Throughout my years as a principal at Westlake High School and West Ridge Middle School, I have consistently written about the importance of feedback from our parents and community. As I have explained, we value feedback to evaluate how we are doing as a campus. Feedback is crucial to growth of any organization. Over the last weekend, we received some feedback about our musical, Anything Goes. The feedback centered on concerns about the impact of two characters that were viewed as culturally insensitive by some members of our Asian community. While the feedback came through electronic means by email and social media, we made arrangements to meet with a community member and dialogue about their concerns.
The meeting was a productive one in which both sides listened to each other to understand perspectives. Listening, in my opinion, is an active opportunity to learn, reflect and make decisions. We understand and acknowledge that we could have better helped communicate to our community the context of the historical piece as not to endorse stereotypes while also discussing the historical context of the setting with our students. This feedback will only serve to help our choir directors and all music programs grow. At its best, all art forms lead the creator, participants and the audience to think, feel and grow. Westlake High School continues to grow as a leader in an inclusive community where all students can excel in all programs as seen by the wide range of students who performed over the weekend. Our musical production was superb due to our amazing students and directors, and this feedback will only serve to make us even stronger.
One of our major daily goals is to provide the best experience for our students while also meeting all of our community expectations of excellence. We appreciate the trust placed in us to make sure we meet our shared commitments and to be responsive when feedback is shared with our campus.
The picture above is taken of the new Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon that may be up and running today. The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) is located on on Westbank Drive between the Ninth Grade Center Building and our TLC and Tennis-Softball Lot. This PHB is similar to the one by Hill Country Middle School and on Lake Austin Drive by Hula Hut and Mozart’s. I made an announcement to our students about the possibility of it running today as they leave campus. We followed up with an email to each student with instructions this afternoon on how to safely navigate this new PHB. We have attached the same instructions as part of the newsletter. Mr. P, one our security staff, will continue to work this area to ensure the safest conditions during the adjustment period.
We are happy to report that we had a normal and successful day at WHS after the tragedy in Florida. I addressed the students at the beginning of the day to make them aware of the resources available to them today. A main part of the message was our ability as a campus to recognize and report issues. Our students do an amazing job of protecting this campus through reporting concerns that happen on campus and off campus. This mature response can indicate a healthy school culture where students know they will be listened to and have a response.
We hope you have a wonderful weekend. As part of the snow and ice days, this is a reminder that we do indeed have classes on Monday.
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections