Firm on standards
Principal of Alexandra School Jeff Broomes announced this afternoon that no one would stop him from ensuring the welfare of his students, despite disagreements between him and some teaching staff.
Delivering his report during the school’s awards ceremony, Broomes told a packed hall of parents that while Alexandra had been projected into the limelight, where all of its failings were seen as sins, this would not stop him from putting the students’ interest first.
“This will not deter me from encouraging our children to work through these failings with skill, commitment and a sense of decency, to the ultimate successes that await them,” asserted the principal.
“All of our missteps are seen as crimes with the only response being that as attempts at embarrassment and punishment. That is not our role, and we will not be prevented from directing our children into the realm of seeking to correct and improve, rather than seeking to punish and embarrass,” he declared.
“All of our disagreements are seen as war with inflexible battle lines drawn with a focus on anger and destruction. This will never be the message that I send to our children.”
He argued that the children must see the disagreements as opportunities for analysis and as times for accepting and appreciating differences that ultimately made the school, country and world, that much better.
“The children of Alexandra,” noted the principal, “should never accept that they are the unfortunate ones to be attending this school at this time. They know better.”
Broomes suggested that the students were the ones who would continue to build on the outstanding legacy of that school and take it into the future as a preferred educational institution of achievement and of purpose. He submitted that Alexandra was an educational institution of professional structures which were focused and responsive to the community, the country and wider world.
“No one will be allowed to stop that from being our driving mission and our work that is amply expressed in our theme for this year: Character, Integrity, Service — Beyond Academics to a Successful Future.
Broomes also declared a strong position on how he intended to lead the school.
“Some may expect me as a school leader to accept and follow the traditional school curriculum because it is well known and easily facilitates teaching. I cannot do that, and I will not do that. Contemporary society is defined by change and constant change.”
He noted, too, that he could not have allowed the strategic plan which the Minister of Education had requested secondary schools to develop, to suffer the usual fate of being covered with dust.
“I could not do that, and I would not do that. Hence, we took the next step which, coincidentally, is also the hardest step. We structured a coordinated implementation approach,” the principal pointed out.
Broomes said this action called for vision, character, courage, integrity and a willingness to make hard, bold decisions that would always displease some.
“Some may want me as school leader to encourage my teachers to focus on the well read and known content knowledge as well as the smooth delivery of facts and ideas, as the way to development our students. I cannot do that, and I will not do that,” he insisted.
“I believe instead, and there was clear manifestation over the past year, that our children must be creative, must question all that they are exposed to, and must seek to lead, rather than to simply accept and follow,” Broomes reasoned. (EJ)†††