Day in the Life with Principal Dawn Caetta

Principal Dawn Caetta of Kinzie Elementary School dedicates her life to ensuring that every student gets the opportunity to learn. At a young age, Dawn began her career as a camp counselor and immediately started teaching at age 21. See how her lifelong dedication to education plays out on a day-to-day basis.


Early Morning Start

I arrive at school around 6 in the morning. From 6:15 to 7:15 a.m., I’m automatically answering the phone to see what the staff needs. I could be finding and calling subs, dealing with issues with bussing or helping special education students; it’s a lot of maneuvering.

No Student Left Behind

At 7:15 each morning, I go to the front desk to greet the kids. The bell rings at 7:45 a.m., and I start my morning routine of going to every classroom. I had an attendance of 96 percent again, so I go to each classroom to see which kids are absent and to record every name in a log. I call each child who is absent every day.

From 8 to 9:30 a.m., I do home visits with my security guard four days a week. I am constantly picking kids up from home, getting them dressed and bringing them back to school with me. Parents know I am coming and what I expect. I make it very clear that kids need to be in school. If you’re not here, you are not learning; how are you going to succeed?

Social Afternoons

After that, I go in and out of lunch and recess duty. I try to do two or three formal or informal observations a day. Then, I have meetings. Once a week I have grade-level meetings and twice a month I have Instructional Leadership Team meetings, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support meetings and Individualized Educational Plan meetings. After my meetings, I work through parent issues.

School Never Ends
I end school with outside bus duty to make sure all busses are gone and students are dismissed. Then, I come back in and maybe do some paper work. I come in a lot of Saturdays. I like Saturdays – sometimes I’m here alone and sometimes I’m here for detention. I love being here because, I have to be honest with you, I have the greatest kids. I am a very lucky person!

This news post was authored by Summer Fellows Ezgi Ilhan and Hailey Oliff.

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