It’s been a hectic summer for new KP High School Principal Lisa Oliveira . The former KP Middle School Principal has been busy putting together a schedule that is usually done in the spring and planning for a school year that will have less teachers but more students. While the school did lose a librarian and guidance counselor, Oliveira has been hard at work trying to fill those gaps.
Recently, the new KP principal sat down with Patch to talk about the new school year and the transition from being a middle school principal to a high school principal.
Patch: Is it safe to say that it’s been a busy summer?
Oliveira: It has been. I think the biggest challenge was in building the schedule and getting all the pieces together. Since typically that stuff happens in the spring and it didn’t happen.
Was that just because of the transition from the previous principal to you as the new principal?
I think that that coupled with the uncertainty of the budget there wen’t a lot of decisions that could be made in the spring so the decisions had to wait so when you don’t know what you have for staffing you can’t completely build the schedule. They had to wait to build the schedule and that’s what kinda made it a crazy summer for us.
There are going to be less teachers this year right?
We are coming in with less teachers than we had last year and we’re coming in with a higher enrollment. I want to say if I remember correctly we lost two to three teachers that have not come back. But what we didn’t get that we asked for was an extra history, english, math, and science to accommodate the large group coming in and we weren't able to add that.
So teachers may be teaching a little outside their field this year?
I think some of the teachers may be a little disappointed that they’re not teaching exactly what they thought they were teaching when they were leaving in the spring. No one is teaching outside of their certification area.I have a teacher that teaches retail marketing but instead of teaching five sections of that, he’s also a certified history teacher so he’ll be teaching four sections of retail marketing and one history and then I have a science teacher who’s use to teaching five sections of physical science but we needed him to teach one section of chemistry because he’s certified to teach in chemistry.
What is the new student learning center that is happening in the library?
We’re going to be calling it the academic student learning center and it’s one of the cases of making lemonade out of lemons. I’m actually kinda excited about it because our Student Success Leader Mr. Kip Lewis is going to be based in the library. He’s also runs our virtual high school program so the there’ll be an area in the library where kids will be working on virtual high school courses.
There'll be another area where students are receiving academic support and those are students who would struggle in regular education classes and just need a little additional coaching or support.
We are going to have the center open for kids to come in and use all the library materials because there will be a teacher on duty there. We’re not sure yet if students will be able to check materials out. Without a librarian you do not have access to a lot of the card catalogs and the more impressive library materials because you have to have a certified liberian to have access to that.
What else is new this year at the school?
A focus this year for is really trying to raising the bar for all kids. We’ve been talking about AP for all so in other words, making advance placement classes open for all students who want to experience that level of rigor even if they haven’t taken a honors class before but now they’re a junior or senior and they’re ready to embrace something like that. Not sure what it will do to our scores so that will be the interesting piece. I think it’s important for kids to have access to real rigorous course work and I think this will give it to them.
What is the difference between being the principal at a middle school and high school?
One of the huge differences I see is kids self advocating for themselves and it’s been really a pleasure to work with them. Because the schedules were kind of completed late, a lot of the kids who needed schedule chances who weren't able to get an appointment with guidance had been emailing me, asking me if this class was available or if they could move this class here so the kids here are really active in self advocating for themselves. They’re ready to participate, they’re ready to engage in more than just come to class and sit down.