Note from The Fund team: It’s never easy being a first time principal. Yet Rita Raichoudhuri makes handling her packed schedule sound simple. How does she do it all? Let’s find out.
The main gates open half an hour before school starts. This past year, our start time was 8 a.m., and so our start time this coming year is going to be 9 a.m. I go out into the front entrance half an hour before school starts and welcome students into the building. The students come through the metal detectors and must get searched. It is a very traumatizing experience so we make it a point to mollify that with our own positive greetings. A lot of adults will give students hugs, or ask them a personal question. We try to make that transition into school a little more positive.
Nice to Meet You
The first hour or two will be spent meeting with parents. They mostly want to be heard, but they also want some resolution. Then, I’m usually in classrooms, doing informal or formal evaluations. I also do quick five minute check ins or I’m in team meetings. Here at Wells, we have the Care team meeting. It’s about digging deeper to see what social emotional issues might arise. On Tuesday, each grade level meets. On Wednesdays, I lead the Instructional Leadership Team meeting. Thursday is the day for departmental meetings. On top of that, on Thursday, we also have the transitional meetings for students transitioning in and out of high school. Throughout the four years here, students have the opportunity for postsecondary options. We create plans for that and then also we have on Thursday the climate and culture team meeting for the building. This includes interactions between adults. How do we make this a warm, welcoming place to work? Our meetings are very productive. Meetings take up 40 percent of my time.
By that time I’m back in my office, I have many e-mails left in my inbox. Four o’clock is when I’ll check my work e-mail again. I then have one-on-one meetings until 7 p.m., as students are still here. After that, and checking my e-mail one more time, I plan for the next day and leave by 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.