Listen to the Kids….

downsview-visit-brainstormingIn an effort to find the best principal for Wilson Hill Elementary School we met with a group of parents to determine exactly what they were looking for in a new school leader.  I wrote about that process in a post titled “Looking for Superman…or Wonderwoman.”  Last week we followed up our meeting with parents with a meeting with Wilson Hill staff members.  They also shared their thoughts on the skills, knowledge and dispositions that their next principal should possess.  Finally, and probably most importantly, we have asked Wilson Hill students to share their ideas on what they would like for THEIR school.

Our kids are incredibly perceptive and they provide a unique and important perspective on their school experience.  Certainly there is some wisdom that we as adults have accumulated over the years, but our kids, when pressed, have a whole lot more to offer than we sometimes give them credit for.  In asking students what they wanted in their principal here is a sample of what we were told:

  • Be nice
  • Be happy
  • Loves kids
  • Lets us have choices during inside recess
  • Talks to kids
  • Knows your name
  • Fun and intelligent
  • Helpful
  • Takes time to see what we are doing in our classroom
  • Knows how to solve problems
  • Has fair consequences
  • Isn’t all weird and stuff
  • Goes outside and plays with kids
  • Knows how to keep us safe
  • Positive – likes their job, smiles, wants to be with kids
  • Stays for a couple of years
  • Trustworthy
  • Takes care of the school
  • Stays calm dealing with discipline
  • Likes donuts

As I read through this list it was very similar to the list developed by parents and staff.  Our adults used more refined words but our students and their feedback was spot on.  Here’s the list of top characteristics generated by Wilson Hill parents for comparison sake:

  • Consistency and Commitment to Wilson Hill Elementary
  • Visible and Accessible
  • Approachable and Friendly to All
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Strong Knowledge of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Advocates for, and Supports, Wilson Hill Teachers
  • Gets to Know All Students and is Good with Names

Worthington Schools is about the kids of Worthington.  When we hire a principal our students deserve a voice, and their input proves to be both valuable and perceptive.  Next week all students in Worthington will begin to take a culture and climate survey about their school experience.  This is another way for us to try to capture the student experience, learn from it, and make adjustments to it, so that all kids have a great 13 years in Worthington!  Hopefully Worthington is a school district that is known for listening not only to our parents and community, but to our students.

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One Response to Listen to the Kids….

  1. Amy says:

    Trent, I love the input from the children (of course my favorite was that the new principal likes donuts!). What I found most interesting was the lists, when combined, reflected the core character traits from Partners for Citizenship and Character (PCC) Word of the Month list. It shows what is important to all the residents of Worthington and what makes ours a great community in which to raise our children!

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