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October 23. 2013 11:44PM
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Don’t drop ball

on W-B projects

I cannot understand what local leaders were thinking when they razed the former Hotel Sterling but left the dilapidated Sterling Annex. Here is all the equipment necessary to finish the job, yet the annex still stands. No hindsight!

A great opportunity exists for Wilkes-Barre Area School District to acquire the former Murray complex and build a school complex to replace the three existing high schools. Hindsight!

Hopefully, with careful planning, a beautiful new school can rise from the ashes. This probably will take to nearly the end of the decade, yet it will be a great undertaking.

Hopefully, these projects can someday be a reality.

Robert “Doc” Phillips


Focus on US debt,

not ‘Obamacare’

Now that the government shutdown has ended until February when the drama starts over again, all that happened was that the “can was just kicked down the road” and nothing is really being done to get the national debt under control for this country’s economic future.

It’s insane what our elected representatives in Washington are doing to voters in this country and the possible consequences for all of us.

The Republicans would be well advised to ease up on their rhetoric about “Obamacare” and just let whatever really happens to it happen. If it happens that it does end up being a serious train wreck, then the Republicans will be in the position of telling the voters in this country and the Democratic Party: “We warned you.”

Whether that happens remains to be seen.

The Democrats would be well-advised to ease up on their borrowing and spending habits that buy them votes from people who really don’t need help to make ends meet, such as the Food Assistance Program. It’ll bankrupt this country if something isn’t done about it before it’s too late.

Both parties have the opportunity between now and February to do something meaningful for everybody in this country. Let’s hope they do.

I’m not a historian, but I feel that the Democrats have added more money to the national debt than the Republicans over the years because of their out-of-control programs that have caused so much fraud.

John Hollenback

Greenfield Township

Lackawanna County

Being a principal

takes discipline

The Senate of Pennsylvania has recognized October as National Principals’ Month. In its proclamation, the Senate recognizes the vital importance of principals as educational visionaries, instructional and assessment leaders, disciplinarians, community builders, budget analysts, facilities managers and administrators of legal and contractual obligations.

Despite the general recognition of the important role principals play in creating effective schools, most of us have only a vague idea about what principals actually do. Many retain the mythological vision of a man, sitting in his office, waiting to punish unruly students. This image is inaccurate and relates little to the actual duties and responsibilities of principals, nor does it describe those who fill the position.

Here are some facts about principals that might better your understanding of the position and the qualities required to fulfill it.

Did you know that …?

• School leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn in school. School leadership accounts for about one-quarter of total school success.

• There are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful leader.

• The principalship in Pennsylvania is gender neutral – with nearly 50 percent women and 50 percent men.

• Principals are required to have advanced education and training, are expected to have been outstanding classroom teachers, know curricula and student growth research and be able to help teachers in a range of grade levels and/or subject areas improve instruction.

• Principals are expected to observe all teachers and conduct both pre- and post-conferences with them, as well as offer suggestions for improvement and recognize outstanding achievement of staff. An average observation and write-up require five hours of principal time.

• Principals deal with the most difficult problems facing staff, students and parents. Usually problems arriving on the principal’s desk have already failed to be resolved in the classroom and are of a complex nature.

• Principals are not only responsible for classroom discipline, but also responsible for discipline on the school bus, in the cafeteria and at school events.

• Most principals spend between 50 and 120 nights a year supervising events or conducting meetings.

• Principals have homework. Preparing for faculty and staff meetings, planning professional growth activities, writing evaluation reports and completing state and district required reports are normally completed on weekends or after events.

• Most principals are responsible for developing and administering the school’s budget, often in the millions of dollars.

• Most principals arrive earlier and leave later than teaching staff.

• Principals’ summers are not the time for tea and newspaper reading, but rather are filled with hiring new staff, developing goals for the upcoming year, accounting for supplies and material orders, planning and often administering staff development and scheduling students for the upcoming year.

• Most principals in Pennsylvania receive less pay per day then a teacher with the same years of experience and educational attainment.

Pennsylvania has some of the finest principals in the United States. They are dedicated and entered the position, not for financial reward, but because they wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.

They often sacrifice their time so that your child will succeed. Being human, principals sometimes make mistakes, but your child’s welfare is their top priority.

Please take time to thank your principal for the efforts he/she is making on behalf of your children and grandchildren.

William R. Hartman Jr.

Executive director

Pennsylvania Association of Elementary

and Secondary School Principals


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