School starts in Hayden with triple the number of principals
Administrators hope new configuration will allow more focus on various grade levels
Students returned to the halls of Hayden Valley School on Monday, Aug 22., kicking off the first school year in recent memory where the district will have three principals.
Superintendent Christy Sinner said for about the last 15 years, Hayden has had an elementary and secondary school principal, with the latter overseeing students from sixth to 12th grade.
Last year there was just one principal for the whole building. This year’s new approach hopes to put a stronger focus on students at each grade level.
“With this new role, we have split out the sixth to eighth (grade students) into the middle school so they will get more attention,” said Vicki Blomquist, who took over as middle school principal this year. “Everything will be catered to them and their grade level and their needs rather than lumping them in six to 12.”
Last year Steve McDonald was given the task of being principal for the whole school from prekindergarten to 12th grade. He said the goal this year is to bring a “tight-knit vibe” back to the high school. The new configuration allows him to spend more time with fewer students, he said.
“Now that we have three focused principals, I think I’m able to dedicate more time in a more efficient manner with a smaller population,” said McDonald, who is now the high school principal. “I’m looking forward to having more of a focused approach.”
Staffing is in a better position in general than it was at the start of last school year with only a few vacant positions. Some of those openings are in music, paraprofessional help and an interventionist. A social worker position in the district is also open to start the year, just as it was all of last school year because the district had few applicants.
At the middle school level, Blomquist said a couple retired teachers have come back to teach elective classes, and the district has a couple new people on staff as well.
“We have all of our core teachers,” Blomquist said. “We are really lucky to have a full staff this fall.”
While high school students had a quick assembly to start the day on Monday, Blomquist led a longer middle school assembly that was a mixture of games and school policy review.
One of the new policies for students in the district this year is the dress code, a policy that students advocated to relax last year and even brought up with the school board during public comment.
Tessa Booco, student council president at Hayden High School this year, said that was student council’s initiative last year. She plans on coming up with something new to work on this year, in addition to promoting more school spirit.
“My personal goal is to have another big thing that we try to fix,” Booco said. “If every year we have a big thing to change and work towards, it just slowly makes our school better.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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