Greetings to our Roncalli STEM Academy (RSA) Community!
I am honored to return as Principal of RSA and love the potential our students and staff have going into this school year. Our theme this year is, “Rise as a P.A.C.K.: Growing Every Day!” I believe that every student must grow each and every day they come to our building. Over the summer, I joined a cohort of school leaders from around the country at the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education (UVA PLE) program. In partnership with the Darden School of Business, UVA PLE challenges school teams to develop rigorous 90 Day plans centered around Big Rocks for School Improvement. For the 2022-2023 school year, our team looked at the needs and data surrounding student and staff culture and student academic performance, focusing our efforts around two essential big rocks:
Instructional Systems: Professional Learning Communities and Observation/Feedback
Predictable Learning Environments: Physical Learning Environments and Essential Routines and Procedures
These Big Rocks for School Improvement focus our professional efforts on the most important aspects of student learning. Thus far, one of the components of Big Rock 2 has been a concerted focus on an effective 6th Grade transition by engaging in the Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program. With WEB, three of our strongest teacher/counselor leaders trained a vetted group of 8th graders to facilitate our 6th grade transition day and continue to engage with support of the 6th graders in their first year of middle school. It is a 3 year process that builds resilience, care and leadership in our student body. In alignment with these plans, RSA has also implemented use of the Kickboard PBIS platform in which students are awarded points for demonstrating positive behaviors or accomplishing academic goals and can use these points in our school store, “Howlmart”, to buy fun things like snacks or to save up for larger items donated by our community.
Our Project Lead the Way team also continues to engage students in essential STEM learning to prepare them for an ever changing future. We are in our 2nd year of offering a Drones program and this year, a group of students is using drones resources to run Drone Deploy to evaluate the geography surrounding our school building.
In addition, RSA has all of the trimmings of a traditional middle school offering electives such as Band, Art and P.E. to all students along with the full array of after school sports and activities. I truly believe that, after a challenging 3 school years impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff and students will Rise as a P.A.C.K. and Grow Every Day!