We interviewed the mastermind behind “chats with the principal” and his name is…Mr. Downing, the principal of Chickering School. He got this wonderful idea from the principal of Sunrise Elementary School in Colorado when he was a fifth grade teacher and later the assistant principal. A “gift of time”, as Mr. Downing puts it, is a break for the teachers to get some work done, or get a cup of coffee. So you wonder – what in the world is a principal chat? Well, we will answer your wonderful question. So, here goes nothing, a Principal Chat is where a principal and, maybe, the vice principal, informs children, of up-coming events and holidays, ways to prevent the transfer of viruses, bus safety, the importance of dressing for the weather, and other important issues. He believes that Principal Chats will help the students get to know him and for him to get to know them.
In our interview with Mr. Downing, we asked him various questions.
Jackie: Do you think Principal Chats are influencing the kids?”
Downing: Yes, I do because I sees us living the Mission Statement. It is impacting each child in a diffrent way. Each child walks away with something diffrent from the Principal Chats by how I see them live the school mission.
Julia: Are the principal chats similar for each grade?
Downing: Yes and no. For example, some topics might be bus safety, good sanitation habits, and other topics might be grade specific. Ms Keniry, our vice principal, might talk about fifth grade student council information, which she advises.
Alice: Do you enjoy Principal Chats?
Downing: I enjoy Principal Chats a lot. Overall, I think it really affects the way students behave and learn.
We want to thank Mr. Downing for all he’s done for setting up the Principal Chats and helping us learn the rules of the school. We really appreciate his kind gestures to make us all feel comfortable in our school environment. We wish to thank him for taking the time to meet with us. We really appreciated his enthusiastic and detailed answers to our many questions. Our most recent Principal Chat was Tuesday, January 5, 2010.
Reported by: Alice, Annie, Jacquelyn, and Julia