Principals to get lots more power in Pinellas
Superintendent Julie Janssen told School Board members at a workshop this morning that a group of more than 25 elementary, middle and high school principals are “chomping at the bit” to move to a system of “decentralized decisionmaking,” formerly known as site-based management, as early as this fall.
“This is possibly the biggest change the school district has seen in decades,” said board chairwoman Peggy O’Shea. “Decisions have always been driven from the top down. This is a chance to have the input come up from the schools.”
Site-based management, a huge issue in both the superintendent search last summer and in School Board elections last fall, puts key decisions in the hands of principals, teachers and parents rather than the central office. The plan under discussion at that time, championed by the Pinellas Education Foundation, resembled a system in place in the Okaloosa School District.
Janssen’s revamped plan is modeled on one used by the Orange County School District with elements borrowed from schools in New York and Washington, D.C.
Janssen explained to board members that the idea is to ultimately expand decentralized decisionmaking to all schools in the district. The first group of schools will serve as models for the others.
“It’s going to be slow going and it’s going to be meticulous, because we’ve only got one chance to get it right,” Janssen said.
Donna Winchester, Pinellas Education Reporter