Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Loftis Middle School assistant principal Dr. Sylvester Carrington continues to deal with discipline referrals similar to the work he completed at Rivermont Elementary School in the past. He wrote a daily journal-turned-book about his Rivermont experiences.
“Every day I would take my yellow pad and jot down what I did,” he said. “I was lying in bed one night before school started and decided to take notes on the full year. Later I decided to put it in the form of a book.”
He now carries with him a copy of his book, “A Principal’s Personal Journey: Reflections in a Year in the Life of an Inner City School Administrator with Daily Stories, Experiences and Conversations on Discipline, Decision-Making, Survival and Leadership.” It reminds him how to use knowledge gained in future scenarios, he said.
“It was busy at Rivermont,” said Carrington. “Being an inner-city school, there were challenges and kids with lots of needs; not just financial, but emotional needs and emotional support issues. I also wrote down good things that happened.”
He said no names were disclosed in the book to protect the anonymity of students, teachers and parents. He did use some fictional names when needed, though, when referring to real people in real scenarios, he said. Many of the logs reflect conversations with parents on disciplinary problems with their children enrolled at Rivermont.
He said the struggling students’ problems began from lack of emotional and educational support in the home.
“When you called parents, they would respond, but the students acted out due to lack of attention at home,” said Carrington. “Many black students at Rivermont looked to me as a role model and I tried to be that for them. My position there was cut, which is why I moved to Loftis Middle School.”
He said at LMS parental participation in the school is more of a priority.
“My book is about conversations,” said Carrington. “I wrote what I did, how I did it and who I spoke with. At the end of every day there is a reflection summing up the day. Those that read the book tend to like the reflections the best.”
He said he wants people to see what really happens in schools and how hard principals work daily.
“The book is an exposé on things students do, how teachers react and how principals operate,” said Carrington. “It’s a book for parents, educators, politicians, school board people and business people.”