Superintendent has great visit with Galena Grizzlies

Principal Tom Brown, administrative team, counselors, support staff, and students welcomed me to Galena High School. I appreciated the warm welcome and having students included in our meeting. Galena HS prides itself on having a friendly atmosphere with lots of school spirit. Students Ben and Stephanie, both seniors who spent 4 years at Galena, talked to me about their experiences at Galena HS and their plans after graduation. Both were involved in school activities and love being a Grizzly. These students will both be moving on in different directions. I am proud of them and know they will enjoy the next chapter on their journey.

During our time together, the administrative team, counselors, and teachers shared questions and concerns with me about a variety of topics. We talked about activity at the legislative level that has impacted them and their students. We talked about District initiatives that support students and how important this is. They were able to share details that will help us move toward solutions that will help students throughout the District. This feedback was truly valuable.

In addition, I learned about their team effort centered around building school culture, focus on student growth, the CTE programs at the school that are preparing students for life and careers, and the dedication of all staff members. Principal Brown talked about how his teachers are supporting students every day and how proud he is. They are all working to support students on their journey to graduation and preparation for life beyond high school. I enjoyed hearing about the high standards they set for themselves and their students.

I always have fun visiting with Kim Zunino and her CLS students. During my visit, they were on a field trip to experience community-based activities. I still toured their classroom to see the set-up they have to support student independence. I love the home setting that provides the students with a chance to learn how to work in the kitchen, at the store, and in their own homes.

The delicious smell in Linda Weise’s foods class drew us to her room. The students were in all phases of preparing and eating baked apples with oatmeal. I asked several students if they cook at home and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they do. In fact, they use a lot of the recipes from class when they cook at home. It is wonderful that their teacher is providing resources for them to use in and out of the classroom.

In the STEM Lab classes, most students were taking AP exams. The students were making models and prepping them for the 3-D printer. The STEM Lab has several types of 3-D printers and the students showed me how they work and I was able to see their work being constructed. The process time varies but is usually a few hours. The process is amazing. I also saw the construction lab and projects that the students have constructed this year. The CTE classes at Galena are very busy and active.

Galena High School offered a new class this year, digital photography. The students in Spencer Ennis’ class were practicing their techniques on computers. The students were creating 3-D photographs. Their work was remarkable and they are really very adept. The students I spoke with were having fun and really enjoying the class.

Students in Leah Berner’s algebra class were working on an activity sheet. They were finding values and graphing the solutions. I spoke with Ms. Berner and she told me about the rigorous curriculum that the students were working on. When I talked to the student groups, they confirmed her statement and were proud of their successful mastery of the lesson.

I was joined by a group of freshmen students for my luncheon. I started out by asking them to raise their hands if they have encountered a struggle in high school. I explained how we all have struggles that we deal with and how important it is to overcome and persevere so that they can get the finish line and get their high school diploma. We talked about the options that will be available to them with a high school diploma and how they will need this to achieve their goals. We also talked about how many supports there are at Galena HS and how every student needs to make sure there is an adult at the school that they can count on to help them as they make this journey through high school. The students asked me a lot of great questions. They asked about adding courses at their school, District budgeting issues, and how high school curriculum is determined. They told me what they like best about being high school students and how many opportunities there are for them to get involved at school. It is always wonderful to talk with small groups of students to learn what is important to them.

My thanks to Principal Brown, the staff and teachers, and all the students at Galena HS for making my visit so memorable. My kudos to all of you for your hard work and efforts to achieve success. Go Grizzlies!