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Administration works to build student-staff connections in the new school year

Principal+Tim+Phares+stands+at+his+desk.+Phares+said+he+hopes+to+be+accessible+and+visible+to+students.%0A%0A
Principal Tim Phares stands at his desk. Phares said he hopes to be accessible and visible to students.

The 2023-2024 school year marks Principal Tim Phares’ second year at CHS. Phares noted the different expectations leading into the year.

“I do feel this kind of year is different,” he said. “We don’t talk about COVID, we don’t talk about all these rules, it’s almost like it’s back to school and back to normal.”

Following July 4, Phares said, it felt like a race to the school year, but collaboration among administrators lessened the burden on individuals.

 “Sometimes we get into a large school and we focus a lot on ‘what’s my job ’ I reference it a lot in our team, with siloes and working together and problem-solving together and not just being like ‘this is the information, this is the answer,'” said Phares.

Looking back on the past school year, Phares said he dedicated a lot of his time to getting to know his team in order to build trust and promote partnership.

Phares noted the growth in work-based learning as he spoke on goals the administration has accomplished.

“Internships have been very, very successful for our students,” he said. “I think this year we have over 60 students that are placed in an internship and that was not the case last year, we were just getting started.”

Phares also said he hopes students will get involved in smaller communities within the school. He said the teacher-student relationship is especially significant. The administration hopes to use the “creating connections” portion of SSRT as an “opportunity for staff to connect with students.”

“Some of our teachers innately connect with kids,” Phares said. “In the first five, ten minutes, they truly try to get to know their students and we believe that makes a huge difference both for the kids and the adults.”

Additionally, Phares said he hopes to work with students to personally understand their opinions, which has led to the creation of the Student Principal Advisory Council (SPAC). Phares said SPAC members act as representatives for the student body.

Anna Amore, SPAC member and senior, expressed her hopes to contribute to the school as a council member. Amore is a managing editor for the Pinnacle yearbook and is its representative on SPAC. She noted the yearbook staff’s struggles with the printing process.

“For us, we have a printer in our room but it’s really hard on deadlines when we have to print our spreads out and go to our advisor,” she said.

Amore said the Pinnacle representatives will continue to bring up topics most relevant to their staff members at SPAC meetings. SPAC is set to meet next on Sept. 6. Phares said he believes SPAC can work as a sounding board and problem-solving forum.

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