On a recent visit to Dallas, I met with Roy Watts, Principal of Life Oak Cliff Secondary (LSOC) to join the Association of American Educators (AAE) in congratulating an 8th grade teacher, Ms. Collins, with a scholarship award to attend the 8th Grade Summit, a training hosted by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Ms. Collins applied for a grant to fund her attendance at a seminar focusing on youth leadership development, explaining, “As an educator, I spend at least seven hours each day with my students. That time is mainly for academic instruction, but it is also an opportunity to teach and invest characteristics that will empower them as positive, influential, and supportive members of society. My attendance at this event will greatly equip me to further my work as a “life” educator by providing me with information, tips, and resources that will enable me to train my students for life beyond the classroom and for other students at my school who are under my influence.”
LSOC has not only one award-winning teacher, but two this school year! TCSA’s Teacher of the Year award also went to LSOC teacher, Dr. Alissa Russell.
When asked about what it means to foster a culture of teacher leaders on his campus, Principal Watts said, “When hired as the principal at Life Oak Cliff Secondary (LSOC), the first statement I heard about the campus was LSOC is an oasis. I pondered this fact and decided to look up the term oasis. An oasis can defined as a fertile spot in a desert. There is no better description of Life School Oak Cliff. The school’s culture is one of family and community. The teachers have a vested interest in the current and future success of their students. As evidenced by our 100 percent graduation rate and college acceptance. Parents are truly partners in the educational process and support the campus and district vision. Because of these tightly aligned relationships that are student-centered, it is my responsibility as principal to allow teachers the autonomy they need to influence academic and social behaviors. I believe it is this freedom within district guidelines; along with involving teachers in campus decision making, is what allows both our teachers and students to flourish and become leaders in their own right. At Life School we have a very profound motto. It’s not just school, it’s life!”
Thank you, Principal Watts, Dr. Russell, and Ms. Collins for educating our students and doing the charter movement proud!