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I'm Not a Difficult Principal, Honest!

16 years 3 months ago #141591 by Ieduk8
Replied by Ieduk8 on topic RE: I'm Not a Difficult Principal, Honest!

Thanks to all that took the time to respond to my post! Your candid feedback has been tremendously helpful.

Given that we're already into March, and the president is outgoing, I'm going to ride out the remainder of the school year. I'll make it a point to take the new prez out to lunch late in the summer, and I'll share my expectations regarding the agenda. In the interim, if a board member attempts to blindside me with a controversial topic, rather than attempt to do "the dance," I will politely and respectfully decline to respond (e.g., "I wasn't aware this item/issue was going to be brought up tonight; I'd like to gather more information, so let's table it until next month.")

Thanks again all!
16 years 3 months ago #141394 by New kid
What do your by-laws say (if you have any) about how meetings are conducted? Do you have an agenda and if so do you have a line for "principal topics"? It is important that when an agenda is completed to give it to the principal- not for approval- but as a courtesy- to keep the principal up on what the topics are and possible conflicts. If any conflict arises from a parent that is not on the agenda or that the PTO has no control over- well- why is it aloud to continue? Asking the parent to see you for a meeting on why they are upset or the issue at hand should be done and why did it take that parent to expose it at a meeting?
I would love it if my principal would extend the opportunities that you have to your PTO! Mine is a micromanager, eager beaver and a control freak! It is actually causing a lot of stress on parents to the point they want to leave:(!
I hope all goes well and you are able to hammer your issues out!!!!
16 years 3 months ago #141387 by Ieduk8
Replied by Ieduk8 on topic RE: I'm Not a Difficult Principal, Honest!
I have been a PTO President for the past two years. I feel that a good relationship with the Principal is essential; however, I and the entire board of our PTO have, on occasion, been left out of communications or other matters that directly involve our PTO, which really made us feel unimportant and unappreciated. I email our agenda to the Principal a day or so before our meetings and ask for any additions or items of concern. If we have items that she wants to discuss before the meeting, the board members come an hour earlier to discuss them. We really do want a good relationship with the Principal and try to be an asset to the school and not a problem.
16 years 3 months ago #141365 by LizHHKNJ
I, too, echo all the positive remarks and thank you for trusting us here on the boards to help you with your challenging situation. As a long-tenured PTO board member I have also attended meetings where blindsiding has occurred. However, in those situations it was the general membership who attend and raise an issue that was unexpected, or was a surprise to many of us at least. Is your situation initiated by a member or members of your board, and not the general membership? That makes a difference. If the board has an individual on it who has a personal agenda I would make an effort to speak to that person privately. Sometimes people are unable to see where the line should be drawn, a personality quirk if you will. Other times there is a calculated measure taken by one or more people who don't feel they have any other forum for expressing whatever their issue is.

In my child's school we have had a couple of incidents where topics were raised by parents who attended our meeting for the sole purpose of raising an issue because they know the principal will be in attendance. The principal may be aware that an issue exists, and it's possible she has asked parents to come to the PTO meeting in order to be heard as a group, in front of other concerned and involved parents. On one occasion in particular parents were upset about a playground issue, I apologize that I can't even remember exactly what their gripe was. The principal listened to their concerns, the meeting got sidetracked, but at least they got heard. Part of what our PTO does is provide parents such as these with the only place they feel they can raise an issue and have it heard because it's public. They wouldn't be heard at a board of education meeting because those meetings follow Robert's Rules much more stringently than we do, and there would be a time limit even if they were allowed to speak.

My point is this: If one or more parents have a concern and if it has been brought to the administration but they feel they aren't getting enough of a response, or aren't getting the desired response, other than prolonging the meeting is there anything THAT objectionable about the PTO meeting giving them a forum?
I suspect the individual with a grievance would welcome a private phone call or meeting; the group with a grievance just needs to be heard, and sometimes that's all that it takes.

Good luck.
16 years 3 months ago #141364 by Ieduk8
Replied by Ieduk8 on topic RE: I'm Not a Difficult Principal, Honest!
I have been pres. for 3 years and in pto for 7 years. Our principal does not always agree with what we as a pto decide and sometimes even changes the activities to suit himself. Last month we voted to have a Pinewood Derby which is very important at our school. The next day the principal callled and said if we didnt do it his way there would be no Derby Race. I told him ther would be no Race then. The next fews days were chaos and now he is making the afterschool program sponsor the race. What are we supposed to do if we vote and then he decided to change things we are doing?
16 years 3 months ago #141352 by buffilee
According to our bylaws, our principal is a member of the PTO Board, so she is aware of everything that goes on. I'm pretty sure I have a couple of board members who aren't too thrilled with that setup, but they'll have to get over it or get the bylaws changed! It certainly helps keep the "us vs. them" mentality in check (for the most part).

Our principal "gets it", as well. She's had some difficult times this year and some really difficult parents, so I am amazed that she still wants most of us around! I appreciate her and I'm sure most of your parents appreciate you. Thanks for all you do for kids. It's a job I could never do!
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