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Monday, May 2, 2016

Principal strives for an 'A' school

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ernie Simpson, the new principal at Northview High School, spoke with Brazil's Rotary Club on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Renaissance Reception Hall downtown. [Order this photo]
Ernie Simpson, the new principal at Northview High School, spoke at the Brazil Rotary Club's weekly meeting at the Renaissance building on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at noon.

Simpson spoke about his vision for Northview, immediately stating that his "singular purpose is to move Northview to be an 'A' school." Simpson was referring to the grades given to public schools based on their performance and evaluations.

"Every school has this vision to be an 'A' school," Simpson said, "but what's more important to me is having a blueprint for how we're going to get there."

Simpson continued by saying school programs are not the answer to getting Northview, or any school, a grade of A.

"We put a tremendous emphasis on programs," Simpson said. "Programs are not the answer, nor are they the problem."

Simpson said his main focus at Northview is people.

"We're going to be entirely focused on people ---- teachers, students, human beings," Simpson said. "First and foremost, we're going to take care of people."

Simpson said another of his main priorities is to improve teachers' attitudes and morale.

"We talk about attitude, character and morale daily with our teachers and with our students," Simpson said.

Simpson hopes that by working on attitude and morale with teachers, he will give them the ability to work with difficult students in a more practical way. He wants teachers to be able to help a student identify what they did wrong, what they could have done instead and what they can do to fix their problem.

Simpson emphasized that they won't see improvement at Northview if they don't know how to work through problems. Simpson said he wants to work on "forecasting problems and anticipating adversity" in students. Changes in public education, more specifically mandated teacher evaluation models, are putting unwarranted pressure on teachers to perform well, Simpson noted.

"Right now if you were to walk through our halls, you'll see teachers are stressed out," Simpson said. "That's why one of my main concerns is boosting morale, because a happy teacher that feels good about coming to work is going to do a better job at student instruction."

Simpson works on improving morale by conducting weekly team-building exercises among faculty, offering small gifts for staff birthdays and conducting a book study on Andy Andrews' book "The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success."

Simpson went on to compliment Northview on some of their successful achievements thus far, including high math scores, a great band program, good athletic teams and more.

"Our chief priority is to teach students how to be better human beings," Simpson said, "and I feel very positive about the way things are going."

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