Degrees and Certifications:

Jennifer Laughridge

East Lake Elementary

Connecting with others is vitally important in all aspects of life, but especially in a school community. If students and staff do not feel connected, they do not want to come to school. If parents do not feel connected, they are not eager to participate in their child’s education. We need parents to be involved and staff and students to be present to make a difference in a child’s life. It is my belief that as the building leader, I am responsible for establishing positive school connectivity through my actions, deeds and words. It is also my belief that actions speak louder than words. Therefore, I constantly look for ways to connect with my school community through my actions. Each day I prioritize my “duty” assignments because it is important for the school community to know that I am in the work with them. Whether it is greeting students in the morning with a warm hello, doing morning announcements, talking with students in the cafeteria during lunch, monitoring fifth graders on the playground, or calling numbers in afternoon car line. I believe my presence sets a standard and a tone. I also send a calling post each Sunday to update our community on school happenings, post things on social media, send positive emails, make positive phone calls, and send a monthly parenting flyer to encourage parents to be involved in their child’s life.

While all these actions serve to promote connectivity, my favorite way to connect with students is through reading. I believe all students should be read to by an adult every day, kindergarten through fifth grade. I believe in it so much that I implemented a designated oral reading time into our master schedule. All teachers are expected to read a novel orally to their students during “pack-up” time from 2:05- 2:20. To be a part of this initiative, I have a schedule for myself to visit a classroom each afternoon to read to students. This is by far my favorite time of the day. When I go in to classes I get to be a teacher again. It reminds me of why I pursued education in the first place. I pull out reading strategies and talk about different aspects of the book. The students are excited for me to be in their classroom and are surprised that I know so much about reading. One student was so engaged and connected that he said to me, “Mrs. Laughridge, you should be a teacher.” He was amazed when I shared that I once was. Connecting with students is why I love what I do!