Welcome to the Better Leaders Better Schools  podcast. This is a weekly show is for ruckus makers — What is a ruckus maker?  A leader who has found freedom from the status quo. A leader looking to escape the old routine. A leader who never, ever gives up.

Up next you can hear Daniel Bauer’s interview with Rebecca Roper. They explore interesting topics such as how she starts each day, a program called the Principal Apprenticeship and her taking action on a letter activity Daniel described in the School Leadership Series.

We hope you enjoy the podcast. All the highlights, resources, and next steps can be found below. Listen to the full episode here and learn more at betterleadersbetterschools.com

For the last 17 years, Rebecca has worked in two different counties in VA. She’s currently the Principal at Donahoe Elementary School in Henrico County, VA and  is in her fourth year leading this Title I school. Donahoe has 530 students, ranging from Pre-k to 5th grade. Prior to this, Rebecca served as the Associate Principal of Ward Elementary School in Henrico County, the Assistant Principal of Beaverdam Elementary in Hanover County, and 2nd and 3rd grade teacher at Pole Green Elementary in Hanover County.  

Outside of work, Rebecca loves to start her day by working out and end it by reading.  She enjoys baking for others and spending time with my family especially her two fabulous boys.

Principal Apprenticeship Program

Students love being a principal apprentice.  Rebecca allows students to spend 20 minutes of their day with her holding her walkie, carrying her lanyard and experiencing that time with the principal.  The students perspective is that she is on the phone a lot, in classrooms, run a fire drill’ whatever the day may bring. Students pay 80 dolphin dollars for this experience.

“When I ask them why do you think I am in the classrooms they say because we want to make sure that the kids are learning and you are watching the teachers and what they are teaching.  Sometimes you have to talk to kids about their behavior.” – Rebecca Roper

Letter Activity

 Rebecca had her staff envision what type of year they had and write a letter to themselves about what they experienced.  The letter was addressed to dear future self to describe the year the had, their successes, their achievements. The staff put the letters in a bag and Rebecca will give them back at the end of the year.

“They talked about how it was such a powerful activity.  I gave them the choice of either putting the note away and I would give it to them at the end of the year or if they wanted me to read it and give them an idea of what they’re working towards where I can encourage them.” – Rebecca Roper



  • Organized Binder is an evidence-based RTI2 Tier 1 universal level solution
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You can learn more and improve your student’s success at https://organizedbinder.com/

Teach FX

  • Empowers teachers with feedback on student engagement
  • A fitbit for teachers that measures student engagement
  • Research shows that the more students speak in class, the more they learn, and the better they perform on standardized tests.
  • Use your phone or laptop to analyze your class, and the app’s artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm tracks your talk ratio automatically, with no extra work from you or an instructional coach.
  • The idea is to give teachers a useful barometer of student engagement you can check every day!

You can learn more and improve your student’s success at https://teachfx.com/

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