Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Jackets Are Raising Expectations
Forest Hills High School kicked off its new school year with an attitude focused on improvement and success for all students and staff. “Raising Expectations” is the theme at Forest Hills this year. What has been good can be better, and doing just enough to get by is not an acceptable goal anymore.
Goal setting is the key. For faculty members, it began in the workdays before the students started. Each staff member set a SMART goal for the new school year. (S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.)
Teachers then filled out action plans to answer the question “What will you do to reach your goal?” and recorded the names of people who can help them reach it. When they were finished, they were asked to share their goals with their peers making them more accountable and making sure that the staff encourages each other. As Mr. Adrien Porter, Assistant Principal, reminded the staff in an email, “Our motto this year is ‘Raising Expectations,’ and in order to do that we must raise our efforts to help our students and help each other!”
In his morning announcements on the first day of school, Dr. Kevin Plue, FHHS Principal, introduced the theme for the year and explained to students the importance of striving for more, of raising their expectations. He told them that while a D might be passing, when it comes to reaching their goals, especially getting into college, “D’s aren’t good enough! And even those who are doing very well can always do better.”
In their classes, teachers are asking their students to write SMART goals, too. Algebra I teacher, Mrs. Kim McKinney, enjoyed working with her classes on setting goals. She said that it was a really good activity and that her students put a lot of thought into their goals. Having a specific goal, some steps for reaching it, and a list of a few people who can help goes a long way toward building expectations beyond just passing a course. Students who share their goals with each other or their teachers gain a support system. Teachers are posting their own goals in the classroom in many cases, knowing full well that their students will hold them accountable. Setting that example for students is what good teachers do.
Students are definitely thinking about goals now. Some are immediate, and some go well beyond this school year. Junior Roger Ponds said that he thinks that Dr. Plue is pushing for more because “he’s trying to help people succeed by getting accepted at a good college.” Ponds’ personal goal is to raise his GPA.
When asked about the whole idea of raising expectations as a theme at Forest Hills, Mina Villalobos said, “I think it’s a good idea, because when Dr. Plue was stricter about attendance, people saw that he was serious so they cracked down. I think people will try harder when they see that they have to.” Regarding her goal, she said, “Since this is hopefully my last year, I want to work hard and be able to graduate and show people I can do it.”
Jesse Price, a transfer from South Point in Pageland, said, “I think it will raise people’s grades and GPA’s. I think people will do more. They’re expecting more than a D out of you.” He said that his goal is to “do better than I did last year at my other school.” He wants “to graduate and do well,” but not just for himself. He says, “I want to make our name, the Price name, look good – for my family.”
Written by: Melissa Howell
Posted: Aug 29, 2012 by Melissa Howell