Experienced parent group leaders know that the principal can be a good friend at school, and that schools work best when parents, administrators, and teachers work together. When the principal is on your side, he can improve your programs, make fundraising more successful, help build support, and more.
It’s easy when you're lucky enough to have that outgoing, engaging principal who supports all your work. But it’s perhaps even more important to be proactive when you have a principal who isn’t a natural at PR and connections.
If you do have that not-quite-engaging principal, the best way to break down the barriers for your group is to continually do more for him. Thank him (even if he might have been an obstacle), and include him in all of your wins as a group. That kind of effort can do wonders for your group and for the camaraderie of your school as a whole.
Here are a couple of quick tips for getting things off on the right note:
- Schedule a meeting with the principal as close to the start of the school year as possible.
- Be prepared—show up with a list of topics you want to cover. Email the list to the principal before the meeting, and arrange for a long enough time to go over details.
- Find out how the principal prefers to stay in touch, whether via email, phone, or office visit.
Here’s one of my articles about putting yourself in the principal's shoes. We also have an article called “Help Parents Connect With the Principal” that offers ideas on how your group can facilitate connection and communication.