As I remember from my school days, our school principal was one of the greatest persons who inspired students to build on their strengths, persuading to believe that all dreams and goals are achievable. This experience allows me to construe that the principal is the key figure in education who keeps the balance in schools. When I saw this videoLinda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction) for the first time, I was speechless, because it really touched me with highlights of the impact and asset that this strong woman brought to the society. It was manifest from her speech that principal, teachers and students in school are more than the system. Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a great principal in Strawberry Mansion High School in the North Philadelphia, who has the 20 years’ experience on a special education for low-performing schools. She is a solid principal who triggered off a broken school to ameliorate; the woman who had established a student code of discipline among the students with the most outrageous behaviour. The school is defined as a school with the bad reputation and was in the hit list of Philadelphia’s authorities as a “persistently dangerous school”. Nowadays the school is being transformed in a positive direction.
That’s how it was.
She claimed that there was no one around who could be a powerful principal to this school in the last four years, and finally she volunteered to be a principal. On the first day of work she had witnessed her students fighting each other, after it she moved on to first action toward improvement. During the meeting, one girl named Ashley asked her “Miss… miss, why do you keep calling this a school? This is not a school”. Linda says that this sort of question made her think back to her low-performing school where she had studied many years ago. Exactly, this was not a real school, the doors were locked with the chains, and the classrooms were almost empty, students carried weapons and there were a drug addicts. What is the worst that even the teachers were afraid for their personal safety. She obviously did a huge work to transform everything in the school, she compel herself to persist these challenges. In this way, her famous slogans were used as leverage to struggle for change. Anyway it seems to me that everything is not easy as it described in her speech.
Her first slogan is: “If you’re going to lead, lead”.
Cliatt-Wayman asserts that everything happens in the school depends on the principal. Being principal requires her to be a leader. She pinpointed that the leader should not sit back in the office, delegate work on others, and cannot allow herself to be afraid of tackling her students’ issues. Also, she emphasized that there’s nothing to be done alone. So, to carry out this task Linda gathered around herself the most skilled staff, who have the faith on children’s potential. All staff including teachers, police officers work constructively, tirelessly and consistently to help the broken school recover. Necessary steps were taken to strengthen the discipline entitled as: “Non-negotiable.” As a result, the school removed from the persistently dangerous list, which in my opinion reflects her truly leadership skills to lead people fearlessly. As she highlighted “Leaders make the impossible – possible”.
The next slogan is: “So what. Now what?”
The principal asserts that the school encountered the low attendance rate, many students were from dysfunctional families, they did not place a priority to study, and this in turn led the school fall behind. Taking into account conversations about appalling conditions, bad-tempered students, the low results on algebra and literature, she set the goal in front of her colleagues: “So what. Now what? What are we going to do?” Linda depicts development problems and solutions, so she made teachers to differentiate the methodology which might be effective to pay respect to individuality of students. She made every effort to deal with the problems she encountered, but in this video she described only the top of the iceberg. For instance, I was curious to know how they elevate the level of education in details, what exact methods teachers used? So, these questions still required more precise answers.
Her final slogan is: “If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do”.
Her students had financial, social and emotional problems, and no matter what they had she tried to support all of them, because she knows the feeling what it’s like living on poverty. She believes that opportunities for education and life skills help them to improve their lives and rise from poverty. Linda has daily conversations with her students and she elevates with pinpoint accuracy those moments when her students feel themselves special, essential and awfully safe.
Though truth be told, my favorite spot is that Cliatt-Wayman has gained the respect and support of the audience on the basis of her work and results. She made tough decisions; she set a clear goal in front of her students, reminding them on a daily basis that education can change their lives.
In her speech there is a powerful message for all educators who have an opportunity to change the world, we should not stand idly by, experience the negative effects of poverty, and be satisfied with promises of authorities. Since any change would require broad support across all sectors of society, she encourages people to let us be prepared to take minute steps toward development of education worldwide.