Each school, local conference of education (LCOE), and union conference of education (UCOE) will have different expectations about when certain tasks must be completed. However, following is a general listing of yearly duties and events:
Finding adequate funds for programs and activities on a school campus is a constant challenge. Fund raising can be separated into two categories: development program and organizations/activities.
Schools must have an organized development program in order to provide an additional source of income to the institution. A development program establishes a base of financial support through contact with the school’s alumni, interested parties, local businesses, and foundations. While the principal can manage such a program, time generally does not allow for the principal to carry out all the duties necessary. It is better to have a development director or a development committee. Using the consulting services of Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) at the NAD, a principal can initiate and support a successful development program.
Various organizations (e.g., senior class, student association, music department, Home and School, etc.) will choose to raise funds for activities. A school should have a policy for determining:
Good principals go where the action is. Making time to get out of the office is not easy. Following are some examples that may be helpful:
Field trips provide experiences that enhance the academic life for each student. Field trips should be planned and arranged by the classroom teacher. The principal should ensure that the school has a process for the:
The union Education Code and LCOE policies will provide direction regarding the approval process. Lack of appropriate approval(s) can expose the school to undue liability.
Transportation arrangements should be made in accordance with school policy. Adventist Risk Management policies and state/provincial laws must be followed. When using cars and/or vans, drivers must provide evidence of minimum insurance coverage, have been screened as a volunteer, and undergo a driving record review. Fifteen passenger vans are NOT to be used for any school transportation.
A budget should be prepared for each trip. This may be as simple as listing expenses and income to ensure that each trip is financially sound and within school policy. Policy for proper handling of funds collected should be in place and clearly reviewed with faculty.
Administering discipline is the responsibility of the administration and the faculty. A good discipline policy begins with simple, fair, consistent, and reasonable expectations. Rules should be few and written in clear language. Discipline policies should also include the steps of due process to be followed. Administration should follow the approved policies of the school, Union, and state/province.
Discipline should be redemptive and progressive. In order for progressive discipline to be most effective, communication must take place between the school and the parents of the student involved. Remember that corporal punishment is never an option. The school board involvement is limited to expulsion hearings.
The principal must ensure that the school has a emergency preparedness plan. The following suggestions can help guide the process of preparing the plan:
Crisis-related communication should begin with the school family. The principal should provide a written statement to each teacher that can be shared with all students and families. The school family should hear directly from the principal rather than hearing the news first from the media.
The presence of the media is inevitable and sometimes can be helpful. Principals need to learn effective ways to communicate with the media to accurately inform the public, maintain perspective, and bolster confidence in the school’s ability to manage crisis situations. When dealing with the media, the following tips will help:
School safety issues fall into a variety of categories:
There must be appropriate supervision to provide a safe environment in which students can learn and grow. Adventist Risk Management can provide guidelines as to the number of students per supervisor in various situations.
Regulations may differ in each state/province for the frequency of drills per year. A record of dates and times of the following drills is to be kept on file in the office:
The school safety committee should regularly inspect the physical plant to ensure that students and faculty/staff are in an environment free from known risks. Evaluate the school facility with the intent to eliminate dark, secluded, and unsupervised spaces Emergency exit routes are to be clearly posted in classrooms, laboratories, offices, cafeteria, dormitories, etc. Fire extinguishers should be inspected and maintained as prescribed by law.
The principal oversees the safety for all school-provided transportation. All aspects of school transportation must comply with state/provincial regulations. The following list includes specific items to consider.
Facilitating a safe culture can minimize the threat of violent episodes from within the school community. Listed below are some things that can be done to decrease the likelihood of a violent episode:
Each school functions more effectively with standing administrative committees. In small school settings, board and community members may be valuable in assisting with some committees, e.g. Marketing, Technology, Safety, etc. Some general guidelines for working with committees are:
Some examples of school committees are:
The academic standards committee assists administration in curriculum leadership of the school. This committee is responsible for:
Studying and suggesting a variety of teaching strategies that meet the diverse learning styles and achievement levels of students.
The functions of the administrative council may include:
The duties of the admissions committee are to:
The function of the marketing committee, made up of a representation of stakeholders, is to develop, update, and implement the strategies outlined in a marketing plan. Each school should have a written marketing plan that includes strategies for student retention, recruitment, and constituency awareness.
The religious activities committee is generally coordinated by the campus chaplain or Bible teacher. It is recommended that students be included on this committee. The duties of this committee are to coordinate such activities as:
Each school must initiate and activate a continuous safety education program monitored by the safety committee. The safety committee should meet, at minimum, on a quarterly basis. The duties may include:
Each school should have a written technology plan. This plan should be developed and monitored by the school’s technology committee. The plan could include:
The committee may also be responsible for:
Minutes preserve a permanent, official record of the actions taken at meetings. Accurate minutes guide implementation of the decisions made, help avoid future misunderstandings, and share the proceedings for those unable to participate.
Minutes are considered legal documents, and it can be presumed that if it isn’t in the minutes, it didn’t happen. It is essential that the principal ensure accurate and concise minutes be published and distributed of all official meetings in a timely manner. While there may be variation in format, official minutes should include the name of the school, the board/committee, date/time of the meeting, who attended and if there was a quorum, all motions made and voted, any declared conflicts of interest or abstentions from voting, and reports from various sub-committees.
Minutes should NOT include:
School boards meet in executive session to discuss sensitive topics such as personnel and discipline. Regular board meeting minutes should reflect that an executive session was held and identify the agenda topic addressed.
Executive session minutes are recorded and stored separately from the regular board meeting minutes, but maintain the same format and details. Minutes of executive session must be approved in another executive session of the board.
Faculty meetings provide time for the faculty/staff to engage in professional development, evaluate student learning results, review spiritual and academic action plans, coordinate upcoming events, and discuss other important issues. Some things to remember for effective faculty meetings are:
Graduation is the capstone event for the school and the students. These events draw the attention of the community to the school and have a major impact on the perception of your school and your leadership. The planning of graduation events should be ongoing as it can take many months.
Consider the following in the graduation planning process:
To effectively communicate student progress, the school should facilitate parent teacher conferences at least twice a year. These conferences are most commonly held at the end of the first and third quarters to provide a mid-term report. In addition to giving the parents a copy of the student’s report card, standardized assessment results can be shared at the first conference of the year.
Factors to consider:
In boarding academies, the principal must have deans who can serve as effective administrators in the dormitories. The principal ensures that the philosophy of the school is implemented by the deans. Ongoing communication between the administrator and deans is vital. A regular deans’ council will become the forum for problems to be addressed and planning to take place. The principal and the deans should collaborate to develop the dormitory handbook.
Principals need to ensure that the enrollment of international students is an effective part of the school’s mission and that appropriate resources and courses are available to help the students succeed.
A school (or conference) accepting international students must be certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and follow the protocols on the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) website. An individual on each campus must be designated as the school’s contact.
Students who are not permanent residents of the United States must have a student visa in order to attend school. To begin the process for receiving the F1 immigration status, the school must issue an I-20 form. This should be done only after the application and admission process is completed.
To manage the many activities on a school campus, a master calendar should be developed and maintained. This calendar must be kept up-to-date throughout the year and be made readily available to the school’s stakeholders digitally (website, app, email, etc.) and/or, as appropriate, in hardcopy. There are many software and online options available for developing, managing, and distributing a calendar. In developing the school’s master calendar, ensure to:
Remember, the goal of a master calendar is to keep the stakeholders of the school informed, minimize conflicts and time out of class, and best utilize resources such as transportation, facilities, and personnel.
A school bulletin/student handbook should be published each year and include, but not limited to, the following information:
The school bulletin is to be reviewed and approved by the school board each year and a process established to ensure that parents have received a copy.
When posting a digital version of the school bulletin/student handbook, ensure that it is current and in a format that cannot be easily modified, e.g. PDF.
The principal is responsible for leading and managing the accreditation process. The accreditation process is vital for holding the school accountable to accepted standards of quality and facilitating school improvement. Accreditation protocols provide the framework for a continuous process of self-evaluation, accountability, and improvement. This must not be seen as a one-time event squeezed into a busy school calendar once every few years. Rather, this process provides the opportunity for engaging stakeholders in self-evaluation, and identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement in the school. Students, teachers, parents, board members, and the administration should have opportunity to review data that measure school programs and work on action plans that will lead to school improvement.
All Adventist schools are accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association, Inc. Most secondary schools are also accredited by a regional accrediting body. Material and resources about the evaluative process are available from the NAD Office of Education website. The local conference office of education (LCOE) and the union conference office of education (UCOE) will provide direction about the accreditation process and how to prepare the necessary reports.
The principal must:
Public functions such as Saturday night programs, class nights, graduation, and all other activities for which the school is the sponsor should:
The normal operation of the school results in the production and accumulation of a large volume of files and records of administrative and historical value. In order to preserve documents of permanent value and to avoid the unnecessary preservation of unneeded materials, each school will find it advantageous to establish a records management program aligned with NAD Working Policy.
The administrator, business manager, registrar, and other employees should evaluate the legal, financial, and cultural worth of various types of files and records produced in all offices. Various documents and minutes not only tell the history of an organization but may be called upon in case of litigation. Many records that seem to be of little value beyond the initial retention period grow in historical value as time passes and may serve future administrators in restudying issues and problems.
Each school should establish a records center — a storage place in which to protect documents from fire, deterioration, and unauthorized access. Documents and files considered to be permanent may be kept in hard copy, digital, or microfilm at the discretion of the LCOE.
The principal should work with the LCOE to develop a records retention schedule for the following:
Mastering the Management Buckets — John Pearson
Book on Management
See additional information on italicized items elsewhere in this Handbook.
See additional information on italicized items elsewhere in this Handbook.
Field Trip Supervision
International Student Program
Safety Inspection Form
School Improvement Steps
Types of Threats and Hazards
Guide for developing K-12 school emergency operations plans »
Emergency Preparedness Resource