Middle school principals in Milwaukee have formed a collaborative to support each other in decision-making and other academic activity. For years before, they have been competing with each other but have now bonded together for the benefit of a better education. The article of Ellen Delisio (2003) describes this collaboration. Principals before were engaged in rivalry, may it be from jobs or for the reputation of the schools they represent.
The idea may have started, the article is not clear on its specifications but have hinted the idea behind it, when, during one time they were reviewing the test scores, one principal suggested that all principals take responsibility for all the middle school students. The Milwaukee Public Schools Middle School Principals’ Collaborative was born. Although the article specifies what the Collaborative’s activities are, it is somewhat unclear as for whom some of those activities are meant.
Certainly, some are meant for the school and the students, like the discussion of visions and themes for every academic year. Some are meant for the principals themselves, like having “the confidence and security they get from having a peer support network” (Delisio 2003). But whether the retreats were made for the principals themselves or for the students really is indicisive from the article. The article may have hinted it is for the principals.
If it is so, aren’t the meetings made monthly enough to discuss matters concerning administration and other academic activities? Aside from these meetings, the principals also have the option of asking support from other principals when they need it. “We’re not ashamed to call one another and can be critical of each other, and ask deep, probing questions. We’re trying to have solid, sound professional conversations” said Dr. Rogers E. Onick, one of the original collaborative members (Delisio 2003).
If these aren’t still enough, the collaborative also offers workshops for principals. The students could benefit more from these retreats, done on Saturdays once a month and two days in summer. But as have been said, whether the retreat is for the students or for the principals, one cannot tell for sure reading the article. It might be intended for the teachers, for all we know. In any case, the Collaborative is certainly making developments. One thing critical about the article is its lack of supportive argumentation.
It is like reporting a news without the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. Delisio could have expounded on the topic for clarity and stress out important features of the topic. Careful detailing of the what the Collaborative does and its importance to school administration, which the article lacks in clarity, would have supported its essence. Expounding on the subject matter would be more plausable and authorative and would yield better results if the author is trying to convince others on the advantage of working together.
Principals working together is definitely better than working against each other. In the end, it would be the students that will benefit most out of this. Some students may have the initiative to excel before. But now, with the help of the Collaborative, students can gain more from the programs offered and will be better motivated. Better school administrators may produce better teachers and better teaching methods; better teachers and teaching methods may produce better students.