Saturday, September 24, 2016

A School on the Move

It's a Friday afternoon at Carroll Leadership in Technology Magnet Middle School; day 19 of the 2016-2017 school year. Our dreamers, learners, leaders, and innovators have settled in nicely, and the continuous, yet ever-changing rhythm of learning and teaching has set a positive and forward thinking tone at our school. I'm scurrying around the building, excited and rejuvenated after a Thursday filled with camaraderie and new learning among all of Wake County's principals. 

I am thinking about an approaching meeting that some of the 8th grade students at Carroll have requested. Per the videos they have created as part of their request for this meeting, they are in need of "more rights and freedom to enhance student leadership at our school." I smile, reflecting on the image of the waving American flag that they selected for the opening message in their first video. They are developing critical life skills. They are learning to advocate for themselves appropriately and respectfully. Feeling proud, I check my iPad for the time. I have 40 minutes. 

Standing just outside of Student Services, I take a moment to admire our beautiful display cases - Dream, Learn, Lead, Innovate. My eyes meet our School Improvement goal. It's ambitious, but we're going to achieve it. 

By July 2018, 100% of Carroll students will meet or exceed expected growth outcomes in Math, ELA, and Science as measured by state and local assessments, in order to achieve 80% overall proficiency, with no subgroups performing below 50% proficient.

This past school year, we made more proficiency growth than any other Wake County middle school, and among all 171 buildings in our school system, only 3 buildings outperformed us in this area. We believe in our kids, and in their ability to achieve anything they set their minds to doing. We believe in Wake County's Strategic Plan. We believe that every student is uniquely capable and deserves to be challenged and engaged in relevant, rigorous, and meaningful learning each and every day. 

Heading down the main hallway, I glance through the window of the first door that I pass. I have to stop. Open-Mindedness is displayed on the classroom's monitor. Social-Emotional learning is a priority at Carroll, and we are privileged to have recently partnered with the Positivity Project. We are spending time each day facilitating dialogue around each of the 24 character strengths found in all people. Students have begun to recognize strengths in themselves, and as a result, they are becoming attuned to recognizing strengths in others. Powerful stuff. 

Continuing down the hallway, I pass a smiling Mr. Highsmith. I snap a photo, and he begins to laugh nervously. This is probably the 10th time that I have seen him today. Each time, today and every other day, he is happy and focused. He gets it. He is committed to doing right by kids. He sees them. He cares, and it shows. 

I keep moving. I visit 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade classrooms. I visit electives and core classes. Without fail, I am in awe of what is happening at Carroll. #LearnerAgency

Students are thinking deeply and critically about their learning. They are exploring, communicating effectively and respectfully, creating, collaborating, and innovating. Some students are sitting at tables, and others are standing in circles. Some kids are using iPads and others are typing feverishly on laptops. Some kids are writing, and some kids are talking. They are reading, drawing, making connections, applying, and accessing. They are on the floor, they are in the hallways, and they are all engaged. They are learning. It is magic to my eyes, and I am amazed. 

My 40 minutes were well spent. I am energized and prepared for my meeting. I will seek first to understand, and with 4 weeks of awesome at Carroll in the books, I think that our 8th graders make some great points. Let freedom reign. Our kids deserve it. 

If you are already a member of the Carroll family, and you would like to take a more active role in what is happening at our great school, please let us know here. Community is everything. If you have yet to become a Carroll family member, the time is now. We are changing the world, 1002 kids at a time. 

Week 1 at Carroll

Week 2 at Carroll

Week 3 at Carroll

1 comment:

  1. This is inspiring - Thanks for your dedication and energy. So thankful to have this kind of leadership at my child's school!