Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist shad­ows West­lake prin­ci­pal

Sees school in ‘cri­sis mode,’ teacher eval­u­a­tion process, tech­nol­ogy in­te­gra­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Charles County res­i­dent Joy Med­ley got a first­hand look at how busy a prin­ci­pal’s day can be, in­for­ma­tion she in­tends to take back to work with her as an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram spe­cial­ist with the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Med­ley took part in the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Prin- cipal Shad­ow­ing Week, be­ing paired up with West­lake High School Prin­ci­pal Michael Meiser Thurs­day.

Med­ley joined Meiser at 7 a.m. — ear­lier than she usu­ally starts her work day — al­though Meiser’s day had al­ready be­gun.

“My or­di­nary day starts at 8:30 [a.m.], so that was re­ally dif­fer­ent for me,” Med­ley said.

Un­ex­pect­edly, Med­ley had the op­por­tu­nity to see Meiser and the school func­tion in “cri­sis mode,” as the school dealt with the death of one of its stu­dents, Reuel Hicks, who was shot to

death the night be­fore.

“It was good to see the way the staff con­tin­ued on with their daily oper­a­tions given such a re­ally big dis­rup­tion to stu­dent oper­a­tions,” Med­ley said.

Med­ley also had the op­por­tu­nity to sit in on dis­cus­sions be­tween Meiser and teach­ers re­gard­ing teacher eval­u­a­tions.

“We get to see teach­ers de­vel­op­ing their Stu­dent Learn­ing Out­comes and the process that it takes, so that’s been great,” Med­ley said.

Shad­ow­ing Meiser also al­lowed Med­ley to see the ways in which tech­nol­ogy is be­ing in­te­grated into the cur­ricu­lum, Med­ley said.

“I was able to go to some of the com­puter labs, and to meet with a teacher who is in­te­grat­ing tech­nol­ogy into some of her classes, which was re­ally cool,” Med­ley said.

Med­ley said she would have never guessed that Meiser was in his first year as prin­ci­pal of West- lake.

“He is so fa­mil­iar with ev­ery­thing go­ing on with stu­dents and staff at the school. I never would have guessed he hadn’t been prin­ci­pal here for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time,” Med­ley said.

Med­ley also had an op­por­tu­nity to sit in on a de­part­men­tal chair meet­ing at the end of the day.

Med­ley said the ex­peri- ence gave her the op­por- tu­nity to see Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams ac­tu­ally be­ing im­ple­ment- ed at the school level.

Asked what she’d learned from the ex­peri- ence, Med­ley said, “The life of a prin­ci­pal is not the life that I want.”

Med­ley said that the ex­pe­ri­ence will be use­ful when she re­turns to her job with the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“The in­for­ma­tion that I’ve re­ceived here, I’ll be shar­ing it with my indi- vid­ual team as well as our staff, and this will help us look at some ar­eas of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and tech­ni­cal sup­port as­sis­tance that we can con­sider that we can be­gin to de­ter­mine how it can af­fect stu­dents in terms of our work,” Med­ley said.

Hav­ing a “grounds-eye” view of the teacher eval­u­a­tion process is re­ally use­ful, Med­ley said.

“We can re­ally look at how it gets down into the class­room, be­cause we’re so ‘up here,’ so to be able to share that with our staff will be great,” Med­ley said.

Meiser said it is use­ful to have a sec­ond, neu­tral set of eyes to help en­sure the rig­or­ous­ness of the teacher eval­u­a­tion process.

“Some­times you lose the for­est for the trees be­cause you’re in the mid­dle of it, so hav­ing some­one else come in who can look at it is re­fresh­ing,” Meiser said.

Meiser said he also wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity to show off his school and its stu­dents to some­one from the out­side.

“She also got be­hindthe-scenes in­for­ma­tion on how things work at the ground level, not just in pol­icy, but in re­al­ity, and how peo­ple are af­fected by it,” Meiser said. “This is all real TV right here.”

Med­ley said she was glad to have the op­por­tu­nity to forge con­nec­tions be­tween her of­fice and the school sys­tem.

“I think it helps bridge that gap be­tween the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the Depart­ment of Ed, and the schools, to see we have an in­vest­ment, be­yond the pro­grams we fund, we ac­tu­ally care about what’s go­ing on in the class­room and we’re not just peo­ple who tell others how to do things,” Med­ley said.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

West­lake High School Prin­ci­pal Michael Meiser speaks with Joy Med­ley, ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram spe­cial­ist for the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, as she shad­ows Meiser on his way to a depart­ment chair meet­ing Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

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