A View from the Principal’s Office
The amazing reality of last week is that it represented the final days of the first quarter of the school year. It also meant that winter is coming, fall sports seasons are winding down, and we all wonder how we so quickly got to this point in the year. I have enjoyed sharing that which I have seen from my office through these posts. I continue to be struck by the partnerships and opportunities that are occurring at Hartford High School. I want to share a couple of recent events, both of which provide a glimpse into the role that HHS is playing in our community.
Thursday, Oct. 27 found many students and staff creating a “Haunted Hallway.” Student volunteers worked collaboratively with their teachers and earned community service hours for their efforts; our younger visitors were appropriately frightened – all-in-all it was a successful evening. Earlier in the week I sat in a meeting directed by students – Ben Rouillard, Kenna Hausler, Maeve Sneddon, and Parker Strawbridge - who are dual enrolled in a course titled, “Communicating School Redesign,” with four staff members (Sabrina Brown, Roy Hathorn, Katie Hluchyj, and Erin Stevens). The goal of this course is to help enhance our community’s understanding of the changes that are occurring at HHS. The students’ message was a first in my almost 30 years at Hartford. They have set up a Snapchat account to communicate what is going on at Hartford that Ben controls and they were encouraging teachers who want to use the account to share what they are doing to see him for the password and explanation of expectations. Schools strive to support student voice, in this meeting I heard students who are in charge and interested in partnering with their school, peers, and teachers to support the community’s understanding of all that is going on at their school. These students have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that this account is used safely and appropriately by all. In addition to the pilot that they are managing around Snapchat, a parallel plan is occurring with an Instagram account. As we seek to share within our community, we also see this as a great way to authentically work with our learners around the safe and appropriate use of social media tools. As a school administrator I am trying to keep up and, if I am honest, am sometimes frightened by the pace the digital world moves. As a grandparent, parent, and educator, I am fully aware of the immense responsibility to support our students’ safe use of these tools. I do not believe that the best way to do this is to pretend the various means of social media do not exist – and I have seen first-hand what it looks like when students are left to their own devices to figure out the digital world. I am excited that our students have taken it upon themselves to share with each other and the broader community the learning opportunities that they are proud of. I will remain cautious and questioning when I see or hear something that I don’t understand. Our students need to know that this is an area of strong partnership between their school and family. Stay tuned; it is our intent, once we have completed pilot programs and are comfortable that we are ready, to make these accounts public.
Hartford High School