Impacting Community

Is your community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant because you lead at your school? As a school leader, your reach is beyond the walls of your building. And your impact is priceless!

The term instructional leader has its place and was a much-needed shift in thinking at the turn of the millennium. But it is inadequate for a complete description of what school leaders do.

A principal is more than an instructional leader. Instructional coach, teacher leader, area superintendent, curriculum specialist, you are all so much more than instructional leaders. You are community builders.

In the most recent episode of the Mafost Mashup, we looked at the topic of impacting the community. The episode started with a brief reflection on the climb you face when attempting to impact the community, and then a quote from principal and keynote speaker Danny Steele (read his blog):

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”School Community:”]It’s possible some educators spend time on Twitter because here, they find the encouragement, energy, and support they lack in their own school. And that would be tragic. Let’s commit to being part of the “support network” that our own colleagues need. [/thrive_text_block]

And then, Matthew Arend, principal and educational leader at Sigler Elementary sat down to tell the amazing Sigler story (@SiglerStars).

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Learning Community:”]…Trying to grow kids, so you identify where point A is and you try to get them to where point B needs to be, and it looks really different for a lot of different kids. [/thrive_text_block]

Where has your work been as far as creating the brand, the vision, the hope at Sigler?

Matt Arend: …Being able to cultivate relationships with everyone who’s apart of Sigler students family staff. Sigler Nation doesn’t exist without all three components being in place, so it’s a lot of relationship building, shaking hands, and going to where the people are.

You’ve got to know where your kids come from. So you’ll find us in the apartment complexes, during the school year, during the summer you’ll find us at the Boys & Girls Club, see what our families are up to. You’ll see us in the neighborhood just making sure everyone has what they need and that everyone is taken care of.

They know where we are, and we know where they are. It’s outreach. It’s wraparound services.

Impact of Principals on the Community

How do you keep a balance between the things you have to do and the things you know are priorities such as valuing your people?

Matt Arend: Over time you learn what you value. Knowing what you value, what you hold as core values, those are the things that guide you every day.

So for me, it’s being out in greeting kids as they walk in the door. Knowing there are emails to check phone messages to return, but I want to be the first thing that kids see and every morning.

At the end of the day I say it’s the same thing. When kids are leaving I’d say that’d be an easy time to go into the office and knock out some to-do lists, but you’re out at the carpool, you’re saying goodbye to kids, greeting parents, and telling them you look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

I tend to keep my to-do this ’til the end of the day when the kids are gone, teachers are working in the room, and then I go back to my office. I can be accessible, but I’m still able to get the things that I need to do done. I keep the daytime set aside for the kids and the teachers. That’s why we’re here.

You can connect with Matt Arend:

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