The Right Brain Initiative


Principals’ Network

December 9th, 2010 by Right Brain Team

Thank you to Kristen Meyer, Assistant Principal at Beach PK-8 School in North Portland for compiling her reflections (below) from our Principals’ Network meeting last week. We’ve set these meetings up quarterly to give principals at our partner schools the opportunity to support each other in the implementation of this new program. Learning how to apply Right Brain’s ideals to our real-life school communities (all 25 of which have a unique ecosystem) requires constant flexibility and problem-solving. Take it away, Kris….

Principals from our partner schools throughout the tri-county area met last week to share successes and puzzles from their Right Brain classroom artist residencies. Photo by Allie Maki Maya.

I wanted to take a moment to thank Marna Stalcup and Carin Rosenberg for planning and hosting the most recent Principals’ Network Meeting. I appreciated the balanced agenda, which allowed time for program updates and school collaboration. It was extremely helpful to learn how other schools are facilitating their Right Brain programs.

Kris Meyer, Assistant Principal at Beach School (North Portland), raises a question to the group, as Marna Stalcup, Right Brain's Program Manager, facilitates the conversation. Photo by Allie Maki Maya.

I asked how schools were able to successfully stay within their Right Brain budget. The variety of principal responses really helped me think about ways to better approach my budget planning for the remainder of this year and be a step ahead for next year’s planning. Here are some of the solutions principals shared:

  • Rotate the grade levels who will receive a residency each year
  • Commit to one school-wide artist
  • Cluster grade levels together
  • Have artists work with smaller classes together
  • Let teachers know their exact classroom budget total before meeting with the artist
  • Supplement the Right Brain budget with Young Audiences money

In addition to finding support with my budgeting challenges, principals also shared innovative ideas around community outreach, as well as creative ways to make Right Brain a bigger part of the school’s culture. It seemed like every challenge that was brought to the table was met by another school who shared the challenge and another school who had problem solved it. I left having every question answered and a plan in place for the rest of the year. It made me realize that this initiative has a wonderful balance of support and flexibility. Throughout the entire meeting I also noticed how much principal input was valued. Even though Right Brain is already a successful and solid initiative, it is clear that its community is growing and learning along with us and is open and eager to making positive changes along the way.

I encourage all school principals to attend the next networking opportunity in order to widen the sharing of our collective experiences and successes.
—Kristen Meyer, Assistant Principal, Beach School



Right Brain Team