This week, we welcome our students back for the start of the 2016-2017 school-year. As has become custom, we begin by announcing our theme for the year – a new tradition that will continue for decades on end. If you recall, my tenure as principal of Banneker High School began one year ago by declaring, “It’s A New Day”. In so doing, the goal was to transmit a new message; to express that Banneker High School was moving in a new direction fueled by the desire to create an improved school experience for our students. Although that work continues, this year, we are squarely focused on reclaiming the pride that has long defined our school community.
Over the past several months, I have enjoyed the privilege of meeting dozens of BHS alumni – all of whom have delighted me with wondrous stories about a school that they recall was unified by the goal of pushing students to become their personal bests. They talked about a time when being a student at Banneker was a part of their personal identities, not just the place where they were assigned to attend school. These proud alums spoke about caring teachers who inexhaustibly challenged them, parents who were dedicated and engaged, and students who positively represented BHS through their collective pursuits of excellence.
Having been inspired by these conversations, I’ve been moved to dedicate the 2016-2017 school-year to reclaiming that which has so clearly defined the Banneker High School community since its inception – our school pride. As we begin our 28th year, I declare that “The PRIDE Is Back” at Banneker High School! More appropriately, each letter in the word “pride” also corresponds with our recently articulated core values: Perseverance; Respect; Discipline; Integrity; and Excellence!
Joining me this year are several new additions to our team – each coming from unique and impressive backgrounds. For example, Mr. Shadeed Abdul-Salaam comes to Banneker having previously worked as a public health chemist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Mr. Abdul-Salaam earned his Bachelor’s degree as double major in Biology and Chemistry from Morehouse College. He is also the holder of a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Emory University. Even more, Mr. Abdul- Salaam is a 2015 Woodrow Wilson National Teacher Fellow.
Complimenting Mr. Abdul-Salaam are veterans like long time math teacher Ms. Yolanda Goggins. Ms. Goggins, who will be starting her 23rd year at Banneker, returns in a slightly new role. She will now be serving as an Expanded Impact Teacher and teacher mentor – a new role thoughtfully created through our partnership with the school reform non-profit organization, Public Impact.
Ms. Goggins, Mr. Abdul-Salaam, and many others represent an intellectual revival of sorts at Banneker High School. Together, they will help to reclaim the pride of our beloved school by leveraging their experience and expertise to set help set the tone for elevating the professional practice of the adults within our building.
In just a short period of time, we’ve come a very long way. With you, we can travels miles further, and quicker. For the sake of our students, we must. As we prepare to get started, I enthusiastically invite your support. Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year.
The Pride is Back!