August 2017 Blog Post
You’d think being a professional and not a student, the excitement of a new school year would wane. It doesn’t, that I can assure you.
Tomorrow, I kick off my seventh year at Prairie Hill. More importantly, more than a hundred students will be walking into the halls of Prairie Hill for the first time. As a child who moved nearly every year, I have a soft spot for new students. I cannot wait to see their faces as they look at our building in all its splendor tomorrow, full of happy faces and excitement for a new year.
When I walk through the hallways and pop into classrooms undergoing a summer update, my thrill builds for tomorrow. Mrs. Roth’s 1st grade classroom has been decorated with monsters, Miss Sheppard’s room makes you eager for a campground, Mrs. Schwabero’s inspires you to be kind, Mrs. Rogers’s class encourages risk-taking. Every room, in its own way, has a personality, a soul. That will only enhance tomorrow as a new class of students fills the room with its own spirit and energy.
I can’t wait to see what awaits us tomorrow from the PSA. What picture opportunities have they created this year? How will the students be greeted? Knowing them, it’ll be over-the-top awesome, that much I’m confident in.
It’s excitement like that that keeps our teachers from being able to sleep well tonight. I will struggle as well. I imagine there will be some students experiencing similar emotions. That because tomorrow’s New Year’s Day for us here, a day we make proclamations on what awaits us this new school year. Our goals are planned, our aspirations high, and we’re ready to go.
I’ve slacked off quite a bit at making this a blog, but I’ll do my best to get on it. Bear with me as this year gets underway. I’ll make it one of my New Year’s Resolutions to be better.
February 2017 Blog Post
Welcome! Here embarks a brand-new endeavor for me through the newly-updated Prairie Hill website. I hope this forum becomes a conversation between the Prairie Hill community and me. I welcome feedback at every turn to bring about greater discussion about where Prairie Hill came from, where it is now, and where it can go in the future.
For six years, I have had the remarkable fortune of leading Prairie Hill School, a school with a long and storied history. During that time, I have worked with nearly 1,000 different students, watched a Pre-K program launch and flourish, and witnessed a realignment in the conversation on student growth. I don’t think we’re at the mountaintop yet, though. I think there’s still an awesome amount of growth still to come.
Take my word as a parent or as a principal, this is where you want your child. The teaching in this building is second-to-none. That teaching happens in the classroom, yes, but it happens in the halls, it happens with peers, it happens in this community.
When I have the pleasure of showing new students around the school, I often give them a pop-quiz. I tell them, as we’re walking around, to find an adult in the building who isn’t smiling. These visits are unannounced, so they don’t come with any coaching, yet few students are able to succeed on their first task. For many, it’s the only time in this building they’ll experience defeat. Instead, there is no place better to come in as a new student. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was showing a new first-grader around. As we left each of the first grade classrooms, chants began from the rooms. You could hear it as I returned the girl to her mom echoing down the hall. From three separate rooms came the chants. Clear as day, you could hear the classes cheering, “We want her! We want her!” That student, who at first seemed so shy, beamed about coming to school the next day. She was wanted. She’d found her new home.
When you think of Prairie Hill, what do you think of? Where do you see the district going in the future? As I’ve heard so often, there is no Prairie Hill town. This building (and Willowbrook) is the focal point of this district. We want to continue to be a place the district is proud of and I welcome this forum as a place to facilitate that conversation.