Congratulations on being a part of the toughest, most rewarding job in education. Although there are many great possibilities for the effective school administrator, the position is full of challenges. Two of the greatest challenges are time management and organization. Both challenges can expose an administrator and a school to many problems, the worst being a time consuming legal battle. In any scenario, the more organized the administrator, the more effective the administrator. Ask any seasoned administration and they will tell you that organization failure will hurt how effectively a school administrator can perform his/her job on a daily basis.
As an assistant principal, I have put in many long hours, only to find myself more behind at the end of the day than I was then the day started. In the whirlwind, I found that I did not have the system in place to keep records of the important tasks that I was completing. Investigating bullying issues, contacting parents, meeting with teachers about performance issues, and conducting observations, are just some of the tasks that require many steps that all should be documented.
As a lawyer, I know that when legal issues arise, documentation is king. Memories get fuzzy, stories change, and the school year gets very crazy. I found that I needed an organization system that helped me document important information in an efficient, easily-accessible way. This book is that method. The goal is to collect the necessary data in a book that can be used to document important information. Of course, any document can be legally challenged, but a hard copy book that chronologically follows the natural course of the position, is a valuable tool. The key is to keep current with the book. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day to make entries and stay current.
Legally speaking, the most important sections are the ones that deal with recording investigations, at-risk students, and personnel. Those are the most common areas that administrators are legally challenged. At each step, follow your district’s policies and keep a detailed record of your steps. It won’t be enough to go back and fill in the book when there is an issue. A skilled attorney will know when ongoing documentation is being offered.
This book is a work in progress. I appreciate that you are using the book and ask for feedback.
Please remember – when in doubt – document everything.