How a Kindergarten Center is Amazing with Jessica Cabeen Transformative Principal 099


Overview:  Woodson has been an all-day everyday Kindergarten Center for the past 11 years.  In the past 4 years enrollment has fluctuated between 360–425 students (currently about 385 with our preschool class).  51% of our students are students of color, and we have a 61% free and reduced lunch student population.  We have 16 sections of kindergarten this year–13 on the traditional school calendar and 3 on the modified (year long) calendar as they feed into the modified calendar elementary school.  We have been a PBIS school for the past 5 years and this year we were award a “School of Excellence” award by the State Department for our work in established strong tier one behavioral supports for all students.  This year we have implemented a behavior specialist position as well as being the second year in our bi-linguage reading pilot in which we have a spanish speaking paraprofessional front loading reading instruction in home languages of a sub section of our EL students.  Last year we tried a new venue for Parent Education via videos of local “celebrities” and teachers role playing activities that parents could do with their children to prepare for K.

Bio:  This is my 4th year as Principal of the Woodson Kindergarten Center.  Prior to this position I was an Assistant Principal, Supervisor of Special Education (all in Austin MN) and Special Education Teacher in Saint Paul MN.  Besides being the Principal at Woodson I am a facilitator for the Minnesota Principal Academy out of the University of Minnesota in units surrounding literacy, ethical leadership and RtI.   This year I am also a presenter for the Minnesota Department of Education in their P3 Principal Leadership Series.  I have started a blog.

  1. Provide appropriate staff development
    • Provide flipped PD
    • Teachers leading PD (play center activities)
  2. Solid Understanding of developmental milestones
    • Become friends with the experts
    • Adjust schedule for success of students
    • School time: [8:30]–[2:05] with teacher prep time after school.
    • No specialists to reduce transitions for students
    • Teachers run everything
  3. Parent Engagement
    • Connecting with Parents
    • Packers in Training
    • Being a partner
    • Community initiative for kids to be ready for Kindergarten, so local celebrities get in on the action for “Ready, Set, Go
    • Make videos for parents
  4. Be more knowledgable about preschool options in the community
    • Meet the pre-k providers and respect their work
    • Give parents information about Pre-K options.
    • Service learning opportunities for former students.

Principal’s academy

  • Professional development for principals, in a cohort.
  • Principal as an ethical leader: just, fair and caring
  • How to deal with Social Media issues
  • BIFF Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm

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