Friday, May 25, 2007
Parents welcome new CCHS principal with a few suggestions
At his first parent meeting as in-coming Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS) principal, Peter Badalament on May 15 expressed enthusiasm for the "high degree of parent involvement" and noted, "I'm very happy to be returning to CCHS in the fall." Badalament was Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at CCHS from 1997 to 2001, and has been principal of Bellingham High School for the past three years. About a dozen parents welcomed him to the school while wasting no time introducing him to some issues and concerns he may want to address upon assuming his new position July 1.
Badalament introduced himself as a resident of Framingham with a second grader, a preschooler and a bearded collie. He noted his background includes seven years teaching English and Social Studies, a master's degree from Harvard, where he did an internship at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, four years at CCHS, and principal positions at Hanover and Bellingham High Schools for three years each. He pronounced Bellingham "a terrific school" and noted he was happy to stay "until I started getting phone calls from people at CCHS" encouraging him to apply.
Representatives of the Parent Association, Concord-Carlisle Parent Initiative, and Concord-Carlisle Patrons of Performing Students (CCPOPS) were on hand, and Badalament noted he looks forward to working with the many parent organizations. He said, "The number one predictor of school success is parent involvement in the non-athletic life of the school . . . It's great there are so many venues for parents to be involved in." He noted that in his last two schools, "There was not as much parent involvement as I would have liked."
In response to a question from the mother of a sophomore, Badalament outlined several venues for meeting students, other than in detention. He plans to "spend time in classrooms and hallways" and has already met members of the student senate. He also will attend student events, and has a goal of attending one of each sports teams' games. This will be a challenge with multiple sports at freshman, JV, and varsity levels and both boys and girls teams. But, he says, "For some kids it means a whole lot that you took time to see the game."
Another parent noted there is a wide range of communication modes among teachers and no guidelines for when parents need to be informed. She said some parents were surprised to find their student had a "D" grade with "absolutely nothing" in the way of communication from a teacher. Badalament said he will look at revising the student handbook. He also responded to a question about math placement, saying he will meet with the department head and "take a look at it."
Others suggested Badalament borrow a page from Art Dulong on communicating with parents. "The principal coffees have been incredibly helpful in learning about day-to-day concerns," said one, while several asked that the schedule include mornings other than Monday. In addition, frequent quick e-mails to parents are appreciated. Dulong has been "Right on, direct. He doesn't skirt issues," whether it is the shooting at Lincoln-Sudbury, violations of the dress code, or simply that the phones are not working. "It's very effective."
A final question on why "boys grow away from leadership positions" and "85% to 90% of class officers are girls" raised Badalament's interest for a future discussion (this one was cut short as he had an appointment). Badalament noted he had appeared on 60 Minutes on this problem, which is being experienced by schools across the country. Another parent noted she had recently come from the National Honor Society induction and "There were two girls for every boy."
Badalament said he welcomes any input or suggestions, and before he starts at CCHS in July, he can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007 The