Earlier this week, Johnson Elementary and Morehead Middle teachers ventured to their neighborhoods to share information about their campuses and learn more about their community.
The collaborative walkabout came on Monday’s staff development day and provided teacher with a unique and personal professional development lesson.
“Professional development is usually about learning and growing our mindset,” said principal Dr. Karla Montemayor. “Today, we’re growing our mindset out there in the community, making the walk, listening to parents, seeing their children’s faces in their homes. It is a self-reflection as to this, the community we serve.”
Johnson teachers climbed aboard a school bus headed for neighborhoods to tout the campus’ academic success, provide information about social emotional learning and even remind them about the new Charles Murphee School, which will replace Morehead and Johnson in the next couple years.
“We want to make sure that we hear from our parents. We hear from our community,” Montemayor said. “Our school has improved tremendously from the past two years academically. We want to make sure that are parents are aware of all the programs we have here to provide for their child.”
Across the way at Morehead, groups of teachers hopped in their cars and traveled to neighborhoods surrounding Rivera, Putnam and Western Hills elementary schools.
“This has been a great opportunity to show teachers where we’re moving into,” said IB coordinator Cesar Carmona, who organized the walkabout. “The old days of having a population guaranteed for us is changing and this has been motivating for our teachers to try new things and tweak their game to be more advantageous.”
The walk also confirmed what many already knew: the surrounding community is aging and most taxpayers no longer have students attending public schools.
“Those who didn’t have students but were still taxpayers wanted to know that their taxes were being used in a positive manner,” Carmona said. “The biggest concerns we heard was that Morehead was going away. We reminded them that the longstanding traditions of Morehead that’s been here since 1915 won’t be going away with the new Murphree school.”
Eighth grader Allison Perez joined with her National Junior Honor Society peers and administrators for the walk, sharing with the neighbors a students’ perspective on the campus she loves.
“I want people to know that Morehead is a great school and students go on to high school from here successfully,” the NJHS vice president said. “We have great teachers and staff and everyone cares about each other.”
Meeting with potential students and parents also gave Morehead teachers and administrators a chance to market the school’s exceptional educational opportunities – specifically as one of only a few area International Baccalaureate Middle Years campuses.
“The IB program is a very unique style of teaching and unique style for students to learn,” principal Dr. Armando Gallegos said. “It’s something students really enjoy. You’ll see a lot of student-led classrooms, a lot of collaborations among students and see students taking the lead in what’s happening in the classroom.”
The program empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The IB curriculum teaches students to be creative, critical and reflective thinkers.
“We want our students think outside the box and inquire about their learning,” Gallegos said. “That’s what makes our school unique and competitive among other campuses.”
Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD