Exploring the arrival of the new assistant principal and the new project that followed behind

Michelle Lee

Staff Writer

    Meet Ms. Diaconis, a new assistant principal for American High school.

    Whether she is attending the many meetings required of her job with fellow administrators or carrying out the necessary tasks to keep the school moving along, Ms. Diaconis plays an enormous role at American High School starting from day one of the new school year—but what exactly does an assistant principal do for the school?

    “The assistant principal wears many hats,” Ms. Diaconis explained. “Primarily, they handle discipline. When students misbehave, I call them into my office and I usually try and reason with them first and find out what it was that happened, but I’ll often times wind up assigning some type of consequence.”

    As good things come in threes, Ms. Diaconis frequently works with the other two assistant principals of the school, Mr. Reibenschuh and Ms. Barrington, in order to ensure that what needs to be done gets done.

    “I think she is enthusiastic,” Mr. Reibenschuh shared on his opportunities with working together. “She’s willing to learn, but the essential part is that she really cares for students at the school and wants to do the best for kids at this school.”

    Even with her busy schedule and the abundance of coordinating and navigating around the school, Ms. Diaconis is always willing to help the students of the school thrive. Rather than simply handing out penalties, she takes the time to walk the student down the path that is right for him or her and gives the student room to grow and succeed.

    “My goal is to not just discipline, but to make a teachable moment out of everything and inquire as to what happened, why did they make that choice, and what can we do differently next time, as opposed to just ‘Okay, you have a detention.’”

    While on the topic of assisting students in seeing the different pathways of their choices,  Ms. Diaconis mentioned a project she is involved in with the assistant principals and principal called restorative justice.

    “It’s sort of like conflict resolution, as opposed to just suspending or just discipline. Usually it’s infused with discipline, sometimes in [its place] or preventative [of].”

    In order to become more familiar and more immersed in the project, she and the other assistant principals take part in training days.

    “We are trying, not only as a school but as a community and as the public, to get people to think about their actions and how their choices may affect other people,” Mr. Reibenschuh said. “And if they hurt somebody [through] their actions, we want to see if they understand how they’ve hurt them and how they can repay or restore that.”

    Although this idea may sound new, it has actually been carried out at other schools, with one being Ms. Diaconis’s previous school.

    “I have experience with that,” Ms. Diaconis stated. “I used to do that at Robertson [High School], and so the staff here is just being trained on it and I have some experience in that. And so Mr. Musto definitely wants me to help sort of get that on board at American.”

    This important technique being learned by the administrators and teachers is sure to bring positive changes to American High School. But when will restorative justice be implemented? In response to this inquiry, Mr. Reibenschuh proudly replied:

    “We’ve already started.”

Caption: For her job as an assistant principal, Ms. Diaconis takes into account the impact she can have on students in need of assistance. “As far as teaching at-risk youth, I remember if there were days that the students were having a bad day or would act up, it was emotionally draining on me because I cared, sometimes more about them than they did about themselves. But definitely the energy and the time that you put into helping these students… it’s all worth it in the end,” Ms. Diaconis recounted.




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