What I’ve learned about MTS Secondary in my first 4 months as principal.
I spent my first day in my new office on June 15th, 2019. It was a very different feeling after spending the past six years focused on the advancement of elementary students as the principal of Banaadir Academy and as the Director of Elementary programs.I knew I was getting ready for a new adventure, but I didn’t know how many positive pieces were already in place.
The first thing I learned is that MTS Secondary is fortunate to have a dedicated and highly qualified staff. Before I started, the staff at MTS Secondary had been working on school improvement plans. Many staff volunteered their time to plan and attend “community commitments” meetings over the summer. This investment of personal time impressed upon me the commitment to excellence and desire to improve that exists among the staff at MTS Secondary.
Staff wants to be part of the positive change. MTS Secondary staff are consistently working toward school improvement through a variety of measures. Our school leadership team in partnership with the Regional Centers for Excellence is examining student attendance. Our teaching staff is working on self improvement through Individual Professional Growth Plans and peer reviews. The whole staff is not just participating in but engaged in weekly Friday professional development sessions.
Students want to be heard. In conducting community meetings with our 8th grade MTS Secondary students, I learned that students want to be heard. They want teachers to know how best to teach them. Through the continuation of the community meetings, planned grade level meetings, and the forming of a Student Advisory Committee, I intend to address this need.
Students at MTS Secondary can meet the standard. A new backpack policy (backpacks in lockers) was a change to the way our students moved throughout the building. Students had questions about the policy. When it was explained that it was a student safety measure, and through staff consistency, students met the new school expectation. A small change to start the year that has made a big difference for student safety and instructional time.
The students and staff at MTS Secondary want to be great. As the principal, I’ve learned that the community is going to hold me accountable to continuously raise the bar. While I realize that not every decision, change, or accountability measure will be popular, if it is done with student outcomes in mind and is influenced by listening to student and staff voice we’ll be moving in the right direction together.
I’m excited to continue this journey and to continue learning together!