“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at time of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Assistant Principals are key to school culture and climate. I believe that APs are the superheroes of our schools. Our feature AP is Marcus Saunders. He is from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He has been in education for eight years currently interning as an Assistant Principal at Carrington Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. His educational philosophy is to foster a community in which education results in an experience that includes optimal learning and enrichment of minds, hearts, courage and spirit. He can be reached at [email protected], IG:edukated_gentlemen.
Mr. Saunders is currently participating in a Principal Resident program at Carrington Middle School. I have been a Teacher Assistant, Student Services Coordinator, and a 1st and 3rd grade teacher. In his current role he has the opportunity to help students understand the meaning, it’s not where you come from but where you’re going. There are several students that he works with that come from low-income families. Everyday he tries to help the students understand the importance of their education and that their value isn’t placed in their zip code but their moral code.
Check out this spotlight from Mr. Saunders:
In my perspective, I would say the challenges children of color face today in education is slightly different 30 years from now. Depending on where they are living and their school’s staff population. Several students do not know how to control their emotions, so when they lash out some staff members do not know how to address or control their behavior. This is why social emotional learning (SEL) is key for student and parents. Like schools across the Nation, there is not a large number of children of color succeeding academically at my school.
Best practices that I am using are Data Talks with teachers, interventions for reading and math with teachers and computer programs, as well as providing an enrichment sessions during lunch. 8th grade students are able to grab their lunch and attend sessions to make up work and seek assistance with classroom assignments. This is my first year at this school, so; while I am continuing to build relationships, some of the black males are starting to open up towards me. They ask me questions as well as I share in their academic celebrations.
Partnership is key! I have started a partnership with North Carolina Central University Royal Court as well as some of the Greek Fraternities to become mentors for black male students. This is to ensure they stay on track to one day go to college and possibly become an educator. Some of the challenges I face as an educator are behavior issues. There are several students who are broken mentally and emotionally that it can be hard at times for them to understand that everyone is not out to get them. One of the ways I deal with this is by building relationships. Students have to be partners too! When I gain their trust they give me respect. A benefit of this partnership with students is, when I talk they listen. I’m able to direct the narrative to help them find difference pathways to success that are safe and productive.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.