Nova Scotia’s school principals will be looking at ways toimprove their role as educational leaders in their schools. Morethan 250 elementary school principals from across the provinceare wrapping up the first of three meetings today, May 10, inHalifax. “Principals have a major influence on student performance,” saidEducation Minister Jamie Muir. “But we recognize that operationaldemands and pressures often take priority. We want to help thembalance their responsibilities and focus on being improvededucational leaders. This meeting is the first step.” Principals in Focus meetings are being hosted by the provincialgovernment. This is the first time the Department of Educationhas met directly with elementary, middle and senior high schoolprincipals as a group. Heather Harris has been an administrator for 21 years and is theprincipal of Kingston and District Elementary School. She saidprincipals spend a significant amount of time managing theoperations of the school, rather than focusing on the directneeds of students. “The amount of time I spend dealing with operational andmanagerial issues such as building cleanliness, fire and safetyregulations, facilities management, and dealing with healthissues, takes away from the time I can spend on student needs,”said Ms. Harris. “I want to be able to focus on studentachievement and this conference is a positive step toward that.It’s really an opportunity for the department to see a typicalday through my eyes.” During the two-day meetings, principals are being asked to thinkabout their role, what could be done differently, and whatsupport they need from the department and school boards to helpthem focus on leadership. “We want principals to have the time and energy to make an evengreater difference in student performance,” said Mr. Muir. “Wewant to help them re-focus their time so they are better able toshare their expertise in teaching and learning, and leadimprovement in their school.” The Principals in Focus meeting for junior high school principalswill be held May 24-25. The meeting for high school principalswill take place May 26-27.