Principal, Joppa View Elementary
During the 2012 State of the Schools address, Dr. Dance introduced a new and exciting system-wide priority that would change the way students learn and how teachers present daily instruction. This would be accomplished through a multi-year instructional digital conversion and would focus on the integration of technology. With my interest piqued, I realized this new initiative would utilize my professional knowledge, as I have a background in technology and have always stressed the importance of technology during instruction as a way of meeting the various needs and learning styles of the Joppa View Elementary School (JVES) students. It would certainly be the perfect way to move Joppa View from a “good” school to a “great” school.
Early in 2013, I communicated my interest to participate in the Lighthouse Schools program to my faculty and staff to get a pulse on their interest level. Overwhelmingly, the teachers were interested and on-board. I could see the excitement in their eyes and a new-found spark in their step as this potential opportunity was the buzz in the hallways and the focus of discussion in the faculty room. I knew that there may be several staff members who would meet the opportunity with anxiety, fear, and the attitude of the program being “just one more thing to do,” (and I will be sure they have the resources and support they need to meet with success as we move forward); but overwhelmingly, my staff showed a great interest in becoming a Lighthouse School and gave me hope that we actually had a shot at this!
Soon after, my faculty completed the required interest inventory and showed that nearly 100% of my staff was on-board to proceed with the application process. Assistant principal, Kerry Flanigan, and I, moved quickly to highlight the many reasons JVES should be selected as a Lighthouse School and why our community is perfect for this experience.
I will never forget the day I was sitting in my office, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gray SUV pull up to the front of the school. Out of the car bubbled a bouquet of balloons and the energy of Ryan Imbriale and several other BCPS representatives. I quickly jumped out of my chair and yelled “We’re a Lighthouse School!” The journey was just beginning.
We are laser-focused on student and teacher learning. The learning communities that we are developing for students, parents, and faculty of JVES will change the culture of our school and our community. Teachers will not be the sole disseminator of knowledge; the lines of who is the learner and who is the teacher will be blurred…for the better. We all have ideas to share and knowledge to demonstrate.
I am grateful for the opportunity, not only for myself, but more importantly for the students of JVES. Change can be scary, but it is very important and inevitable. The quote, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” by George Bernard Shaw, sums it up well. We will work extremely hard at JVES to change the minds or our students, staff, and parents; and in doing so, demonstrate the important work of Team BCPS and the Lighthouse Schools Initiative on a daily basis.