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What Does a Principal Do?: An Interview with Dr. Franchescina


The title “principal” is something that will always get a reaction out of those who hear it, good or bad. It’s a role that is unmatched in the eyes of many students. Perhaps it’s the person you’ve only met once or twice during Back to School nights or a new school year orientation, but what is it that a principal does? Frederick High School’s very own Dr. David Franchescina may have the answers to the burning questions many seek.

“It’s called Materialistic Instruction,” Dr. F explained, “so I oversee the finances of the building.”

Overseeing the teacher and student environment, teacher evaluations, grand scheduling of the building, and disciplinary actions instructed by the county are all tasks Dr. F, alongside his staff of assistant principals, are busy with. All of which stemmed from something Dr. F didn’t know he was destined to pursue until his own high school journey.

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“I enjoyed being in the band at school… so I went to college to be a Music Major and found out it was very difficult to be an Education Major,” he jested. Dr. F stated that college had taught him the “right way to teach,” which is evident through the Doctrine in Education he’d graduated with that is displayed proudly in his office. 

The pathway to principal was a long one starting with a determined self promise towards his then Walkersville High School principal. He was a senior in high school who had challenged himself to further his interest in education. As such, Dr. F managed to join an administration program and began his career path towards something he’d never thought he’d take an interest in.

During the interview, Dr. F reported a memory of his time as a member in the school marching band. Though he didn’t expand much on the topic, he did state a belief that carried him through his educational career: “I can do better than what I had.”

As for Frederick High School’s one of a kind LYNX program, Dr. Franceschina has collaborated  alongside the teachers and assistant principals in how the CBE grading system, which Frederick High is known for, compares to and can be equated to that of the rest of the county’s standard grading system.

“It takes time,” he heeds. Though CBE is a different system which follows its own set of guidelines, Dr. F made it very clear that graduation should not be any easier nor any more difficult here at Frederick High School than at any other school in the district.

On the topic of Graduation, Dr. F claims it to be one of the most stressful yet most rewarding days of his career every year.

“When the student walks across the stage and you’re shaking the students hand… just to see the look of triumph on their face when they come across the stage, that’s really, really cool.”

It’s clear that along the pathway through this education journey for our principal, Dr. F has always sought the routes that will create the most accessible pathway to success for his students. Though the role of principal can tend to be a little more “hands-off” in comparison to assistant principals’ and counselors’ direct interaction with students, Dr. F has stated that getting back involved with working in the classroom is possible in the distant future. He even went on to state that his dream would be to build a new school and that, if given the opportunity, it would be something that would be very difficult for him to say no to. 

As for what Dr. F has to say to the student body themselves; he is aware of what it is that cell phones nowadays can do. The truth is that information can now be found with the click of a button. However, Dr. F would like to emphasize the importance of expressing, processing and producing that knowledge in a meaningful and unforgettable way. 

“We really need to work on expressing ourselves in writing because, let’s say if I have a problem and want to email somebody, if my whole email is just all one run-on sentence and full of emojis, nobody’s gonna take me seriously.”

He advises the classes of Frederick High that the 4 years do indeed pass faster than one may think.

“Take advantage,” he encourages.

Frederick High promotes programs otherwise not available to those outside these halls. Dr. Franceschina finds it important to stress just how grand some of these opportunities may be. It is his job to help move students up in their achievements and goals in life. That is what a principal does, afterall.

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