What is the difference between dean and assistant principal?

The district received an inquiry about the Liberty Elementary and Middle School’s Dean of Students position and the difference between a dean and an assistant principal.  We thought it was an excellent question, and wanted to share the answer with the entire community.

The position for the Liberty Elementary and Middle School Dean of Students was financially allotted for and created in 2016-17. The district created a position that would allow the dean to split his or her time between the two schools and work with building principals to enhance student learning and emphasize respect and safety.

The dean does not focus on academic activities and instead concentrates on promoting good attendance rates, identifying behavioral problems and addressing those issues with students and parents to create positive outcomes.

Many districts, like Liberty, have found value in having a dean position, as the demand on our principals has become greater with the addition of new state requirements, more reports, grant work and a larger staff to observe. These are things that do not fall under a deans’ position.

The latest description for the Dean of Students position, as advertised in an employment posting from March 2018, is below:

The Dean of Students is responsible for maintaining a positive, caring, orderly, and supportive student culture and learning environment. He/she will proactively communicate with teachers and visit classrooms to promote positive behaviors and mitigate problem behaviors. The Dean will work with the Principal to facilitate professional development offerings that promote sound behavioral management practices in the classroom. He/she will work with other administrators to ensure that the school’s policies and procedures for holding all students to high behavioral expectations as stated in the Code of Conduct are understood and promoted with consistency.

The Dean of Students proactively circulates and is highly visible in the school’s common spaces during school hours, overseeing student arrival, departure, cafeteria and recess. He/she will communicate with students’ families as necessary to keep families abreast of any observed changes in an individual student’s conduct.

The Dean of Students performs all other duties consistent with the goals and objectives of this position. His or her salary is determined by LAA contract.

Specific questions about the dean’s role at your child’s school should be directed to your building principal.