The life and times of a principal

Arwen Lyp has served as the DGS principal for the last nine months.

Arwen Lyp has served as the DGS principal for the last nine months.

Liam Wells, Freelance Writer

Most students get their understanding of what a principal is from their experience with TV shows and movies. Think “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “School of Rock.” The common consensus among students is that principals spend most of their day disciplining students and walking around the school with mugs of coffee looking for troublemakers.

Although current DGS principal Arwen Lyp has served for nine months, many students still question what the daily role of a high school principal is and what responsibilities come along with it.

The truth is, there is no “average workday” for Lyp; every day is unique for her.

”I will say that every single day is different. Yesterday I had a chance to go over to Ashton Place which is where we’re housing a senior culinary workshop. It’s a leadership workshop for seniors to help them transition out of high school into college. On other days, I have a chance to be in the commons interacting with students,“ Lyp said.

Lyp further explains her role in the classroom environment.

“I oversee what we call the teacher appraisal system, which is kind of the evaluation of teachers, and so I’ll observe different classrooms to give positive feedback to teachers to help them continue their journey of never-ending improvement,” Lyp said.

Additionally, Lyp summarizes her role when interacting with the school board.

“I attend every meeting and answer any questions they have, but from a policy and procedure guide perspective. I’m working every single week directly with our superintendent and our district office team. We really work together to determine changes that are going to impact our school,” Lyp said.

Accompanying her independent responsibilities to the school board, Lyp also supports the student representative at school board meetings.

“We also have a student representative that sits on the school board. One of my roles is to select who that school board representative is and then work with [the representative] twice a month. The student liaison and I work together to make sure that we are on the same page with what we are covering from a student perspective,” Lyp said.

Coordination with the associate principal is also necessary as the principal.

“[I] meet with them every Monday for two hours. Our goal at those meetings is to have it so that every decision that we make has been bounced off of everyone’s respective areas,” Lyp said.

As the principal, Lyp has a lot of control and power over the building budget.

“The financial decisions I make are at the building level and determining where all those resources go. We have money set aside for the improvements of aesthetics of the building, so one of the really fun things I got to do this year is I got to put up the new Downers Grove South sign in the commons … I do have the ability to decide to spend part of our building budget on those things that make our school look nicer,” Lyp said.

Lyp makes sure the school performs as a cohesive place for learning.

“My biggest role as the principal is to take all of those independent systems and pull them together so the school truly feels like a comprehensive place,” Lyp said.