Friday, September 3, 1999
Carlisle's first assistant principal ready to begin
Carlisle students won't meet their new assistant principal Terry Farwell until the first day of school, but she has been working since July 1. "Terry came on board with both feet on the ground," said principal Andy Goyer, who is looking forward to sharing with Farwell the responsibilities of administering a school of nine grades, 750 students and over 70 professional staff.
While Goyer explained that he and Farwell are still figuring out the details of the most efficient use of the assistant principal, they intend to share all responsibilities rather than split the school into smaller administrative units. The one duty which Farwell will take over completely is the role of team leader in developing and implementing individual education plans for children with special needs in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Farwell grew up in Acton and spent the last two years in Littleton as director of special education for children in pre-school through age 22. Farwell holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and a graduate degree from the University of San Diego. After completing her graduate work, Farwell worked in inner city school districts in southern California, which she described as "eye-opening."
For example, recounting a routine situation known as a lock-down, Farwell said, "The school would be notified whenever there was threatening police activity in the area. Students would be instructed to duck and cover (that is, crouch under their desks like in an earthquake drill), and classroom doors would be locked. School doors were locked at all times." Farwell learned from this experience how important it is to feel safe in the classroom, not only from violence but also from the fear of being bullied or put down by one's peers.
Goyer and Farwell will share responsibility for discipline, striving to maintain consistency. With respect to her philosophy on discipline, Farwell said, "I believe in a proactive and positive approach. I don't anticipate too many problems. Carlisle is a strong community. I expect that most potential problems will be handled by teachers in the classroom."
Regarding recent reports of uncivil behavior among students, Goyer said that one of the administration's main goals this year is to institute a civility policy. Goyer would like to get the community involved in this process through the school council, for example, and the Council on Aging. The principal also would like to see middle school students, in particular, develop closer ties with the elderly in the community.
Goyer said the biggest effect of having Farwell on board will be that he will be able to walk around the school more and observe. Teacher evaluations, which Goyer and Farwell will share, require classroom observation and take up a tremendous amount of time, according to Goyer. This past year he and other administrators evaluated 42 teachers.
Having an assistant principal is also more in line with the education reform act, reasoned Goyer. Under the act, there are strict responsibilities for principals including accountability for educational standards, hiring and keeping teachers, and setting goals for the year with the school council. Concluded Goyer, "Instead of spreading ourselves thin, we can get more intensively involved in school curriculum and teacher assistance."
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito