Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Today marks the first day of school for many districts in western Washington. I was privileged enough to spend today's "first day" touring four schools in the Highline School District, meeting our members and getting a feel for today's schools. I was not disappointed!

The first school I visited has actually turned into three. The district has moved to an academy model, first at Tyee High and now at Evergreen High, where I met Eric Hong, principal of the Technology, Engineering and Communications School and Vic Anderson, principal of the Arts and Academic Academy. Both were gracious enough to let me shadow them for the morning as they visited classrooms and interacted with students. As Eric pointed out, having 350 students will allow him more time to get to know each student better this year. Each of the three academies at the Evergreen High campus will eventually have about 400 students.

My second visit was to the beautiful new Hazel Valley Elementary. This brand new school is incredibly inviting and the students there all seemed to be settling into the new year well. There I met new principal Johnathan Letcher, who was busy making the rounds to classrooms. (On his suit coat, he wore a name tag with "PRINCIPAL" in large red letters.) In this photo, he's asking first-graders why they are at school. The answer: "TO LEARN!" they responded enthusiastically.

My third visit was to one of my own alma maters, Sylvester Middle School. Principal Vicki Fisher gave me a quick tour of the main building, which boasts a hallway that is a half-mile long. With 800+ students, it's probably a good thing, too. This is Vicki's second year at Sylvester, having spent her previous administrative time at the elementary level. Vicki also help me navigate the day's first lunch crowd, which was really fun to watch.

In each of these schools, there was an enthusiasm you just can't replicate sitting at the desk. The first day of school is something to be experienced, and I appreciate the opportunity to share today with these members, their staff and students. Let's hope the energy of the first day carries into the rest of the school year for everyone!

How did the first day go in your school?

SIDE NOTE: Today The Comp Book hits the century mark! This post is our 100th post since starting this blog last spring, and the first of what we hope are 100s more to come.