WINSLOW, Ariz. - The Navajo-Hopi Observer recently sat down with Winslow High School Principal Chris Gilmore to talk about his job at the high school.
How long have you been principal at Winslow High School?
This will be my sixth year. Sixteen years in the district. One year as assistant principal, couple years as a student advisor and some years as a history teacher.
What do you like best about your job?
The kids. Seeing how we can have the kids make a successful leap into the secondary level of public school. Last year our graduating class acquired $1.4 million in scholarships. Seeing that level of success is a very gratifying component of my job. We had an 86 percent graduation rate and 84 percent graduation rate of Native Americans.
Do you have trouble keeping up with the educational demands from the federal government?
This year we are going to Common Core which supports critical thinking in students. The assessment of this program, determining its effectiveness, is still not well defined and is being developed. Every student (K-12) will be required to take their tests on a computer and we don't know at this time how we will get enough computers for all students.
How do you get all of your school employees to be so unfailingly polite?
I guess that's what has kept me here for 16 years now, an atmosphere of "family". Nearly half of our faculty graduated from Winslow High School and they have come back, understanding that this is a special place to work, because we are like a family. It's hard to get people to come and work here from other places, but once they are here for a while they usually stay.
How many teachers and staff are here at the high school?
Around 70 people. But my job is made easier by the number of people here who have decades of experience with this specific school.
Winslow High is 100 years old. What's your vision for the future?
We are moving more towards "real time student assessment" and probably the best future model is a New York school which generates a class schedule for each student every day, based on yesterday. The student comes into school and enters his ID card upon arriving. Immediately his/her schedule for the day is printed out. There is no lag between assessed need and remediation or delay of advancement to new material.