BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental – During a division management committee meeting in September 2012, school principals were offered an important proposition: Would they like to be part of a transparency and social accountability initiative – one that may put their respective schools under review?
Solyma dela Cruz raised her hand without hesitation. The principal of Vista Alegre Elementary School thought the idea would be helpful especially because she is new to the school. Dela Cruz thus welcomed CheckMySchool’s (CMS) community updating of Vista Alegre’s data on enrollment, learning materials, and facilities.
“Bago ako sa school na ito. Gusto kong malaman kung ano talaga ang sitwasyon, ano ang kulang (I am new to this school. I want to know the real situation, the gaps),” she said. Upon assuming her position, Dela Cruz immediately reviewed Vista Alegre’s School Improvement Plan (SIP) to assess where it is doing well and where it needs help. As courtesy to the previous principal, she said she has not revised the SIP yet, but she is well aware of the need for more diligent efforts to address the school’s challenges.
The students’ performance in the National Achievement Test (NAT) is one particular concern. Although Vista Alegre’s NAT scores are within the national average, these dropped from the previous year’s results. Dela Cruz has since been proactive to find solutions, reaching out to as many stakeholders as possible. So when she first heard about CMS, she didn’t think twice about participating, knowing that an opportunity to improve her school was at hand.
“There are things that you might see, which I cannot see even though I’m always here,” she said. Dela Cruz taught for 24 years before taking on the principal role. She became a non-advisory subject teacher in the latter part of her teaching years, which gave her more time to work on tasks such as helping prepare the Basic Education Information System report, Form 3, School Improvement Plan and School Report Card. These administrative duties, she said, made her transition to being a principal easier.
Edited by Karol Ilagan