On February 13th, Alisha Bazemore, Program Manager, and Domonique Goode, Quality Assurance Team Leader, from the KRA/VIEW (Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare) Program, served as the “Principal for the Day”, an activity held in conjunction with the Norfolk Education Foundation (NEF) and Norfolk Public Schools, at two community schools. The “Principal” program allows community leaders the opportunity to experience what it is really like to be in charge of a school, for 1 day. Several prestigious community leaders…including members of the City Council and the School Board, as well as the Superintendent of Schools…took part in the event, which was preceded by a recognition reception for all of the participating “Principals”.
Bazemore, assigned to Fairlawn Elementary School, stated that her experience “was very enlightening” and that she “enjoyed meeting and greeting students in the morning with the Fairlawn Principal”, followed by facilitating the morning announcements on the Fairlawn Elementary TV News set. The Principal and the media crew, which included the school’s librarians, informed Bazemore that she was a “natural at the live broadcast.” Her experience continued with sitting in on a number of test-score performance meetings with the Principal, the Intervention Specialist, and Teachers from the 4th and 5th grades. Bazemore commented, “As the Manager of an employment services program for public-assistance recipients, I could see how our roles mirror one another. First, we both share a passion for the work that we do. Second, it is her responsibility to ensure that the students are prepared and ready to move on to the next grade level, while my responsibility is to ensure that our customers are ready and prepared to move on to their next career-development level.”
As a result of Bazemore’s participation, the Principal offered KRA the opportunity to refer VIEW customers to the school for Community Work Experience training, and welcomed the idea of KRA/VIEW staff volunteering as mentors for the students. Bazemore concluded, “My ‘take away’ from this experience reinforces what I have always known…that it takes a lot people with a ‘vested interest’ to effectively guide and support our youth. Often, people looking in…from the outside… are not aware of the time and energy that educators and other dedicated individuals put into creating a learning environment that helps each student to succeed. Having this unique opportunity to look in…from the inside…reminded me that their task is not an easy one, and one that requires not just educators, but business and civic leaders, volunteers, government officials…and of course, parents…to make that investment and to reinforce what is learned on the inside of the classroom so our youth can become vital citizens on the outside of the classroom.”
Goode, as the “Principal” at Granby High School, came away with a “tremendous amount of respect, for not only the Principal but the entire school staff.” He continued, “Granby has more than 1,900 students and is the closet High School to our office. It was such a learning experience to sit in on meetings with the school’s executive staff, which included five Assistant Principals, each responsible for his/her own ‘academy’. As the data expert for the KRA/VIEW program, I had the chance to ‘go behind the scenes’ and to realize how much importance our schools place on achieving testing and scoring benchmarks to maintain accreditation. Then you have to add in the fact that motivating and disciplining the students consumes a large portion of their day. My hat goes off to all of the Principals and school staff members for the work they do in shaping today’s youth into tomorrow’s adults.”