Principals finish out year finding ways to re:

By Anne Drabicky

At their final meeting of the school year, principals wearing flower leis celebrated student successes, heard from district leaders, discussed professional learning opportunities… and danced in a silent disco, competed in a scavenger hunt and donned accessories for a photo booth. 

The work—and the play—is part of the district’s focus on re: ensuring that staff have time and space to recharge, refresh, re-energize and then return excited for another school year. 

Jordan Elementary School Principal Adrienne Williams said that she usually spends Fridays in the summer when the district is closed working on hiring. 

“But this summer I really need a break,” she said. “I plan to enjoy my Fridays that are off.”

Navarro ECHS Principal Steve Covin said that during the spring semester, they could feel a bit of normalcy returning to campus.

“We’re all really excited and have talked a lot about regaining that momentum we had prior to the pandemic,” he said.

Interim Superintendent Anthony Mays said mental health and the district’s culture and climate will be at the heart of the district’s work during the next school year. 

“One of the pieces that we’re really focused on is trying to take care of the adults and everyone in our system,” he said. “We recognize that in order for them to take care of our students, we have to take care of them. Ultimately, we think that will really help support the student achievement outcomes that we want, so that’s what we’ll really be focused on in the upcoming year.”

And so in between talking about professional development and student achievement, elementary principals took a quiz—how many complete school names do you know? 

“Boone—anyone know?” asked Gilbert Hicks, associate superintendent of elementary schools. 

Cheers and high fives all around when someone correctly knew George and Johnnie Boone Elementary. 

He went down the list: “Jordan? Kocurek? What about Overton?” 

(Answers: Barbara Jordan. Willie I Kocurek. Volma Robert Overton Sr.)

Trustee Kevin Foster, chairman of Black Students at UT Austin, joined the principals for their final meeting and said he’s hopeful for the 2022–23 school year.  

“We’ve been through so much. Our principals have worked so hard, our teachers have worked so hard,” Foster said. “I want us to come back with a sense of possibility and to come back excited for the pursuit of academic excellence for each and every one of our students. 

“I think next year could be pretty cool,” he said.