In celebration of National Education Week, nearly 100 schools across Fulton County open its doors to community leaders for the Principal for A Day Program (PAD). PAD is held annually during American Education Week November 14-18. As a member of the Library’s Collection Development & Technical Services Department the program provides a perfect project for me with our learning resources. This year I had the joy of serving as Principal for A Day at C. H. Gullatt Elementary School with its school leader, Mr. Felipe Jackson.
Fulton’s PAD program aims to build relationships between schools and business/community leaders while also educating them on the rigors of successfully managing a school. During the weeklong event, business and community leaders will tackle many of the regular duties that leaders face every day. This is my 7th year participating as a Principal for A Day. Each year I learn more and more about the needs of schools and the importance of community partners to support schools. My primary goal in serving is not only to learn more of the challenges of the Principal and their duties, but to also answer one important question in my heart “What more can I do as an Administrator in the library to support this school and our younger patrons.”
My PAD experience is usually the start of a new relationship. New faces, new challenges and new opportunities to implement the libraries mission and goals in areas of Fulton County that need them. And with each PAD experience I always leave with an AFPLS strategic plan to: implement mechanisms for library card sign up for the entire school; implement and raise goals for online reading through eCampus and electronic databases; and create better awareness of library programming and resources for the entire family, including providing GED and job resources if needed.
Principal Jackson has his work cut out for him. The Gullatt School Community has a total of 503 students with 98% of the school community eligible for free or reduced lunch. As a Title 1 School (a school where Federal assistance is given due to high percentages of children from low-income families) the importance and crucial role that strong and sustained library support plays stands out.
“It is important for every business leader in the community to listen to their local school community’s needs. It is important to me to hear and assess the efforts of leadership, their challenges and their wishes. Their wishes represent to me their hopes and goals for a direction they want to go in. Principal Jackson shared with me his progress in providing technology devices for learning for his students. He spoke passionately about adding even more learning pads to engage his little learners. In understanding his goals, I can go back to my office at the library and then customize eCampus learning plans that the library can share with his school for tutoring, skill building and test prep. I can also reach out to my colleagues to share even more library programs that the school community may not be aware like the Millner Awards, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and even local programs at the newly renovated South Fulton Library branch and links to supportive initiatives through the Library’s Friends groups and the Library Foundation.”
Libraries can partner in communities in so many ways and technology initiatives broaden exponentially the abilities for service and support for shared goals. The eCampus learning suite is a perfect way for students in our local system to “take their dreams off the shelf”. Through the use of technology and the eCampus Project, the library continues to serve students outside of the traditional model of assistance found in standing locations. “The PAD Program offers opportunities for true leaders to acknowledge progress and partner to tackle challenges. It’s my favorite program in Fulton Schools. Give me, the Leader, the opportunity to serve and I’ll give them a new world of support through library and eCampus services.”