Giving Compass’ Take:
• David Brown, principal of Hillcrest Heights Elementary in Prince George’s County, Maryland, discusses the challenges of running a school during a pandemic.
• What support do schools principals need from donors throughout COVID-19?
Like many of his peers, David Brown’s first year as a principal was far from ordinary. Where the school leader at Hillcrest Heights Elementary — a pre-K to 5 school serving just over 400 students in Prince George’s County, Maryland — initially set out to improve metrics like assessments and attendance at his school, he ended up helping students, families and educators adjust to a pandemic that shifted most of the nation’s schools to distance learning for at least the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
The fall, too, has begun remotely for Brown, though Prince George’s County plans to transition to hybrid learning Feb. 1. In the meantime, there’s still much work to be done in preparation.
We recently caught up with Brown to learn more about how he weathered a school year unlike any other, his approach to maintaining staff morale and his advice for other first-year principals.
EDUCATION DIVE: Let’s starts with the big overarching question: What was it like having an emergency scenario like this come up during your first year as a principal?
DAVID BROWN: I guess the best answer I can give you is “challenging — but with ample support.” Of course, I had my mentor who continued to support me, Dr. [Rodney] Henderson [who leads the district’s Comprehensive Principal Induction Program], and also my principal mentor, Mark Dennison from Fort Washington Forest Elementary.
They were instrumental in ensuring I was able to navigate the perils of an emergency of this nature, so I lean or yield to their wisdom on a lot of things to make sure my plan was effective before I rolled out it out.
It was a lot of checking in with mentors and [working with] support systems or structures Prince George’s County has put in place for novice principals to navigate the everyday work of sitting in the principal seat until we’re kind of fully prepared to move on our own.
Read the full article about principal navigating a pandemic by Roger Riddell at Education Dive.
Since you are interested in K-12 Education, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and K-12 Education?
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