Not Only High School Principal, But Also a Teacher

Mrs. White of The Knightly News decided to invite Mr D for an interview for the ICS Faces. Mr Ditzenberger (Mr D) has been Principal of ICS High School for three years, before which he was a US History as well as Government teacher.

The interview, which took place in Mrs White’s classroom, started with an interrogative question: what compelled you to change the lockers to cubbies? “I had found whenever I took books out of lockers that maybe 20% to 30% of the space was being used, and that was just for girls – a lot of guys don’t use their lockers. So it was after careful, meticulous, thorough study that I changed the lockers,” said the Principal. He and Mr. White had talked about it, and they thought that the lockers that we had were too unnecessarily big. “We could have gotten you all bigger [lockers], but they were more expensive, and we also would have had to put lockers downstairs, and we were wanting to use that space for Mr. Moore to showcase our art department because we have some really awesome artists here,“ said Mr D. They want to make sure that our art department really gets the attention that it deserves. And having big lockers would not have allowed that. So we have “medium-sized lockers.”

When subsequently questioned about why he had wanted to segregate the classes by their age group as opposed to keeping them mixed, the High School Principal talked about promoting the idea of authentic assessment, “We want to give assignments and projects in authentic ways for the real world. The real world is not categorized neatly into classes; there is a lot of overlapping. Skills can be used in a variety of ways. Thus, the teachers are collaborating together to create interdisciplinary assignments. That way we can have authentic assessments. That’s one reason we have Chapel in the morning now – so that teachers can have their own PLC (Professional Learning Community) time.” ICS is also promoting, but not requiring, the idea of a 4 by 4 school – 4 years of the 4 core classes (English, Mathematics, Science and the Social Studies). There are reasons that the school does not require that, but Mr. D still likes the idea. “Also, we have new classes like ‘Discrete Math’ and ‘Conceptual Physics’ so that there can be a broader range of the 4 core classes for students to take,” Mr. D divulged.

“Why not keep them mixed?” The Knightly News pried further, to which Mr D responded, “The grades are mixed in certain classes but, to be honest, it’s really hard to schedule that in a school as small as this. For example, if a freshman took Modern World History, he wouldn’t be able to take freshman English. I’d love to mix the grades, but that would make scheduling too difficult.”

Next, The Knightly News moved on to the general questions. When asked about what he does as the principal, Mr D humorously remarked, “not much.” Everyone knows that’s far from the truth as he jokingly continues, “I respond to emails, confiscate stuff, act as the sweater [and uniform] police….” There is laughter when he adds in an undertone, “awkward.”

Incidentally, Mr D is not only the current high school principal, but also the AP Psychology teacher. He was a teacher before he became the principal and still enjoys teaching. “I miss the classroom, and that’s why I teach AP psych,” he says. Having the power to bully students (not that Mr D ever would, of course not) and being principal is not all fun and games; he explains, “you know, when you’re going around about policies and government regulations – it just weighs on us sometimes. And so getting out and interacting with students and seeing them learn is great.” Therefore, he likes hanging out with students during lunch and during class, as well as going into teacher classrooms and seeing “cool stuff”. “Cool stuff” would include elements like Mr.Stern’s words of wisdom, which Mr.D mentions later when asked about his favorite class to sit in on. “Mr. Stern’s classes are always interesting,” he concludes with a smile.

Mr D, through his years in ICS, has not only been a great principal, but also a dedicated teacher – not only a trusted advisor and mentor, but also a friend to students.

Comments

  1. Barbara Brosius says:

    You have some excellent writing skills. Not just conveying the facts. Thanks

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