Effective principal involvement is crucial for afterschool program success. In fact, one researcher concluded that the program director’s relationship with the principal has the potential to make or break a school-based afterschool program.

Effective principal involvement is crucial for afterschool program success. In fact, one researcher concluded that the program director’s relationship with the principal has the potential to make or break a school-based afterschool program.

Dr. Paul Young – past president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and author of Principal Matters – believes “continuous effective collaboration between the school principal and the afterschool program director is a key ingredient for program success and positive outcomes for children.” Once both parties have a clear understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities, they can the program achieve their desired outcomes.

In honor of School Principals’ Day on May 1, we focused on principals’ roles in afterschool programs. Here are six roles of principals adapted from a 2007 report in Afterschool Matters titled, "The Multiple Roles of Principals in School-based Afterschool Programs:"

  • Principal as Communicator: The role of the communicator has at least two parts: 1) Communicating with the coordinator and 2) Facilitating communication between the afterschool program and other school groups.
  • Principal as Resource Provider: Principals must be aware of the real needs of afterschool programs and allocate limited resources fairly.
  • Principal as Liaison: In order to ensure that curricula and student expectations are consistent before and after the school bell rings, principals integrate school and afterschool by facilitating a positive connection between classroom teachers and afterschool staff.
  • Principal as Visionary: Principals and coordinators must be aligned in their vision and goals for the program, and principals should share their vision with staff and families.
  • Principal as Decision Maker: As decision makers, principals should maintain a vision of the “big picture” and support the coordinators’ decision-making process.
  • Principal as Supporter: Principal support and advocacy for the afterschool program must be both action-oriented and ideological.

Understanding the principal’s roles in your afterschool program can help lead to program success. Read the full report here.