Vaux Big Picture High School, Principal

Vaux HS - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Full time

Qualifications for Vaux BPHS’s principal (from Big Picture Learning’s Principal Guide)

Vaux BPHS is a Big Picture Philadelphia neighborhood high school which opened in September 2017 with 126 9th grade students and is adding a grade a year until fully enrolled in September of 2020 with 504 students. Vaux BPHS boasts an advisory model where students meet daily over their four years with their advisor and seventeen peers. Vaux BPHS utilizes a project-based academic approach and each student participates in individualized Learning Through Internship experiences from grades 10 – 12. Vaux BPHS weaves post-secondary planning and preparation through dual enrollment opportunities and personalized post-secondary portfolios.

Vaux BPHS is a place where everybody knows everybody. All Vaux BPHS students and staff are treated the same regardless of their race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, gender identity, and expression. The school works with each student, one person at a time. The Principal is committed to this vision and is willing and able to defend it on behalf of Vaux BPHS’s students and staff.

During the school day, the Principal of Vaux BPHS is with students about half of the time, talking with them individually or participating in their advisory. The Principal is with teachers about one-third of the time. The rest of the time the Principal is reaching out to the community, meeting with parents, and planning. The Principal is responsive to community and school. At least one day every other week the Principal supports advisors and students at Learning through Internship (LTI) sites. When students are formally exhibiting their learning at the end of each trimester, the Principal goes to as many exhibitions as possible.

The Principal of Vaux BPHS checks in with advisors regularly, and because the Principal is curious, they listen intently and notice a lot. The Principal asks supportive yet challenging questions. The Principal follows up on ideas and suggestions and concerns because they are organized and are committed to following through.

As a leader, the Principal of Vaux BPHS is able to make decisions, but their priority is helping staff and students make decisions. The Principal sees connections between students’ interests and opportunities in the community. The Principal is good at knowing everyone and everything that goes on, without being controlling. The Principal is reflective and uses publications, materials, and many kinds of data well. The Principal is political in the best sense: is aware of and understands the world around Vaux BPHS, including, but not limited to, issues of institutional racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and the school to prison pipeline. The Principal is able to engage in public relations, hire the best people, and create wise budgets. The Principal sees learning as a journey— for students, staff, themselves, and all of the families and community members. The Principal is good at motivating people, helping them organize to accomplish great things.

The Principal of Vaux BPHS is a high-energy, visionary, and dynamic educational leader who is driven by a strong vision of high academic achievement for a diverse student population is committed to social justice and has exemplary leadership skills. The Principal will model effective leadership defined by integrity, clear and open communication, restorative justice, fairness, high standards, and an understanding of the needs and interests of a diverse community. The Principal is a keeper of the vision and an instructional leader of the school. The Principal must be committed to Big Picture philosophy and vision and willing and able to fight for it as it is defined and applies to Vaux BPHS. The Principal influences school culture by working well with students, faculty, and staff; and building a program with clear goals, high standards, and a willingness to support every student in the school.

Vaux BPHS is part of the national Big Picture Learning network of more than 70 schools nationwide. Vaux BPHS is a public, neighborhood high school, managed by Big Picture Philadelphia in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Vaux BPHS has been chosen as the nation’s first Envision Center by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for its dedication to serving as a Community School: The Temple University Community Health Center, the Community College of Philadelphia, Clarify and the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s workforce development division are all co-located at Vaux.

Position Responsibilities:1. Support the creation of an academic structure and academic culture for the School

    1. Support, refine and provide input into the implementation of the School’s academic program
    2. Collaborate closely with the Servant Leadership Team to plan and prepare for academic, social, fiscal and other transition issues
    3. Work with advisors and staff to create a consistent and comprehensive focus on character, leadership, and exemplary behavior.
    4. Build and maintain strong ties to students.
    5. Be present at important school events (Open Houses / Back to School Nights, Mock Interviews, Student Exhibitions, etc…)
  1. Lead in the institutional focus on student achievement
    1. Utilize an accountability system that allows teachers, students, and parents to know what students have learned and what further work is required.
    2. Regularly assess and address the potential for gaps between what Vaux BPHS is accomplishing academically, versus what is desired.
    3. Ensure an integrated, inquiry-based curricular approach that prepares students for the world of work and education and leads to improvement on required district testing.
    4. Oversee Special Education programming, ensuring that students’ Individual Education Plans are in compliance.
  2. Create a High Performance, Sustainable Educational Enterprise
    1. Use data to chart the course of students’ learning.
    2. Support the planning for ongoing quality professional development and performance coaching, with planning time built into the daily calendar to allow for collaboration with and amongst colleagues in the development and implementation of the post-secondary and learning through internship programs.
  3. Inspire, Train and Retain an Excellent Staff
    1. Advance Vaux BPHS’s culture that maintains a relentless focus on motivating students to achieve personal and academic growth and encourages collaboration to meet the full range of student needs.
    2. Lead a Hiring Process that includes feedback from Vaux BPHS key stakeholders, develop staff contracts with clear expectations and oversee the process of all staff documents, including contracts, benefits, criminal background checks and tax documents.
    3. Utilize a system for the ongoing evaluation of advisor performance that supports improvement and expects measurable results.
  4. Respond to and engage with national and local partner networks, including the School District of Philadelphia and Big Picture Philadelphia / Big Picture Learning, preparing needed reports and leading presentations.
  5. Help to build a culture of caring and compassion, justice and integrity, competence and affirmation among the staff and the student body.
  6. Treat each member of the school community with fairness, dignity, and respect seeking a spirit of unity and harmony as we join together to achieve our common mission.

Practical Requirements for all Vaux BPHS Principal candidates:

  • Experience working with high school youth in an urban setting (preferably in North Philadelphia)
  • Experience as a school Principal (preferably five years)
  • Hold a PA Principal Certificate

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K12 School Operations

Experience Level

Mid Level

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