As students transition into middle school, they discover how to make new connections and friends. Having an inviting, supportive environment that prompts in-depth learning, provides students with the skills, and confidence they need to become successful.
Students at Trail Ridge Middle School have a unique opportunity that allows them to build a strong and lasting relationship with their school principal.
This year marks the second year that Eddie Cloke, Principal of Trail Ridge Middle School has set up individual meetings with every student to help them engage in the process of their school day, and to put an emphasis on the importance of their personal academic growth.
“When the idea came to mind, I knew I wanted our students to focus on wanting to take school seriously, focus on their grades, and doing their best,” shared Cloke. “I also understood that some students needed to build a personal connection to Trail Ridge.”
During these face-to-face meetings, Cloke’s goals and hopes are to build a relationship with students, so they know that they have trusted adults at school who care about them and their success. “I want to remind them about the importance of their education, we talk about their current grades, assessment data, and other aspects that may be pertinent to them,” stated Cloke.
Having an open line of communication between himself and the students is a main focus of these meetings. “Students make it a point to tell me how they are progressing,” shared Cloke. “They share how they have raised a grade in a certain class, or are working hard to meet a score in iReady, and sometimes they just want to talk about their club or team sport.”
The outcome of these meetings has been beneficial in creating relationships for students like eighth grader Fernando Gurrola, who shares that being able to meet with his principal has helped build trust. “I feel a lot more comfortable talking to him if I ever need anything, we have good conversations, and the meetings help me feel better about what I’m doing,” said Fernando.
Two other important aspects of these meetings are to talk to students about their academic achievement and school engagement. After students determine and write down their goals, students are asked to share them with their parents and have them sign off on them, allowing the partnership between parents and school administrators to keep growing. This encourages students to continue moving forward towards their academic growth.
Good relationships rely on good communication. Seventh grader Delaney Daniels has found these meetings beneficial. “The one-on-one meetings have helped me work harder to reach my goals – it’s helpful to know that my principal supports the goals that I have chosen for myself.”
For Cloke, these meetings have taught him that building relationships with his students is one of the most important things he does in his role. “The job we do as educators is so much about building relationships,” shared Cloke. “My hope is that these meetings are the catalyst for students to build strong connections with the outstanding adults we have in the building – I want them to know that we see them as individuals and to encourage them to do their very best as they make their journey through middle school.”