Middle School Retreat Aims to Create a Peer Support Network for Principals

Campus leaders encouraged to use each other as resources, in addition to their SIOs and CSO

July 06, 2011

HISD middle-school principals met for two days in June to review and reflect on the past year, and to refocus and recharge their batteries for the upcoming year.

The two-day “Middle School Summer Retreat” was held at the Houston Federal Reserve Bank and featured several motivational speakers and breakout sessions on increasing academic rigor, providing more emphasis on the whole child, and developing effective internal and external communication.

“This conference gave us an opportunity to share some of the things that we have experienced in terms of what’s working, what needs improvement, and what we need help with,” said Dowling Middle School Principal Kenneth Davis.

In addition, the retreat focused on having the nearly 40 middle school leaders create a network of internal support for the upcoming school year.

“We want them to know that the district is committed to them and that they can always turn to their school improvement officer and to me for guidance,” said Chief Middle Schools Officer Dallas Dance. “However, we also want them to know that they can turn to each other. Sometimes the best advice comes from someone who has gone through or is going through the same thing.”

Principals at the retreat agreed that turning to each other for support is an important tool towards creating a spirit of teamwork. “We are all in this together, and this is an incredible group of principals who are all committed to the same purpose—which is to do the best for our students,” said Pershing Middle School Principal Robin Lowe.

Dowling Principal Kenneth Davis echoed that sentiment. “When you experience a feeling of support, then you can give that same support back to your campus, your teachers, and ultimately, your students.”