Ok, so we had a meeting yesterday with our new principal. So far, so good. It was a VERY short meeting, far too short in my opinion, but she was able to touch on a few things that sounded promising.
One of the things I'm most excited about it that she going to be strictly enforcing the uniform policy. Like just about every other CPS school, our students will be expected to wear white shirts, WITH collars, and navy blue pants/skirts/jumpers. THAT'S IT! Big Cheese had decided that any white shirt would be acceptable, including T-shirts. He decided black or blue pants were ok, and hey, even jeans would be ok. WTF? You just gave the kids permission to dress in the neighborhood gang banger uniform - white T-shirt and baggy jeans. Nice!
Last year, he decided to try a couple of new things. White, yellow or blue shirts would be acceptable as uniform, and that every Friday (EVERY Friday!!!) would be dress-down day. Seriously?! WTF?! I had actually argued pretty strongly with him about that one. I don't see anything wrong with an occasional dress-down day, as long as the kids have to EARN it. Maybe the last day of each marking period, and you have to have worn your uniform everyday up to that point. NOT every week, that's ridiculous! I don't think any children were in uniform last year. Which meant I could easily tell you what kind of boxers every one of the boys wore, because their jeans hung down to the back of their freakin' knees. The girls were no better, wearing shirts that they probably took out of their kindergarten sister's drawers!
I'm so excited about this one little change, it's crazy! She already has the marquee outside of school stating that uniforms are required on the first day of school. Yay, New Principal!! (I need to get to know her a little better before I can come up with a clever nickname.)
I had thrown out a suggestion to her regarding something we did at my last school. On the first day of school, all the teachers dressed in "uniform" to let the kids know how important it was to adhere to the uniform policy. Well, she got all excited and said, "I'm so glad you brought that up. I was going to tell you all this later, but at my last school, the teachers did this every Monday, and so we'll be doing the same." Oh, and she added, "If we were off on a Monday, then we did it on Tuesday." Woo hoo!! That's seriously one less day that I have to worry about figuring out what I'll be wearing to work. I think it's great!
She has already made some big changes in the past week and a half regarding the appearance of the school. There must have been a cleaning frenzy going on! She basically gutted the front office, threw out about 60% of the furniture, and rearranged what was left. It looks amazing. Our payroll clerk, who used to basically sit in a vault all day, is having a very difficult time with the new boss, however. She's been told that she will be expected to move out of her "closet" and sit out in the office. She also is expected to actually do all clerk duties, not just hide away all week, and only do payroll. Now, those of you who either work now or have worked in the past at the Hell-Hole realize what a huge thing this is!! Apparently, she tried to tell the new boss that, no, she's just the payroll clerk, and that's not her job, but that went over like a lead balloon. I can't wait to see what fireworks come from this!
The school looks so different already. There are REAL flowers and plants all over the place! Not just in the office, but in the hallway. I was amazed to see vases of fresh flowers beautifully places around the entranceway. Someone has gone down the hall and covered all the bulletin boards with fresh new paper and borders, and bright, pretty colors. New Principal told us in the meeting that she loves to see color, and she plans to keep adding it to the school. For as long as I've been there, the entire school has been the same shade of...I don't even know...dirty beige? There were some volunteers that came the week school ended and painted murals around the building. There's a HUGE one directly outside my door that is beautiful. I love it. The only problem I have, though, is it's on a wall that I used to completely cover with my babies' work. I'm going to have to figure out where to hang their beautiful papers and projects now. I was told that there are other murals on the second and third floors, but I didn't venture up there yesterday.
She told us she plans to "beautify" the bathrooms, and enlisted the art teacher to spearhead that project. She said she wants to have a "theme" for each bathroom (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, etc. Possibly a copyright infringement, no?) which I'm hoping will help cut down on all the graffiti.
I stepped out the front door to talk to a parent (Mrs. G., who you all know I love!) and literally gasped when I saw what's changed already. We have grass in our courtyards! AND flowers! It looks like a completely different school. Somehow I got sucked into being on the School Beautification Committee (or whatever the hell it's called) and we are going to be applying for a grant to get landscape materials. Specifically, we will be turning our front courtyards into butterfly gardens. I think it's going to be magnificent. Most years I try to do the whole butterfly thing with my babies, and now we'll have the perfect place to release them. Our engineer has promised to bring me some caterpillars when school starts so we can do it right away. (I suppose that one advantage of starting school so early. Hey, I'm trying to find the silver lining here, people!)
I'm really excited to see how these changes all come together, and what effect it will have on our students. I hope they get on board with the new program. Although, she seems like a tough cookie, so they may have no other choice! The school she came from (where she was for over 20 years) is not too far from our school, but is directly across from one of the biggest projects in the city. She said the demographics of her last school were comparable to the Hell-Hole, but I have a feeling it was a bit rougher. I assume that means she'll be able to handle anything (student, parent, teacher) that tries to stand in her way. Yay!! Finally, an administrator who has a spine!!!! I'm so excited!
Well, I suppose "mini"update isn't all that accurate now, is it? I'm going to stop right here, before you all fall into a coma from boredom. But, hey, I'm excited!!!
This Is Halloween. (No, Really.)
3 hours ago