It is with great elation that I relay some exciting news! Today I accepted a position at a high school just two miles from my previous school. It differs greatly in student population and is not a magnet program. Around 1000 students will report on Monday with approximately one out of every five classified as an English Language Learner. I do not yet know other student demographic measures, Title 1, IEP, etc and have some research to do. I have not read a copy of their School Improvement Plan yet, but know they have been doing work with Smaller Learning Communities (e.g. freshman and sophomore houses), data teams (I nearly drooled when I heard this), cross-curricular Professional Learning Communities, and the Champs advisory program to name a few of their major initiatives. Of the data from last year I’ve learned about so far, they experienced a 3% growth in attendance, a tremendous accomplishment. I have an incredible amount of learning to do with respect to the school, its’ students and staff. Areas I’ve been told to specifically work with are upper level math and science, woohoo!
Walking into the school today, I was a bundle of nerves. I have attended debate tournaments there in previous years but really have never learned much about the school itself as I’ve been operating in a bit of a bubble. Meeting the staff has been phenomenal and I know some of them already (Saint Louis is a small town)! I was very excited to meet the other members of the administrative team and actually know several of them and the amazing work they’ve been doing from the last few years. Interestingly, I worked with one Assistant Principal (AP) during summer school several years ago when I was interning to complete my master’s in administration. He was a great mentor that summer and we joked about our time together today. The other AP and Teaching and Learning Facilitator (TLF) I also know and respect their work greatly. The Principal is a class all his own. He has won numerous awards over the years and was even named Principal of the Year by Teach For America, an honor he rightly deserves as his dedication and passion for holistically educating every child is as thick as butter in the air of the school! I am greatly honored to have been selected to serve on their team as they have laid the foundation for truly urgent and data-driven reform.
As I stand on the eve of my first full day of my new placement, I am absolutely thrilled to have a different opportunity to continue ensuring that One Day comes sooner. Tomorrow night there is a Unity Rally at the school sponsored by members of the community and different local organizations. A local radio station will be on-site and I was told in my interview today that 1000 hot dogs have been purchased! Students, Parents, Teachers, Staff and Community will come together to kick off the 82nd school year. I couldn’t be more excited to get back to the building and get to work.
Yours in education,