The role of a principal is crucial to the progress and success of any school. If the principal is passive and has no initiative to innovate, the school cannot develop properly. But, if the principal has the motivation and ability to advance the school, then all school members will benefit – including teachers, school committees, and students.
Few consider improving children’s achievements or teachers’ instructional strategies as part of their role. However, improving the skills of principals has been identified as a national priority in the principals’ learning program (kepala sekolah pembelajar program) under the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Directorate General for Teachers and Education Personnel. In East Java, INOVASI is implementing activities that focus on improving school leadership. Targeted pilots focus on building the knowledge and skills of school principals to support the improvement of literacy and numeracy teaching in early grades. Ultimately, principals should be able to increase the frequency and quality of classroom supervision, to focus facility management on improving learning outcomes and to build the role of the school community.
Last month, INOVASI held a Leadership Workshop for partner school principals in East Java. 130 participants attended, including principals and education stakeholders from INOVASI East Java partner districts Probolinggo, Sumenep, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, and Batu City.
Some of the material provided during the training included reflection on the application of the Active, Creative, Effective, and Enjoyable Learning (PAKEM) approach, classroom management, learning observation and mentoring, identification of classroom learning problems, identification of problems in the Teacher Working Group (KKG), authority- the principal’s ability-acceptance, and the preparation of the principal’s work plan.
Ayub, principal of Parasrejo II primary school in Pasuruan district, was pleased with the workshop outcomes. During his time as principal, he has received much training on the role of the principal in assisting teachers in the classroom. However, no one had specifically explained how the mentoring process should be carried out and what things need to be observed and discussed with the teacher. This was new information. “I am very happy to be part of this workshop because it provides a more detailed picture regarding teacher assistance,” he said.
Sukeni, a principal from Sukodadi II primary school in Probolinggo district, was also pleased to learn more about the implementation and evaluation of active learning in the classroom. “When we saw the teachers already implementing PAKEM learning, we considered it good and our job is done. We don’t monitor what the PAKEM-based learning process is. With this workshop, we are reminded of how PAKEM learning in the classroom should be.” Sukeni also now plans to revive the mini KKG in his school so that the innovations that have been developed by each teacher can be disseminated to other staff.
The success of reviving the KKG can also be seen from SDN Sumbergondo 2. The principal, Ibu Sri Winarni, intensively initiated the mini KKG. She was also a facilitator during the workshop, shared her own challenges and strategies when improving school leadership in Batu City.
“I used to struggle from below and was committed to making my school go forward. And the key to the success of the school is when getting support from all parties, including the surrounding community. For that, it is very important that we involve them in all school activities so that they fully understand the challenges faced by the school,” she explained.
Fathur Rozi, Head of the Primary School Development Division from the Probolinggo District Education Office, also expressed support for the workshop. He was hopeful that all school principals attending the workshop would develop a follow-up strategiy.
“Probolinggo district has committed to implementing the INOVASI Program and developing it seriously. For that I hope that all schools can make innovations in their respective schools and must make better changes after completing the workshop.”