Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! The fall is a time of excitement as we anticipate opportunities to learn, build friendships, and grow. This is the 102nd year of our illustrious learning community and each of us has an important role to play in the continuing legacy of educational excellence we enjoy in San Marino. It is a great privilege to be Principal of Huntington Middle School. I look forward to a strong dynamic partnership with students, families, faculty, and staff.
The theme I’ve selected for this year is UPLIFT. Here’s a word that has varied meanings depending on the syllable emphasized. UPlift and upLIFT. Allow me to explain how this theme undergirds our educational mission at HMS.
The California ELA/ELD Framework identifies four cognitive and intrapersonal competencies all students need for college and career readiness in the 21st century: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. HMS Faculty work diligently to incorporate these 4Cs into their lessons and units of instruction. They are foundational pillars across all core subjects that create a learning platform for the standards being taught to students. Content and standards may shift over time, but the core competencies remain constant and they provide the “UPlift” students need to soar in their educational pursuits.
In addition, we believe strongly that HMS students should develop character traits and citizenship qualities that benefit the climate of the school and enhance the well-being of every individual. We value our Safe Schools Ambassador program, the nation's most effective bystander education program which harnesses the power of students to prevent and stop mistreatment, and we’ll train a new group of student ambassadors this year. Every month we celebrate the contributions of students at the Good Citizenship Breakfast, a tangible way positive actions are recognized and rewarded. Another initiative we will continue this fall is our W.E.B. (Where Everybody Belongs) program. WEB is built on the idea that students should feel welcomed and supported as they transition into middle school life. WEB is a program where student activities are organized by 7th and 8th grade WEB leaders for all 6th graders. They enjoy time together throughout the year as they continue to build strong ties to their new school community.
Another essential focus is on caring. Most educational organizations care about imparting knowledge to students, but the best schools and teachers also care about the relational aspect of teaching. We want to take time to establish a trusting and caring connection with our students, who will in turn become more receptive to what's being taught. We get to know students' interests, talents, and needs, which helps us prepare lessons and helps students feel the partnership of the learning experience. The three qualities I’ve talked about in the last two paragraphs upLIFT our human interactions and create an environment in which we can thrive. All seven of these capacities and qualities form the bedrock of our work as educators.
Continuing in that vein, it is a privilege and a thrill to be moving into the Barth Athletic Complex this fall. The opportunities this new complex opens to our students represent a long term commitment to the educational development of the whole child. Physical fitness, team work, sports competitions, intramural athletics, and general good health benefits will be maximized in this premier facility. We’ve always had a fantastic athletics program at HMS and now our students have a state of the art athletic complex to match. What an exciting time to be an HMS Fox!