Head of School's Blog: Scatter-Shooting pt.1
For years, the late, great Blackie Sherrod, sports writer for the Dallas Morning News, wrote a weekly column that began with these words, “Scatter-shooting while wondering whatever happened to….” His column was a hodgepodge of opinions and commentary on various topics and events in the world of sports. In his honor and memory, here is my version of “Scatter-shooting.”
Scatter-shooting while wondering whatever happened to civil discourse in the public arena.
If you have visited the employment page on our website recently, you may have noticed that we have posted a position entitled Chief Academic Officer. This position, while new for the 2017-18 school year, is actually a reinstatement of a previous Academic Dean position that existed several years ago. Throughout this year, I have been conducting personal interviews with the faculty and staff to become better acquainted with them and hear their perspectives on the needs of the school. When asked, “What would add value to the school?” the resounding response was the need for someone to provide leadership and coordination for the development of curriculum and instructional strategies. Most private schools that are Legacy’s size have a leadership position that provides such leadership. In fact, two years ago, the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) recommended that this position be created to ensure vertical integration of the curriculum, provide meaningful professional development for faculty, and expand the curriculum to meet the academic needs of a growing school. I am pleased to report that, after a nationwide search, we have several excellent candidates for this position and will be interviewing finalists by the end of this week. Stay tuned for an announcement in the near future.
Speaking of expanding our curriculum, our Board of Directors has appointed an Education Committee to evaluate the academic needs of the school and propose ways to strengthen the quality of the academic experience of our students. One area that the committee is exploring is the possibility of expanding our diploma endorsements beyond the two currently offered—Distinguished and Fine Arts. We are currently working on a strategic initiative to implement a more personalized academic experience that helps students discover and pursue their unique gifts and interests. I am excited about the progress of this committee and look forward to sharing more information in the near future.
One of the professional objectives I established with the Board is to evaluate the current leadership structure of the school and recommend changes that would lead to improved efficiency and increased effectiveness. To that end, I am pleased to announce a re-alignment of my executive leadership team. First, beginning next year, Tiffany McCollum will assume the position of Early Education Principal and will provide supervision and leadership of 3K, 4K, TK, and Kindergarten. Kerri Rhodes will continue to serve as principal of grades 1-4, and Glenn Dibley will continue his oversight of grades 5-8 as Middle School Principal. For consistency and simplicity, we are changing the name of that division from Intermediate School to Middle School. Since I have been at Legacy, I have heard that division referred to as junior high, middle school, and intermediate school. To avoid confusion, we just need to have one name—Middle School. Kevin Mosley will continue to lead our Upper School comprised of grades 9-12.
I am changing the titles, but not the responsibilities, of the other members of my leadership team. Deanna Carpenter is now the Chief Development Officer; Raney Payne is now Chief Financial Officer; Adam Housley is Chief Operations Officer; and our soon-to-named Chief Academic Officer will complete my executive leadership team. I am blessed to work with such a dedicated and loyal group of professional leaders.
Throughout the year, I have convened several task forces to address various issues and challenges facing the school. The first task force met throughout the fall semester to develop a multi-year plan to improve the safety and security of our campus. I am pleased to report that we are already beginning to implement the recommendations of this task force, due in no small part to your generous giving to the Annual Fund. The onsite weather monitoring station, Weatherbug, was recently installed to provide an early alert system for potential lightning strikes during approaching thunderstorms.
During Spring Break, we began installing special film on all exterior doors and entrance area windows. The film is designed with micro-layer technology to provide unparalleled tear-resistance. Over the next two weeks, an attachment film will also be installed to ensure that the even if a window is broken or shattered it will remain in place. The video below illustrates how the product works.
Additionally, over the summer we will be reconstructing the main entrance of the South Campus to create a “man-trap.” We have also installed locking mechanisms on all classroom doors so that they can be locked from the inside. Again, your Annual Fund dollars have helped make these improvements possible.
Two other task forces, comprised of a combination of students, parents, and educators, are meeting to address other needs of the school. The Dress Code task force is looking at ways to simplify and standardize our current dress code to make compliance with and enforcement of the dress code easier for our students, parents, and teachers. The Anti-Bullying task force is evaluating the policies and procedures that govern bullying allegations and recommending strategies to strengthen reporting and adjudicating procedures, as well as to educate students, parents, and teachers on how to prevent bullying within the school community.
I look forward to writing future “Scatter-shooting” entries to my blog. Thank you for reading!
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