Overhaul in training for new principals urged Interns overworked, underpaid, panel says

March 21, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County will have to change the way it trains and pays teachers to become principals if it wants to overcome a projected shortfall of administrators, a committee told the school board last night.

This summer, 27 elementary school principals will be eligible to retire, but only 26 assistant principals are available to fill the positions.

School board members were told a training program for administrators needs an overhaul. They also were told that inexpensive short-term incentives are needed to draw people to administrative jobs.

Among the committee's recommendations were to start a 10-month administrative trainee program in which the intern would receive slightly higher pay or to develop an internship program in which the trainee would shadow a principal. The current system provides few financial incentives for teachers to become principals. They must fill the role of assistant principal while they are trainees but receive little training beyond on-the-job experience.

The committee also recommended mentoring programs, along with loan programs to enable teachers to take courses that are required for administrative jobs.

"I think we need to focus on the training aspect on this job. It needs to be more than [on-the-job training]," said Joseph H. Foster, school board president.

Donald Smith, administrator of the principals union, praised the committee's work and assessment of the problems and proposed solutions.

"We feel that action is needed," said Rose Thompson, principal of Jessup Elementary School and co-chair of the committee.

Another problem that the committee identified is what school board member Carlesa Finney called "slave wages." For example, a teacher at Step 10 on the pay scale earns approximately $40,600 for working 190 days; an administrative intern is paid the same, but works more days.

And, two years later, that teacher would be earning $43,000, while a third-year administrative intern would earn $51,000. However, the teachers are working 190 days for an hourly rate of $29.70, while the administrative intern is working 260 days for an hourly rate of $26.14.

School board members asked the committee to calculate the costs of such things as tuition reimbursement and the creation of a true internship program in which the trainee would not be expected to act as an assistant principal.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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