah, she knows my name for sure already. I have the honor of the first worker’s comp claim of the school year…which happened about twenty minutes after she gets an email from the district reminding the teachers to be safe as they set up their rooms. I wasn’t unsafe!!!!! Not really…I was helping set up for a presentation in the library when the damn chair I was moving knocked a grandfather clock, which proceeded to fall and hit me. I think rather that I found a danger that could have seriously injured a child. I was actually helping out!!!! And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway…it’s crazy as it always is at the beginning of the year. But I’m very encouraged so far.