This week I spent the day in Landmark middle school shadowing the principal as part of Duval County’s Leadership Exchange Program. I want to thank Duval County Public Schools for the opportunity, time and insights.
It was an interesting and hectic experience following him around during the arrival of students, channeling them to classrooms, meeting with administrators, supervising the cafeteria during lunch time, reviewing class assessments in math and literature, observing and evaluating a teacher and more. I learned a lot and now value more the effort that they are doing in middle school. After my visit, we had a debriefing with the superintendent of schools where we shared our experience and ideas to collaborate in secondary education.
As an university professor, Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts Troop 182, and past Course Director of the BSA National Youth Leadership Training I have found out that middle school is in the crossroad to the educational future of kids. They experience many changes during those adolescence years and they need the mentoring and support, not only of dedicated teachers, but also from their parents, relatives, and other role mode adults like coaches, church leaders, youth group leaders, band leaders, and scout leaders among others.
They need help to decide what road are they going to pursue in high school to prepare them for one the the tough decisions in life: what career and where to go to college. It is important to guide them to keep the focus on their personal vision and priorities. I believe that we need to: teach them basic life management skills and empower with communications skills to even train their parents to understand the importance of helping them to pass this middle school crossroad. They have to be prepared for college academic excellence and a successful and happy life journey. I am working on the ideas and I am available to be speaker in any workshop or event to parents and students or professional development events to faculty to inspire all of them to take more proactive actions, especially with parents. Visit our Family Leaders website for additional resources.
I am preparing a report titled “Middle school crossroad: be prepared for college academic excellence and beyond” which I will send for presentation at the upcoming learning and teaching conference. Once I have the draft with specific ideas and actions, I will send it to Duval County School Board.