Dear Southwestern community,
It is our goal to make Southwestern Central High School that best place to receive a quality education. We can achieve this goal by ensuring all students are able to feel safe, both socially and emotionally while receiving an excellent education at SWCS. To be the best, we as a school community must focus on communication, collaboration and cooperation while putting our focus on what is best for our children. We frequently use the phrase, “Do the Right Thing!”
During the 2017-2018 school year, Ms. Brooke Adams, Assistant Principal, and I met with students, faculty and staff members, and parents to learn about our school.
Our school improvement process revolves around the following beliefs:
- Creating a school community and culture that leads to success, well-being and high academic outcomes for all students.
- Promoting rigorous and coherent curricula and assessments that are appropriately aligned to the NYS Learning Standards for all students.
- Engaging and supporting teachers in strategic practices and decision-making in order to address the gap between what students know and need to learn, so that all students experience consistently high levels of engagement, thinking and achievement.
- Our school community identifies, promotes, and supports social and emotional development by designing systems and experiences that lead to healthy relationships and a safe, respectful school environment that is conducive to learning for all constituents.
- SWCS produces a culture of partnership where families, community members and school staff work together to share in the responsibility for student academic progress and social-emotional growth and well-being.
We held 18 entry meetings last school year and asked the following questions to members of each sub-committee:
- What should the new principal/assistant principal know about Southwestern Central High School?
- What are the most valued traditions that need to continue as a “best practice” for our high school?
- What advice can you provide to help us to be a successful Principal/Assistant Principal at Southwestern Central High School?
- What items/issues need to be addressed at the High School?
- What do you feel is the most important thing that we can do to help?
- What worries you about the upcoming school year?
- What are you excited about for this school year?
At the end of the entry meetings we summarized the data we collected and asked our faculty members to prioritize our findings. Our top priorities to be addressed for the 2018-2019 school are as follows:
- Correct the negative impacts of cell phone use in the building.
- Implement procedural guidelines to improve student attendance.
- Institute a 9th Grade Transition Team.
- Improve communication/collaboration at all levels.
- Modify Master Schedule.
- Promote increased student involvement in extra and co-curricular activities.
When students return to school on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, we will have new policies, procedures, and practices in place to begin our action steps to improve our high school. Notably, we will be limiting student use of cell phones to designated space in the building. Students will not be allowed to use cell phones in classrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, and during safety drills. In an effort to improve student attendance, we have instituted an attendance committee designed to monitor student attendance, communicate with parents/guardians, students, and faculty members, and use credit recovery to give students an opportunity to earn credit from missed instructional time.
Our students entering 9th grade will be welcomed back to school with a new 9th Grade Transition Team. Our 9th Grade Transition Team will have shared common planning time designed to support increased student engagement and improve communication.
Our counseling department has also made positive changes within the Master Schedule that include new electives, revisions to the bell schedule, and departmental collaboration time. In advance, we appreciate your continued support of promoting student involvement in extra-curricular activities. Students who are involved in school sponsored or community sponsored activities learn valuable time management skills and develop into well-rounded individuals.
Also, I would like to share some updates on our gymnasium and auditorium Phase III building project. The new gymnasium and classrooms are progressing in a timely manner. Wall framing, plumbing, ductwork, and electricity are about 85% complete in the gymnasium. The new gym floor installation is scheduled to begin in early August. The work in the auditorium is also rapidly progressing. Painting and new lighting for the auditorium are almost complete, as the contractors are beginning stage sound and lighting equipment installation. We are eagerly anticipating the completion of this project. These new facilities will support our goal to provide a quality education and promote our “Trojan Pride!”
In closing, our faculty and staff members are excited as we prepare for our students’ return Tuesday, September 4, 2018. We look forward to your continued partnership as we strive to make Southwestern Central School District the best place to educate children!
Scott A. Cooper,
High School Principal