So many events over the past few weeks remind me that it is my pleasure to be your principal.
Just one week ago, before school began, teachers and staff completed the task of reopening classrooms, attending professional development sessions, and becoming reacquainted with each other and our students.
At the same time, I was notified of a plan underfoot to usher in the school year in grand fashion. The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization’s efforts brought that plan to fruition. As you likely saw in the news, if not in person, our students were greeted by a community that embraced them. In the process, these South High supporters also embraced the value of our students' education, the students' futures and ours too. It’s not lost on us that one day these students will be the caretakers of this community. What an amazing thing to celebrate!
But before all that happened, I have to tell you, I was already celebrating, in my own quiet way, because I already had a feeling that matched what was to come. After looking at the numbers last Friday, we came to the realization that our welcome events drew an 80% participation rate. This is what school-parent-student engagement looks like.
That was one of many moments that had me reflecting on the good fortune of being your principal.
Another, was news that South High made the Washington Post’s list of most challenging Minnesota High Schools. You can read all about the methodology, but this designation came to us as a school that, like our community, embraces all our students.
It doesn’t measure only high scorers, or only elite schools that gatekeep, allowing a narrow demographic of privilege to enter its doors. This list is not like other lists, slapping a “best of” label on a school, without regard to disparate funding formulas.
No, this designation looked at diverse school communities, and how, despite the range of test scores, demographics and socioeconomic challenges, our commitment remains with the majority of our students. We encourage all to excel, and to achieve, despite and perhaps because of obstacles encountered.
There is much to celebrate here. I enjoy being your principal, It was my privilege to escort the Superintendent here Monday, when he came to see what a “challenging school” was like.
One day, these students will, too, celebrate this community of parents who support them, and the community who greeted them. I can see, they already do, in their own quiet way. One student told me (when I asked about it) that the welcome gave him a warm feeling and his classmates nodded. That is high school affirmation. That is high praise.
Endless thanks for your engagement and support. It is good to be the principal of South High!