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Parkland High School Confidential: A way for Mr. Russell to share about the culture of Parkland

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Parkland High School Confidential: A way for Mr. Russell to share about the culture of Parkland
by Kal Russell - Friday, 24 September 2021, 2:12 PM

Parkland High School Confidential: Jump-Start Your Learning 

My first two weeks as the Principal of Parkland Secondary have flown by in a blink of an eye, and I now finally have a few minutes to stop and reflect. During this time, I have had several parents ask if I will continue to write my school stories. At North Saanich and Sidney, this was my way of sharing about the school culture.   

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I would find anything to write about now that I am working with young adults and not cute little kids or forgetful middle school students, but I will try. I can't ask students to have a growth mindset and try new things if I am unwilling to step out of my comfort zone. So welcome to my first Parkland High School Confidential.  

My first two weeks at Parkland have been busy with start-up meetings, assemblies, Meet-the-Teacher Night and even a school barbeque. Students have been focusing on catching up with friends, timetable changes and meeting their new teachers. For me, I had to get used to new hallways and routines. Thankfully, all the student's faces are friendly, and the majority of them are familiar. I have such a rare opportunity to come to Parkland and work with students I have known in middle and elementary school. I feel very fortunate.  

I made it through the first Thursday and the first full day of classes before my radio went off needing my help. I was sitting at my desks looking at some schedules when Mr. Earnshaw's voice came through the radio asking for help in the student parking lot. "Hey, Mr. Russell, we need your help out in the student's parking lot." So much for getting through the first day, let alone the year, without a problem from the parking lot. Does anything good ever happen in the school parking lot?  

As I got up to get to the radio sitting in the recharger across the office, I imagined all that could go wrong in the parking lot. Halfway across the room, he must have re-engaged his radio because I could hear his voice say to someone, "his is beat-up, so he just might have a...."  

When I heard "beat up," my mind when onto autopilot. I filled in the rest of Mr. Earnshaw's incomplete sentence with 'concussion' and then 'contusion.'  

"Everything Ok, Mr. Earnshaw?" I said hurriedly over the radio.  

"I am just out here in the parking lot with a couple of students, and we are wondering if you have a pair of jumper cables in your vehicle?" Mr. Earnshaw continued casually while my heart rate started to return to normal.

Now I don't have a Pink Cadillac or a Little Red Corvette; heck, I can't even drive 55 to work because I live so close I don't have to go on the highway to get to school. But just because I have a 2002 vehicle with a loose bumper and maybe a little beat up, it doesn't mean I need jumper cables in my car.  

So I replied, "Of course I do. I will be right out."  

It has been a great start for me at Parkland. I realized that my job still is to support students and staff to optimize the students' learning experiences at my school. It doesn't matter if students need a little extra support learning how to read or how to jump off the swings in elementary school, a little push to try a new activity or jump into some new friendships in middle school or a push to get to class on time or a jump-start of their car so they can get to work after school. My job is to find ways to be supportive and helpful.  

I already knew before this year started that working with students in the North Zone of Saanich schools is special. Two weeks at Parkland has reinforced that belief even more and confirmed it to be true even at secondary school.

At Parkland, the staff doesn't care if you get to school on a scooter, or a bike, or a bus, or in a Tesla, or even a beat-up Highlander. If you get to school, we will be there to help you be successful.  

So let us help you jump-start your learning by being at school, and if necessary, we will even help you jump-start your car.

Panther Pride! You just don't get it by signing up for school. You have to earn it one day at a time. The first step is showing up every day! I promise you it will be worth the effort.  

Go Panthers!