Glendale's new principal stresses teamwork School aims to boost student reading skills

September 25, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

To Jane Smith, success as the new principal at Glendale Elementary School in Glen Burnie will depend on teamwork involving 506 students, 60 staff members and hundreds of parents and community members.

"Our best successes are going to come when we have the students, teachers, parents and community involved in the school," said Smith, who was assistant principal for two years at Sunset Elementary School in Pasadena before landing the Glen Burnie job.

She succeeds John Birus, who was transferred to Crofton Meadows Elementary School to be principal.

Smith, who taught for 18 years, has been in administration for six years. The switch offered her a chance "to make a difference for an entire population of students," she said.

In addition to allowing her to work more closely with faculty members and parents, "it was a chance for something different in my career," said Smith.

Her former boss, Harry Sharkey, principal at Sunset, said the top job at a school carries a lot of responsibility and pressure.

"It's essentially comparable to running a company. If you're the boss, you're responsible for making sure every aspect of the program runs, from curriculum to staff," said Sharkey.

He believes Smith is up to the task.

"Jane is extremely organized. She's bright. She's quick to pick up on things. She carries out her duties responsibly and efficiently. She's just good all the way around," said Sharkey.

Among Smith's goals at Glendale is to have all students reading at a third-grade level by the time they reach that grade.

"Reading and language arts is really the core for an elementary school," said Smith.

The school's development team -- composed of teachers, administrators and parents -- is working on several ways to persuade children to read more.

For example, restaurant certificates will be handed out to students who read the most books. During children's reading week Nov. 17, children and faculty will dress up as their favorite storybook characters.

And as part of an after-school reading project, students will illustrate passages from their favorite stories on a pillowcase.

"It's a fun way to encourage reading," said Smith.

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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