Inside the Trenches of the Principal: Week 38

On Thursday we had our kindergarten screening. It went smoothly and I am so proud of my 5th grade Ambassadors who acted as guides for the families as they walked through the building. They made great first impressions!

The experience also opened up my eyes to something that I had already known, but to see it laid out in front of my so plainly in a short amount of time was quite surreal. My job during screening day was to review the results for the parents. The screening we used included letter and number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, writing their name, cutting, identifying colors, shapes, and so on. As I went through the packets with the parents, seeing the gap between students was simply astronomical. We talk about “the achievement gap” all the time in education, but seeing one student who is already reading sentences and the next who can’t name a letter yet put this truly into perspective for me.

I assured parents that these screening activities are simply to help us as a school learn about their child, which they are, but they are also a blaring reality that there are great discrepancies in the 0-5 years of life. Again, this is likely not a secret to anyone, but for me, this was an eye-opening event due to the ability to see results back-to-back-to-back throughout the day. As a former 5th grade teacher, I typically saw the results of “the gap” after 5 years of schooling, but never truly thinking about how they got there. I had students reading novels in 5th grade and students still learning to decode words, never thinking that this “trajectory” really started well before they ever stepped into the school.

I’m not saying I have the answer or the fix, though I truly believe an increase in free Pre-K starting at 3 wouldn’t hurt, but I had a personal learning experience this past week that I will continue to focus on as a principal and look for ways that we can increase early educational experiences for our families. But more importantly, making sure that we provide resources for those who need help the most early on when they enter my school doors.

Moore also had a great time with our visit from my dear friends Wade and Hope King this past week! My staff was treated to excellent model lessons, workshops, and conversation with these two great educators. I had a number of staff thank me afterwards for bringing the Kings to Moore, but I said the biggest thank you will be for you to bring the ideas back into your classroom! That’s why it was great seeing one of my kindergarten classrooms this week transforming her classroom into a race track!

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