I fell in love with MTCS last year, and took on being the Superintendent because I want to help make great programs, even better—for students, staff, families and the community. And how do you make things better? You listen. Deeply.
Engaging students’ voices in the process is one of the most important steps. To really understand all that MTCS can be, I have started meeting with students at the various programs to ask them things like: What does the school do really well? What do you wish someone asked you? What do you think the school could do to be better? Who believes in you and how do you know it? How can we help you more?
So far I have met with students at MTS Secondary School, the Powell Leadership Academy, Banaadir Math & Science, Banaadir Academy South Campus, and MTS Elementary. I will be meeting with all the schools in the coming weeks, including our online programs.
Students from kindergarten to our soon to be graduates in 12th grade, have joined me around a table and shared lunch, or snacks and honestly and openly shared their ideas, hopes and dreams for their school and their lives. Not only did I get to know them better, but they offered great ideas and insights!
I am excited to meet with all the programs’ students, and meet again with the students I have already talked with, to dig a little deeper into some of their ideas. Here are some of the things I heard:
- they are interested in more creative classes and opportunities—to explore careers and options,
- they want more after school programs and more field trips and hands on experiences,
- and they want more choices and more freedoms
- and Banaadir South students would really love a soccer team!
As a group, students expressed they felt connected to someone and supported here. One student said, “When we need help, someone is there.” And a number of students talked about how the school solves problems very well, with its restorative justice circles. This was so important to hear, because supporting each student, one-on-one, is at our heart as a school.
I also heard students sharing their value for friendships and relationships with other students, staff, and their families. Students at MTS Elementary expressed their appreciation for their principal, Sue Dornfeld, as she greets each and every child as they arrive, every day. One of the second grade students shared that Mrs. Dornfeld greets her as “Little Principal” as she has a goal to one day become a principal. In listening to the second grader talk about her hopes and dreams, I am encouraged by the work and learning taking place and confident that she can and will achieve her dreams. Without doubt, we as the MTCS community, are fortunate and privileged to serve over 3800 students via our 9 programs across 7 sites. With that, it is an honor to offer diverse programs as a means of providing an education that truy meets the diverse needs of our students and families.
I was so proud to be at the table with them, hear them, and pledge to work together to make their supportive and caring schools even better.
It’s the kids that make a school a great place. Our students and families have many choices for their education and I am very grateful for the choice to be part of Minnesota Transitions Charter School. Because of the genuine care and commitment on the part of students, staff, and families, we are on a path to achieve greatness for all.
And speaking of better—the world is going to be a better place because of our students and I look forward to continuing to getting to know them all. After all, as a “student centered” school, we have tremendous value for each and every child. Each student brings with them a wealth of diversity making them who they are and who they want to become. With all sincerity, we believe in welcoming and accepting each and every individual and we are committed to continuous growth for all. Education provides a means to achieving the hopes and dreams of all. We welcome all, we serve all, and we believe in all at MTCS.