Q: When did the MS Deans first come to LCPS? Please provide a more detailed description of the middle school deans duties.
A: LCPS has had Middle School Deans since the first middle school opened in 1971. In LCPS, our middle schools are highly effective because of the specific organization and operation that match the unique needs of the students in this age range. The LCPS approach to the middle school is research based and excellent. This allows for large middle schools to exist and be high functioning. This organizational structure creates “schools within schools” all within a size that is conducive to meeting the developmental needs of middle school children. In this model, the role of Dean is critical.
The Dean is the grade level house leader and is able to address affective and/or social emotional issues very quickly in the current model. The families develop a strong relationship with the Dean who follows the children for each year of middle school. Our parents expect (and so do we) that all these issues are addressed quickly. This allows us to return to academics with minimal disruption. With no Deans, students will be sitting on benches waiting, instructional time lost, resulting in a negative effect on the academic environment that we are building.
In addition to working directly with students within a house area on these affective/social issues, deans conduct classroom walk-throughs to monitor instruction, facilitate grade level team meetings, provide lunch room and hallway supervision, organize before and after school activities, initiate parent contact and facilitate parent conferences, review student grades, conduct child study meetings, and participate in a variety of school level committees.
The Deans work under an LCPS teacher contract, with extra days at the beginning and end of the school year. This model has been in place since the middle school was created in LCPS in the early 1970’s.
The daily responsibilities of the Middle School Assistant Principals are in two major areas: Special Education and Testing. With all three grades in the middle school participating in SOL testing every year, AP’s are not always readily available for affective concerns especially considering the volume of Special education meetings and testing that occurs within schools.
This model allows the Principal to be the instructional leader in the building at a level that the research demands to achieve excellence, including monitoring instruction and assessment, data analysis, and teacher evaluation.
LCPS currently does this better at the Middle School level than most places in the Nation. The removal of Deans would adversely affect this model.