Good Sunday afternoon! Here's a glimpse of a typical day for me now that I've had a chance to practice the Assistant Principal role at OLSS for nine weeks.
My mornings are very similar to my pre-AP days: supervising students in the gym, unlocking doors for Camera Crew / Worship Committee members, and supervising Worship Committee members as they set up our morning altar. An addition to my normal routine is that I'm also observing that staff members arrive on time to the gym to supervise their students (something I didn't have to focus on before). I'm also approached more by parents, staff and students with questions or issues before and after Morning Assembly. Additionally, when Mrs. DeLeon is not on campus in the morning, I'll do a quick walkthrough of the school to make sure there aren't any pressing issues that need to be taken care of before the school day begins, as well as checking in with staff members at all three morning drop-off areas. Finally, once or twice a month I'll have to attend 7:00 am meetings with parents, parish (Church) staff, or local community leaders who are all helping to make OLSS the best it can be.
After Morning Assembly I head up to Mr. Gomez's room to teach 6th grade religion Monday through Thursday. Once class is done, I'll typically head to the front office to check on messages or to see if any front office staff or Ms. DeLeon need to talk to me about anything. Once those conversations are done, I'll head to my office (located in the original building, next to Ms. Flores' office) to work on everything needed for Mass (Monday mornings) and to check that faculty members are posting homework / classwork / class announcements and grades in a timely manner (Monday afternoons).
One of my most important responsibilities throughout the week is helping teachers and other staff members maintain the discipline of the school. As such, I work with Ms. DeLeon, our team leaders (Ms. Cindy / Ms. Bay for Jr. High, Ms. Saenz for Elementary, and all five Montessori teachers) and homeroom teachers to make sure that all students are practicing behavior appropriate to their age and to our setting (a Catholic school). When students don't act as the saints they are becoming, I help ensure that our discipline plan is followed as justly as possible for all students and families. That means setting up parent, student, and/or teacher conferences, entering Discipline Slips into RenWeb, sending out notices of detention, and running detention on Thursday afternoons. It also means that one of my primary duties is responding to situations as they come up during the day - as much as I try to plan my day out, emergencies come before anything else.
The rest of my week is spent doing a combination of:
- grading / planning for Religion Class
- connecting to parents on the phone, through email, or in person
- talking to faculty and staff members
- observing staff and students throughout the day in all areas of the school
- working on our school social media sites
- working on the weekly Newsletter
- ensuring that Worship Committee members are ready for Mass practice
- making schedules for Altar Servers
- looking and planning ahead for special activities
- reading up on Catholic school leadership, Catholic teaching, technology, and educational resources to share and to help me become a better Assistant Principal
Finally, being Assistant Principal means that I'm at school late sometimes (until 9 pm some days!), at school on some weekends, and working at home most evenings and weekends as well. (Though that's something that our teachers do as well!)
All of this is done in the hope that our school continues to grow as a place where Jesus can be seen in every child, family, and faculty & staff member so that we can help each other eventually get to heaven. I look forward to continuing to serve our parish and school community, and I humbly continue to ask for your prayers for myself and everyone who is serving and ministering at our parochial Catholic school.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
(And by the way, in case someone doesn't make the connection, the title of the article is a play on the titles of the last two Star Wars films - I'm eagerly awaiting December 13th!).
Our Principal, Mrs. DeLeon, is usually at school before 7 am daily. She begins her day by making sure all is well within the school building and opens any classrooms where a substitute may be needed. Then she returns to her desk, reads a Bible passage, gets her coffee and answers emails while the building is still quiet. Sometimes she will meet with a parent.
By 7:30 am until assembly, she will walk to the arrival areas to make sure all is running smoothly or do a teacher’s duty who may be running late. Mrs. DeLeon makes any needed announcements at assembly but mostly lets the students run the assembly because they do a very good job of organizing it. She returns to her office after assembly to do any needed paperwork like order teaching supplies or books or return phone calls. This is the time, especially early in the week, when Mrs. DeLeon checks the lesson plans that all the teachers have to send to her every week through their computers. She wants to make sure the learning is happening.
Halfway through her morning, Mrs. DeLeon does a daily walkthrough of all the classrooms. She will walk into a classroom to see what the students are working on or to watch how the teacher presents the lessons or just to say "Hi." Students say that many times they don’t even realize she has been sitting there watching until she walks out! Mrs. DeLeon says sometimes she just peeks in because she doesn't want to interrupt.
Students and teachers often see Mrs. DeLeon in the cafeteria at lunchtime helping serve food, clean tables, and sweep the floors. Sometimes the students will see her eat a quick lunch in the courtyard but most of the time she forgets to eat.
The afternoons are spent in her office doing paperwork, back in the halls checking on students and teachers, and visiting the church office. And almost every day, she has meetings with parents, with students, with Monsignor, with the Superintendent, and many other things that concern the school. You also might see her with a plumber telling him to fix a leaking toilet, or with the air conditioning man telling him it’s too cold in the classrooms, or you might see her after school at a volleyball game jumping up and down and yelling at the referees.
Mrs. DeLeon is usually the last person to leave the school after all students have been picked up. She is a busy Principal! But the most important thing is that no matter how busy she is, her door is always open to students! She keeps a jar of jelly beans on her desk just for them!