Want to know if JCPS is on the Right Track? Visit a School; Listen to Students. Here’s What Goes On Before School Starts.

There’s nothing like visiting a school to make you feel great about the commitment of educators and the eagerness of students to learn.

Sometimes you need shot in the arm, and it just took a few minutes this week to tell me we are on the right track.

Principal David Armour of Kammerer Middle School invited me to the KMS “Kids Camp” for incoming 6th graders.  It was serious business.

Some classrooms were filled with parents learning how to monitor their children’s social media (a very popular session, as you might expect), what type of related arts classes are available, youth center services, and academic expectations, including how to use Parent Portal to track their child’s progress.

Other classrooms contained excited students who were meeting teachers, getting the feel of the building, and learning how to use their agenda to stay organized.

When they come to school on August 13, they will already be ready to learn. No orientation needed.

Mr. Armour took me on a whirlwind tour of the place, and in each room he would greet the parents, or talk with the kids. One student said to him, “My Mom told me you have an ‘iron fist’…you don’t let anything get by.” That was a laugh, but it is good to know this student knew an orderly school is the expectation.

The principal always asked students where they went to elementary school. Some students came from schools nearby, others from the western part of the city, and Mr. Armour always had a great comment about their former school, making them feel like they all belonged at Kammerer.

Students had the right attitude, too.

One teacher was talking to a group of students about the skills they need for success.  A student named Kierra said, “One way you can be successful is to meet your goals.”  Everyone agreed. Mr. Armour asked if she learned that from her elementary principal. She said, yes, she did.

Be successful and meet your goals. This attitude formed in the early grades will help Kierra and the other students truly have a successful 6th grade year, and has the potential to keep them going strong to graduate prepared.

If educators can pass students up the line with this attitude, we’ll be in good shape.

About Debbie Wesslund

I served on the Jefferson County Board of Education, Louisville, KY, from 2007-2014 and continue to be an advocate for public schools. There’s a high-level dialogue about public education that swings from positive to negative, with many who seek the spotlight voicing an inaccurate picture of our public schools. Words matter. They get lodged in our public perceptions, creating a narrative that doesn’t reflect the real story. There’s so much more to public education, and much worth applauding in Kentucky and across the country. The stakes are high: public education is the most serious public business we are about as a community, a state and a nation. We must continually renew our resolve to support public education. There’s always more promise in building something up, than in tearing it down.
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