Perry Township Schools
I believe every successful leader takes the time to get out from behind the desk and talk with the individuals who his decisions impact.
Several years ago we started a tradition by having informal working luncheons every spring and fall with a group of high schoolers who are respected by the student body. These individuals hold key offices or are active members within clubs/organizations such as the National Honor Society, class officers, Riley Dance Marathon, school spirit, academic top 20, athletics, scholarship recipients, student publications, Falcon Radio and the arts.
We asked the students to share success stories in their schools, and they mentioned the recent and numerous Indiana State School Music Association gold ratings, scholarship recipients and athletic achievements.
There was excitement in the air when the students discussed the upcoming spring break. In the same breath, reality returned when concern about the Advanced Placement course testing was raised.
I talked about the challenges in the district: capacity needs in our elementary schools and the open-concept classrooms at Winchester Village Elementary. Most of the students had attended elementary school in the district and were surprised to learn that we have 26 trailer classrooms. Collectively, the students agreed that teaching art and music from carts as a solution was not acceptable. They said they firmly feel that media centers must remain intact for student growth and research.
The students would like to have more pep sessions to bring attention to activities like robotics, color guard and drum line, not just athletics. They also would like the opportunity for both high schools to work jointly on projects.
Surprisingly, the group expressed interest in having college lecture-hall-type classes to prepare for higher education. The conversation also touched on school spirit/pep sessions, commencement, snow days and schedules/classes.
The majority of students want to wear sweat pants to school. We chatted about the dress code and the importance of decorum in our schools and the fact that actions as well as attitude reflect your dress. While they understood, they were a bit disappointed. I encouraged them to continue to ask questions.
Discussions like this impact school and district decisions. Over the years, many changes for the good of the district have been made as a result of these conversations.
It is an honor to meet with the leadership teams from our high schools. I admire their maturity and their work. They are responsible, driven people having a good year. They describe their schools’ environment as resembling family and fun.
I leave these meetings filled with pride in our district and for the future of Perry Township.