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APs: Think About Next Steps
Leadership Insights

Just for APs: Looking Ahead to Your Next Steps

By Terry Wilhelm May 26, 2015

From May through June, many principals begin pre-planning for fall. Although principals and APs are as ready for summer vacation as everyone else, the quieter, calmer interlude between the departure of students and staff and the end of the administrators’ work year is an ideal time for regrouping and planning.

Get involved in fall planning

Principals typically work a longer year than assistant principals, so now is the time to take the initiative and approach your principal to express interest in being involved in fall planning if you aren’t already. This is your opportunity to broaden your knowledge and expertise beyond the more-limited scope that is typical for most APs.

Think about an area in which you need to increase your own proficiency. For APs, these might include:

  • Budgets
  • Hiring and staffing
  • Specific areas of curriculum and instruction
  • Assessment

Ask for opportunities (and find resources) to grow your skills in specific areas

Although APs are typically in charge of managing the logistics of the state testing program, knowledge of effective classroom-based assessment practices is very different. Depending on your own teaching background, this may be an area for you to grow your knowledge, especially for subject areas or grade levels you have not taught.

If your principal is not open to including you in fall planning or does not seem to have the time to help you develop in new areas, this is still a good time for you to learn on your own using resources such as books, articles or the Internet. Other principals who are known for their expertise in certain areas, or district office professional development staff, may also be willing to spend some time with you. Of course, be circumspect in how you go about accessing other leaders to avoid offending your own principal.

Propose ideas to your principal for improving school-wide routines

Finally, this is the ideal time to step back and look at the schoolwide routines and systems that directly impact your own world as an assistant principal. For example, if you are in charge of discipline, what are the hot spots that typically generate discipline problems and office referrals? What modifications would help?

Take the time to prepare a thoughtful proposal for your principal about your recommendations. If she or he is open to the changes, sum up your agreements in a concise follow-up email that includes any dates where, for example, you agreed that PD for staff will be provided in the new routines that teachers need to support in order to improve student behavior.

Use the vision of your future career as a principal to stay motivated

At this point, you may be planning to apply for your first principalship and are picturing yourself in that new role in the fall. Cultivating the vision of your next career step is very motivating, but in the event that you are still in your current assistant principal role when school opens, these ideas presented will not only make you better in the place you are now but it will also give you an extra edge when you do attain that goal.

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