Approximately 4 years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Hines School, and at that time I wrote, "This is a District #150 School in control of their classrooms, hallways, cafeteria and Physical Education classes." Among other complimentary things I wrote "One of the posted signs I saw everywhere was "close your lips". What I observed seemed simple: show love, enforce discipline and give and receive respect.
My visit today was greeted by Principal Cathy Wiggers, same as four years ago. That in itself was a pleasant happening. Next, to the hallways escorted by a very vibrant Assistant Principal, Mrs. Dawn Robinson and to the classroom of music teacher Wendy Strauss. Mrs. Strauss capablly held the attention of almost all the students including a group of special education kids and their teacher who gave and received love and respect.
Next a trip to the cafeteria where an enthusiastic group of ladies made me feel like I was in a first cdass restaurant. Then to an orderly table of bright young girls who all told me their names and maintained a steady conversation about what they were learning. One fourth grader told me her favorite subject was spelling. All liked to be challenged on questions to give or learn the answer. Little effort was needed to keep the kids in order, no pushing and shoving in lines, lots of smiles and "thank yous' and "your welcome". I was joined by Mrs. Robinson who was impressive in her ability to hold the kids attention and carry on meaningful conversations at the lunch table.
Since the cafeteria was in the gym, tables and chairs had to be quickly cleared and some kids helped in the process. Gym was energetic with side straddle hops, pushups and other fun, energy using activities that brought back memories when I taught grade school, was the coach and physical education teacher.
Despite all the publicity of obese kids and adults I never observed anyone I could call obese in my entire two hour visit.
All the teachers greeted me with smiles especially a relative newcomer to the teaching field; Marty Ayler, who teaches computer skills and social studies. Mrs. Ayler left a business career to graduate from college so she could become a teacher. What an asset this school and it's culture is to this community.
Everyone should at least half a dozen times in their lives, drop into a school, check in at the office and be a quiet observer and show your support to all staff and show your interest in the kids who could all grow up to be meaningful contributers to any community.
This was my second visit this week to a public school. I will comment on this school where the kids were older after my next visit in February.
Hines School is older and has some physical problems that could be corrected without spending a lot of money. It is living proof that it is the principal, the teachers, the staff, the kids and the interest of their parents that result in learning experiences desired in promoting well rounded kids.
District #150 has a lot of good schools, principals, teachers and staff. Last year i had a District sponsored trip to impressive classrooms at Garfield and Woodruff. But nothing give you a better overall feel for a school when you drop in unannouced and ask the principal to let you visit a clasroom. All good teachers and principals will welcome your concern and desire to see the learning in progress.