A Note From the Principal
“High school is hard.” I have heard this statement from hundreds of students over my sixteen years in education. My response is always the same, “I certainly hope so. If it wasn’t hard, you wouldn’t need it.” The resounding question within this student’s statement is, what should hard mean? For the staff at Central, “hard” means challenging both socially and academically. Using the term challenging means that we truly believe that completing and excelling in high school is within the grasp of any student.
High school is socially challenging because students are faced with a myriad of issues they may have never had to face before, and each student is trying to find his or her own path through a truly confusing time. New responsibilities, freedoms, and situations are exciting, but knowing that choices made today could drastically affect the rest of their lives makes this time even more emotionally challenging.
Academically, my expectation is that every student is challenged every day. For some students, this is the first time they have felt overwhelmed with the workload. As our unprecedented growth in students challenging themselves by taking AP (Advanced Placement) or other higher level courses continues to grow, so does the number of students who feel they are unprepared for such a challenge. I want our students to feel overwhelmed from time to time and gain the tools to fight through these struggles when they are supported by families and teachers, instead of later in life when they may be alone and unprepared.
For some of these students, the first response to feeling overwhelmed is to want to give up and take an “easier” path. This path will not prepare them to excel in their futures, but continue to look for the easier path. When I speak to past graduates, regardless of what they are doing later in life, I try to ask the question, “What could Central have done to better prepare you?” Almost all students answer the same, “Make me take more, tougher classes.” This is a continual affirmation for the need to increase rigor in every classroom and push students to stretch themselves academically. If I am ever told that our classes or school are too hard, I believe the opposite is much worse.
How can you support the goal of increased rigor at Central? Push your students to take hard classes and challenge themselves (yes, especially their senior year); help them to advocate for themselves when they are struggling; don’t let them give up, but keep encouraging them that they can do it. If they hear the same message over and over, they will not just believe it and succeed, they will excel.
Lanc Sellden, Principal