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Principals Gather To Talk School Safety, Community Service And More In Orlando

Principals from across the nation helped build a new playground at Catalina Elementary. Photo courtesy of Seth Daub.

Elementary school principals from across the nation are in Orlando this week for the National Association of Elementary School Principals conference. Education leaders are sharing ideas, trends, new strategies and innovations. Seth Daub, principal of Orange County's Catalina Elementary School, spoke to WMFE's Education Desk.

**This conversation has been edited for clarity.

Chavez: What is the biggest challenge facing elementary school principals?

Daub: I think right now, it is ensuring our students and our staff are safe every day. Also, making sure we continue to raise the bar for our students, and to make sure our students are ready with the skills needed to be successful when they leave the elementary level to go on to middle, and then to high school and then for their careers.

Chavez: This is coming after the Parkland, Florida school shooting, is that a focus at this conference?

Daub: It is. It's something that we continue to talk about at the conference, also within the state of Florida, it's a huge conversation we're having. I will speak for my school when I get my 720 students every morning, I ensure they are safe and we do everything we can to ensure everyone in the building is safe. We share out what we do with other schools and they share with us what they do to kind of help continue that conversation.

Chavez: Any examples of any measure you've taken ?

Daub: Once a month Orange County public schools we have lock down drills to ensure the students are aware in case there is an emergency, but also we're making sure that we're all alert, making sure that if someone is on campus, we know who they are, people come through the front office.

Chavez: How does standardized testing affect your students, teachers and parents?

Daub: I think we need to hold students accountable but I really do think that we spend a lot of time on that actual assessment and getting students ready for the test.

Parts of it I do agree with it, parts of it sometimes I don't, but we try to do our best to really make it fun for the students and really reward them for doing well and celebrate them, and really try to increase the level of rigor in the classroom so they can be successful when they do take the test every April and May of the year.

Listen to the audio above for the rest of the interview. Daub shares how more than 100 principals helped build a gift for his Title 1 school.