Welcome to Eastlake Middle School! My name is Easter Finley and I have the best job in the world – being your proud principal. As I begin my third year at ELM, I look back with amazement at how wonderful the Triton Community is. For the last 18 months, we have faced an historic challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic, and I believe that we have prevailed and have become more resilient. I am proud to have led you through this pandemic. I believe that history will reveal how strong and persistent we are as we move forward into the 2021-2022 school year.
As your principal, I have duty to ensure that as a community, we enact our mission “to provide a positive and safe school culture where each student is empowered to grow emotionally and develop academically leading to resiliency and life-long success.” While there were many negative effects of the pandemic on us, I believe the positive outcomes from the pandemic outshined the negatives; from teachers being stretched to learn new ways of teaching, to all us learning new technologies for learning and most importantly, understanding the importance of developing meaningful relationships between students and teachers.
Moving forward, I want to emphasize that we are at a crossroads in education where we cannot go back to the old norms of teaching and learning; rather, we must identify what worked well in the past and what worked excellently during the pandemic and create a new norm of teaching and learning. This new norm will help to strengthen our work on the Common Syllabus in our professional learning communities to ensure that each student has equitable access to learning regardless of teacher or classroom. Furthermore, it will guide our work on ensure that socio-emotional learning (SEL) becomes the centerpiece in the classroom as each teacher meaningfully integrates SEL into his/her classroom practices.
This year, we will be incorporating a school wide book study on restorative practices (RP) as we deepen our work beyond a pullout method of RP. The goal is to ensure that every staff member, including support staff, understands the importance of building relationships with our students by providing spaces to learn about each other so that significant connections are formed through active listening and healing from our traumas. We will be reading Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices by Marisol Quevedo Rerucha. I cannot wait to see how this study will have long-lasting impact in our community.
Finally, I want you to know that your children matter to me My staff and I will work diligently to ensure that they receive the best possible education we can offer. While our time with them is a short two years, I want them to leave ELM having the best experience that prepare and propel them to high school successfully.
Let us have an amazing 2021-2022 school year and remember to Be Kind ~ Be Awesome ~ Make the Right Choices.
Connectedness ~ Responsibility ~ Achiever ~ Learner ~ Belief