On Wednesday, October 15, I had the opportunity to participate in the Partners in Education, Principal for a Day. I was assigned to Whitley Elementary School in Prichard. I arrived before 8 a.m. so I could watch the children arrive for school.
I met Ms. JaaDaa Holcombe, who is the real principal for Whitley Elementary. She, with a number of other teachers and a parent, were getting ready to start breakfast. The children were seated in the floor of the gym by grade, waiting for the kitchen staff to serve them breakfast. My own recollection of meal times in elementary school were more of a noisy scramble. But this was quiet, well organized, and orderly. We assisted children get to their tables and eat their breakfast so they could scurry on to their classrooms.
Ms. Holcombe finds it a privilege to be the Principal of Whitley Elementary. Her mother worked at Whitley and was a well known educator in the Prichard community. Ms. Holcombe grew up in the Prichard community. Prichard is a neighborhood school, drawing students from the surrounding area. It was one of the schools in the Mobile School District that could have been closed. But with a great deal of community support it remains open.
During the morning, between students who were sent to the office, Ms. Holcombe and I toured the various classrooms. The students were all engaged in learning. There were calculators, long division, reading and recess. I was amazed at how quiet and calm that many children could be. The school was a testament to the hard work and caring of those who work there.
If you have the opportunity to be involved in your local school district I would encourage you to do so.