Trail Blazers Impact Portland Schools As Principals For A Day
By sarahhecht Posted in: chrisdudley
Ever involved in the community, three high-level members of the Portland Trail Blazers organization participated in the Portland Schools Foundation Principal for Almost a Day program on Thursday. Alumni Ambassador Chris Dudley and VP of Communications and Community Relations Traci Rose acted as principals and Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah hosted the luncheon honoring the partnership between schools and the community.
Developed by the Portland Schools Foundation, the Principal for Almost a Day (PFAD) program sets its sights on bringing awareness to the successes and struggles of schools in the Portland metro area. And what better way enlighten than to experience.
Over 100 community leaders assumed the ever-important role of school principal. They attended planning meetings, witnessed student/teacher interaction and visited classrooms during their day in the trenches. Seeing teachers at work, the enthusiasm of the students and standing in the crumbling buildings hammered home the message: Portland schools need advocates.
“I think it’s very important for people out in the community to be able to come in and do the principal for a day just to get the feel of boots on the ground. See what is actually happening inside the building,” said Dudley who spent his morning as a principal at Jefferson High School in northeast Portland.
A school known for struggles, Jefferson has recently taken great strides toward improving the lives and education of its more than 400 students. In trail blazing fashion the school established an innovative relationship with the nearby Cascade Campus of Portland Community College. The budding “Middle College” allows Jefferson students to attend classes on the PCC campus and earn college credit while still in high school. Full participants in the program graduate with a high school diploma and can be just classes away from an Associates Degree.
The Middle College—which boasts an 87% success rate since the fall of 2007—aims at bridging the gap between high school and college and encourages the students at Jefferson to pursue higher education.
Eager to see the recent strides taken to improve Jefferson and its students, Dudley was greatly appreciative of the chance to participate in PFAD. “This was great for me to see this in action, to see the cooperation here at Jefferson, a school that has had some struggles over the years, how they’re turning the corner, how they’re working together with PCC, that relationship and what they’re putting in place here.”
Following a morning on the ground the principals for a day and their school principal partners returned to the Rose Garden to discuss the impact of their visits. After collaborating on a variety of topics and issues facing the schools the PFAD participants will take their new knowledge and experience as they rally to improve the community.
Rose, who spent the morning as principal at Beaumont Middle School gracefully equated the need to improve the schools to Portland culture. “We call it the trail blazing spirit at our office, but it really is a Portland thing,” Rose said. “We want to be the best and the first and the coolest and the hippest and I think everyone is starting to realize that unless we do this together our schools aren’t going to get where we need them to be.”
With this year’s Principal for a Day program complete and community leaders armed with knowledge its time to rally support, innovate and improve the future for the upcoming leaders of Rip City.
Check out the photo gallery of Principal Chris Dudley in action.