Forgive the vanity, but this blog is an endeavor to share my views and perspectives on 21st century teaching and learning, and about leadership on these matters at St. Gregory, and this article by the school newspaper’s Editor Adam Senior (a 12th grade St. Gregory students) offers an additional, and alternative, view to my leadership.
Meet Mr. Martin
As our new Head of School Mr. Martin makes himself comfortable here at St. Gregory, I thought that it would be appropriate to give him the opportunity to share with me a little bit about himself and his goals here as our new headmaster. Because other than Mr. Martin’s affection for U2, there is still probably a lot that you may not know, and as I discovered, Mr. Martin has a lot he wishes to accomplish at our school.
Mr. Martin began his career as a high school teacher of government and history in Berkley, California. After a few years, he became a Dean of Students-type figure, similar to Mr. Roberts. After eight years at the school, he was chosen to become the head of school, the only head after the founder. He pushed to assimilate the school with others around the nation and did a lot to strengthen its finances, but after eleven years he felt it was time to join the ranks of accredited schools that were part of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), schools like St. Gregory.
Mr. Martin longed to be involved with a high school, but digressed slightly when he ended up taking a job at K-8 school that lasted eight years. Even though he grew quite attached to the school, he continued to miss high school. After this stint, he decided to search for a school that he really wanted to be a part of: a school of a good size, with space to grow, good technology and science programs, and a school where the “board of trustees and the faculty in different ways that were tangible and real, were forward looking, open to, interested in, [and] serious in innovation… this school [St. Gregory] was demonstrably more forward looking than most, ” he said.
Now that Mr. Martin is here, there is a lot he wishes to accomplish. A few of the smaller changes are the new shirt policy, robotics club, weekly late starts, introducing more technology, and improving technological capabilities on campus. Two of his implementations resonate above the rest.
The first of these is a new advisory program that he would like to see begin either next year, or the year after. This program would essentially be built off homeroom, which most high schools have already gotten rid of, and make the homeroom teacher a four-year advisor for his or her students. The role of advisor would be essentially one of a confidant and a counselor-type figure, but geared towards the student’s academic performance at the school, “If a parent is worried about their kid’s grades, they would probably call the advisor first.”
Mr. Martin’s second implementation is the CRWA test, which stands for college and work readiness assessment; “they give you about ten or fifteen documents to solve one problem… [the test judges] your ability not to know a bunch of vocabulary words, but really think critically about information you’re presented. We’re the first high school in Arizona [to be using this test]. I’m really excited about it.” The CRWA focuses more on the capacity of students to think both analytically and critically, which is a major focus at our school. The feedback from students that have already taken it seems to be quite positive, and a non-standardized test is surely going to be refreshing for upperclassman. The test, when finally implemented, will be given out to both freshman and seniors.
Mr. Martin seems to have to many interesting ideas for our school, and although we won’t fully be able to gauge their success until they are finally implemented, they seem to be coming from good intentions. His cutting-edge perspective on education seems promising, and it is quite apparent that Mr. Martin is devoted to forward thinking and a high standard for education. More of his ideas and philosophy are reflected in his blog that can be found at either 21k12blog.net, or accessed through the St. Gregory School website. Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to see what this year and years to come hold for the students here.