Giving Time Back to Principals
B.J. Mandelstam
B.J. Mandelstam
Vice President, Business Development for Schools EPA-trained Master of Indoor Air Quality Sodexo

On average, public school principals spend over 30% of a 60-hour+ work week on general administrative tasks such as building maintenance, managing behaviors, buses and school budgets. This means less time for developing teachers, interacting with their students and reaching out to their communities. According to Gail Connelly, the executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, “We’ve entered the era of high-stakes accountability…We know the principal’s role is more complex and multifaceted than it’s ever been.” She states the increasing workload on principals has caused a sharp increase in principal turnover, with the average principal staying three years in a school compared to 10 years or more a decade ago.

What are some tasks draining hours and days from a principal’s week? Principals are the CEOs of their buildings, taking on various activities ranging from ensuring student and personnel safety, overseeing maintenance and managing utility expenses to fixing jammed doors and changing light bulbs. With tightening budgets and limited resources, principals wear many hats to meet the facility and administrative needs of their schools. These additional responsibilities take time away from a principal’s first order of business—academic achievement.

How can schools help principals get their time back? Today, many schools are moving away from centralizing key administrative and maintenance services to delegating these activities to internal staff. But, with a greater number of students in need and increased demands on teachers, there simply is not enough capacity for internal staff to meet many of these administrative gaps.

This is where service providers can provide ease and efficiency by leading time-consuming facilities maintenance, managing support staff performance and nutrition programs. Sodexo works with schools to perform a private and confidential benchmark analysis to understand the current state of their support services programs and compares them to other schools to uncover opportunities for improvements. For information on how Sodexo can take the heavy lift of support services and maintenance off your principals, please contact me or your local Sodexo team.


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