Plans

We lost Joe Thompson last week. Prior to his retirement, Joe was a district administrator and a mentor to many. There is no doubt that he was among the most respected people in the district. No one can measure the profound and positive impact he made. I will continue to think of him often. Thanks Joe. You certainly made a difference for me. Your legacy lives on.

Plans

I have never forgiven the New Brunswick Liberal government of the 1990’s for adopting a business approach to education. It probably made sense to the bean-counters and politicians of the day but it certainly wasn’t a student-centred initiative. We continue to pay the price in this province.

One of the impacts of this business approach was the need to start writing plans. Now, I am not opposed to the writing of plans and the development of mission statements, etc; however, it needs to make sense and it needs to happen for the right reasons.

I was in the early years of my principalship when the plan-writing bandwagon was in full swing. Like a good, loyal and obedient servant, I set about to write our plans as required; however, it soon occurred to me that just because a district administrator decreed that schools were required to write yet another plan, the directive wasn’t necessarily coming from the highest level. The need to produce a plan sometimes felt like a make-work project and a means by which the respective supervisor could help to justify his or her existence (a lot more on this later). I’d like to share how I dealt with one such situation.

Now, I no longer have a copy of the original e-mail message; however, I have told this story so often, I think I can pretty well recall the message word-for-word. I should point out that I did carbon-copy the respective supervisor on the original message.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Caines, Gary

To: District 6 Elementary Principals Subject: Literacy Action Plan

Fellow principals,

As your will recall, this afternoon at our monthly meeting the Literacy Supervisor informed us that we are to write a Literacy Action Plan (LAP). This is in addition to the other plans we are to manage and produce: School Improvement Plan (SIP), Technology Action Plan (TAP), Evacuation Plan (EvaP); Comprehensive and Developmental Guidance Plan (CADGuP), etc. We pointed out that literacy initiatives are already included in our SIP`s, but we were told that literacy is so important that it deserves its own plan.

I propose that we write yet another plan. This would be an umbrella plan; in other words, a plan for plans. In it we would identify the various plans we are to write, it would include their unique characteristics and all relevant time-lines. I further propose that we call this the Principal’s Action Plan or PAP.

Now before you pooh-pooh the idea I suggest we give it a test run. Sometime during the next month please develop a draft of your PAP. At next month’s meeting we could break into groups of two and test our plans out on each other; in other words, have a PAP test. If we do this, I simply ask that Kevin not be my partner.

What do you think?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

The need to write a literacy plan was rescinded the following day. It was never mentioned again.


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