So many choices, so little money
I dropped by the city school system's Professional Development Center on Northern Parkway yesterday for the "Student Support Expo," a two-day event where principals and others can meet with the many vendors and program operators who want to sell their services.
There were 132 organizations registered, each with a table set up in a hallway or classroom: textbook vendors, museum representatives, professional development providers, mental health care providers, arts program providers, violence prevention program providers, after-school programs... the list goes on. There was even a magician/ventriloquist whose flier helpfully points out that he's available for hire at Bar Mitzvahs.
One principal I talked to seemed to have a good strategy to navigate the maze. Before the event, she wrote down the areas where her school needs help and stopped only at the booths that might help fill those gaps. But clearly, for a principal who's not used to having budgetary discretion and suddenly has hundreds of thousands of dollars at his or her disposal, the situation could feel overwhelming.