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Principal for a Day


Community leaders go back to school to see how today's students learn



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Ron Jones asks students for help with one of the big words as he reads a story to them. HATCHER HURD/Staff. (click for larger version)

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Ron Jones looks on as Alex Salas-Najera works on classwork. HATCHER HURD/Staff.
November 26, 2013
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. Ron Jones, a financial advisor at Wells Fargo Financial Advisors, took a day off last week to go back to school. He had the chance to get a close-up look at education in today's schools and to see what it takes to lead a school.

He and 80 other Fulton County community leaders took part in Fulton County Schools' annual Principal for a Day program as part of American Education Week, which was Nov. 18-22.

The participating schools across Fulton County helped community leaders learn firsthand for a day what goes on in their public schools.

Jones teamed up with Abbotts Hill Elementary School Principal Roytunda Stabler to tour the school and get a firsthand sense of public school education. He said he came away impressed.

"I got a big appreciation of the way the schools use technology and the most advanced leadership techniques to train the teachers," Jones said.

Stabler, principal at the school for 14 years, noted that Abbotts Hill ES is a Cohort 1 school, which means it is in the first group to go through Fulton's charter schools program.

"Our teachers have TAG [talented and gifted] endorsement. They have learning clusters where large groups of children are taught through different modalities and non-traditional methods such as learning math through music," Stabler said.

Using more learning modalities rather than relying on lectures and rote exercises, teachers engage the students' minds and trigger their imagination.

"We can increase the rigor of the education as well as make it more enjoyable," she said.

The school also finds ways to engage the students and recognize them for talents and skills in a variety of ways. Student government is one way to promote leadership. But students are also brought into communications by reading the school announcements, and students are selected as ambassadors greet new students.

Students are involved in community issues through school-wide projects such as collecting materials for schools in need, toys for the holidays and supplies for disaster relief.

"It has been a rewarding experience to have this opportunity. And it has opened my eyes to the kind of learning going on in our schools," Jones said.

Fulton's Principal for a Day program is a partnership between the Fulton County School System, Georgia Independent School Association, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce and the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce.

Its aim is to build relationships between schools and business/community leaders while also educating them on the rigors of successfully managing a school.

"The Principal for a Day program allows us to invite others into our schools so they can see firsthand how education is changing, growing and improving," said Superintendent Robert Avossa.

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