Building Personal Relationships
At the start of the school year, each administrator is asked to submit professional and student goals to be used as part of our evaluation process. Around mid-year, we are asked to reflect on our progress towards these goals. As the high school administrative team, we chose one common goal: To build personal relationships. In simplest terms, this goal is about the administrative team being visible and available to staff and students. It's about making personal connections whenever possible. As we reach the mid-year point in the school year, I've been reflecting on some of our progress towards this goal.
Last Friday the administrative team hosted thirty-four seniors at our bi-weekly senior luncheon. The admin team has set a goal of inviting every senior to lunch during the course of the school year. Lunchtime conversations range greatly depending on the number of students and time of year, but I think it's fair to say that after each of these lunches we all walk away knowing each other a little better and feeling a little more connected. Each month we also make it a priority to meet with a group of student representatives from each advisory. This group has been great in helping us read the "temperature" of the student body and get a better sense of the kinds of things we can work on to make AB a stronger community.
Almost daily we have visited classrooms. Although sometimes we are there to observe instruction, I personally find the best part is just watching students interact with each other. Out teachers are so adept at creating student-centered learning environments. The social and emotional growth we see in our students from grade level to grade level is astounding. The relationships we see built between student and teacher is equally impressive. We believe it's essential for students to see administrators sitting in their classrooms regularly.
On November 17th several of us attended the Science Family Night Exhibition and Cabaret Night, both held at the high school in separate venues. To be able to interact with the students who presented their science exhibits in the commons and then walk over to enjoy the talent of Cabaret Night made for an amazing evening. All year long our administrative team has been connecting with students at events such as these both as supervisors and as fans.
Science Family Night
On January 10th, I had the honor of speaking at the eighteenth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards Night. Although I had attended the evening in the past, this was my first year speaking as the high school principal. Officially there were 765 students who received recognition for twenty-five hours or more of community service. For me, it was a truly memorable experience to shake hands with each recipient and acknowledge the commitment they've made to improve the community and the lives of those around them. It was one more opportunity to connect with a group of students I may never have been able to spend time with.
Community Service Night
I would be remiss if I excluded a group of students I have met with each week for the past four years - my own advisory. They started as ninth graders who didn't necessarily have a lot in common and have grown into a group who care for each other and who look forward to the few minutes they get together each week. They have shared some great times and some tough times over their four years. I will always be grateful to them for being there for each other as well as me.
There are well over two thousand students and staff in the high school every day. It's simply not realistic to believe we can all communicate on a first name basis. However, students recognizing who we are, and knowing that they have our care and support is what counts most.
I have always said there are no name requirements for a smile and hello, and the impact that simple gesture and one word have on creating a warm and welcoming community is immeasurable.
Larry Dorey & The Administrative Team