Degrees and Certifications:
The Ola Cluster has a reputation for strong connectivity, which is one of the reasons I was so excited to join the community as principal of Ola Elementary. Even in the largest elementary school in Henry County, we make building relationships with our stakeholders top priority. I am so fortunate to work alongside a phenomenal team of educators who intentionally spend time making connections with students, staff members, and families to have a high impact on our students’ success.
We start and end each day by greeting every student and family member with a smile. On one side of campus, one of our assistant principals, Lindsay Boyle, and a team of staff members greet bus drivers and students as they arrive or depart campus. At the front of the school, I, along with Karen Maddox, assistant principal, and a team of staff members, greet families and students as they arrive at school by car. We especially love when our families roll the window down to provide feedback or just give us a high-five! Inside the school, our office team and teachers greet students by name as they enter the door to the school and classroom. This first point of contact has been a great way to get to know our students and help them turn their day around if they arrive with the “blues”.
During the day, we make time to get to know our students and celebrate their contributions to our community. Teachers and staff recognize student leaders and outstanding “Colts” by nominating them for Positive Office Referrals. When students are recognized, we call their family members to read the referral made by an OES Team member, give them a treat (Who doesn’t love free ice cream?), and post a picture on our Instagram page so that all members of our community can celebrate them as well. Our teachers even nominate their colleagues for Positive Office Referrals as well. Just as we do with students, we contact our staff member’s family to share the great news and celebrate them with a small gift (We love jean passes!).
We have also scheduled time with our students to make meaningful connections. Each week, I include a digital form for our teachers to schedule a read-aloud time with an administrator for their class. Mrs. Boyle, Mrs. Maddox, and I find this experience to be time well spent with our students. We love the opportunity to model effective reading strategies and an enthusiasm for reading for our students!
Most recently, our lunch team implemented a “Walk and Talk” time for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students. After the first 15 minutes of lunch, we allow our students to go outside to “Walk and Talk” if they are finished eating. This has been a great time for us to connect with our students through conversation while also enjoying the outdoors. Although, we may have to consider extending this opportunity to our students in Kindergarten through second grades as they have been campaigning hard to participate in “Walk and Talk” as well. Our kindergarten students, in particular, have some strong skills for negotiation!
Although there is always room for improvement, these are just a few ways that we have found beneficial in making meaningful connections with our Ola stakeholders. We could not be more proud of the great work happening in our community!