Right now I feel like the luckiest principal in the world to have gotten Salem Elementary School. This is an amazing group of teachers, amazing group of students and amazing community, where there is really good work going on. There is a lot of really focused instruction that helps our kids succeed. This year, coming in brand new and thinking about where we go from here, the assistant principal and I put our heads together and came up with this “Climbing to New Heights” theme. Things are good. We just want to go the next step. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re taking what we’re doing and going higher. We’re trying to stretch our kids. Can we push our pass-advanced rate? Can we push the critical thinking, the creative thinking, the problem solving and give our kids opportunities to continue to go higher and to build new things? Staff has really bought into that and our teachers are willing to take risks, which is scary when you’ve got a new principal. Both Mrs. Quinn and I have come in new and we’re saying, “It’s safe. Take a risk.” For example, we’ve been looking at our digital transformation and we want people to try new technologies and take risks. We’re calling it our “Climbing to New Heights Innovation Challenge,” and we’ve challenged every teacher to, between now and winter break, look at some way they can look at technology differently to solve a problem, to meet a student’s need, to explore something that might engage students, to try something new and to feel safe doing it. It hasn’t been long and our teachers are already sharing what they’ve done and what worked well.
We all grow from that kind of trying-something-new, seeing-how-it-impacts-kids kind of experiment. That’s how we all grow as educators. It’s asking ourselves, “How are we going to use technology to support instruction, make learning new and relevant, and reach students in a way we couldn’t reach them otherwise?”