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A CASE STUDY OF A TURNAROUND PRINCIPAL

INTRODUCTION It was mid-2011 and the school had new principal. School-Based Management (SBM) was being introduced in Padre Gomez Elementary School. The new principal was adept in the SBM as a DepEd policy framework owing to the fact that he was one of the proponents of its full implementation as soon as he heard and was challenged by it. The school prides itself as one of the best performing schools in terms of academic contests, in the number of demonstration teachers, division-regional-national teacher awardees to name a few. This earned the school high popularity exept for one: the continuing failure of the school to land in the Top 10 Best Performing Schools based on test scores, most especially the National Achievement Test. The principals primary concern was two-fold: to train and educate teachers/stakeholders in the implementation of SBM and to raise the test scores of pupils in the NAT. The transfer of principals from one school to another particularly in the Division of Manila can be because of two things: promotion and the strong faith and belief of the superintendent that the principal can bring about change in a bigger or a more challenging school. This is regardless of whether it is the start of the academic year, mid, or even the school year is about to end. When Mr. Romeo Fernandez was assigned as the new school head, he already felt that the reception was a bit different and awkward. He said that his predecessor was wellloved by the teachers because of her motherly acts and happy disposition; and there he

was coming for the first time with the teachers impression that he was kind of strict, determined, and straightforward. On his first week of getting to know all stakeholders, their relationship, their contribution whether based on collaborative work or not, teacher leadership, parent and community involvement, etc., the more that Mr. Fernandez was challenged to pursue a culture of excellence in that school alongside the fast implementation of SBM.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS During the October professional meeting of teachers, the principal initially zeroed in on the function or operation of SBM. There were graduate school students within the school who were sympathetic enough to help contribute in the discussion of the advantages of having an SBM. Sensing that it would be a tough job for the teachers to implement such, he mentioned the successes that his former schools had achieved because of the collaborative culture and shared leadership employed through the SBM. He even challenged the teachers to trust him for it; and that all he requested was their needed participation and engagement. Only two weeks prior to his appointment, the principal was able to meet separately all the stakeholders: some selected teacher leaders, master teachers,the PTA officers, the Barangay Council and even to the School Pupil Government (SPG). He encouraged their support to make way for the SBM. He discussed their different roles and responsibilities to further learning among the children and to help raise their test scores by virtue of collaborative work.

Just in time for the semestral break, he again met the stakeholders during the Parent-Teacher Conference for the revision and dratfting of the school vision and mission. They later on agreed on the direction or destination that they wanted for the school to achieve: to create a culture of excellence with all stakeholders working together as a team to help children obtain higher achievement on standardized tests, like the division and the national achievement tests. Professional learning communities, collaborative and shared governance structures were likewise created. That goal and mode setting happened less than a month and there was no stopping the principal as he again met all the teachers to insure their commitments for the school to improve even more. The principal said, The teachers had grown comfortably with the long-standing tradition of winning and fielding in teachers for demonstration. Theres nothing wrong in it but I told them we can do and achieve more, with all these gifts and talents. The principal believed that the teachers knowhow and competitiveness must go with better achieving pupils. He challenged the teachers treating their pupils like members of their families. He proposed the creation of a family-like environment inside and outside the classrooms. He said that before pupils could focus on academic improvement, they first needed to feel that their teachers cared about them. Pupils, including their parents, must feel cared for and cared about before they will take risks necessary to achieve, he asserted. Mr. Fernandez told his teachers that they should refrain from giving the idea or message that the pupils must first achieve in order to be valued.

Because there were still a number of teachers working in isolation before the year ended, the principal never ceased to motivate teachers. He continuously assessed and refined their skills with the help of, now, more cooperating and better engaged master teachers and teacher leaders. Increased instructional time for struggling pupils and using various data to continually monitor their progress were formulated. There were also experiments of improving how pupils are grouped for instruction and establishing and maintaining orderly learning environment.

STATUS REPORT Only a year and a half after that much talked about transfer to P. Gomez Elementary School and after consecutively leaving three other schools that also achieved highest distinctions, Mr. Fernandez with his usual good-natured and all smiles stance has a lot of good news to report. All teachers, parents, pupils all the stakeholders have felt the culture changing: there is a better number of winners in all fields; more teachers are fielded in the division, regional and national demonstration teachings; one made it to the Metrobank Outstanding Teacher of the Philippines; the SBM data bank room/office has become a noteworthy model for SBM leaders and proponents of other schools; the school is touted as one of the most child-friendly schools in the country; one of the cleanest and greenest schools in the region; and the most visited public school in Manila by foreign school educators and dignitaries.

To top it all, Mr. Fernadez was elected as the President of the Philippine Elementary School Principals Association and only recently, the school was awarded 3rd in rank as one of the Top 10 Best Performing Schools in Manila based on the results of the National Achievement Test during the Education Week Awarding Ceremonies last December 2012 and lastly, the school was also recepient of The School that has the Highest Increment in National Achievement Test. About his formula to success? It takes alot of strategy and problem-solving ability, attention, and confidence to really bring the school forward and to be known as what everyone has envisioned it to be, he mused. He stressed further that principals should engage and focus the whole professional learning community in achieving dramatic improvement goals fast. He said further that the reason why schools achieve is that all stakeholders are willing to accept change for the better and they all work hard for that common goal.

CASE PROBLEM Mr. Fernandez, whether he likes it or not, might be transferred to another school again anytime soon. He said that he had usually stayed in one school for about two to three years. When that opportunity comes along, he firmly believed that he would relentlessly served the next school and he hoped to surpass his past accomplishments. He also hoped that whoever his succesor would be, the teachers and all the stakeholders would continue to serve the school in behalf of the pupils.

Now that he has been chosen to lead a national group of principals and that he is expected to be visibly unavailable, he said that the school is in good hands and that all the stakeholders especially the faculty and staff are all armed for any battle. Thanks to SBM because there is distributed leadership and there are competent and equally loving and caring leaders, he concluded.

University of Asia and the Pacific


Ortigas Campus, Mandaluyong City

A paper requirement titled

A CASE STUDY OF A TURNAROUND PRINCIPAL


Submitted to Dr. Gladys Fe Golo, Professor as partial fulfillment of the course ELP 221 (School-Based Management) 2nd Semester, Academic Year 2012-2013

Submitted by: Mr. Reynante Roxas Malano ELP 2nd year