October 29, 2018

Weekly Column: Honoring Idaho's Principals

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

One of the things I treasure most about representing Idaho in the U.S. Senate is that I get to cross paths with extraordinary Idahoans doing great work.  I recently had the opportunity to meet with Amy McBride, who is Idaho’s 2018 Outstanding Secondary Principal of the Year.  When you think about how many great principals there are in Idaho working hard to ensure Idaho’s children receive top-notch educations that set them on a path to succeed, her selection as topmost among them is significant.  But, when hearing why she was selected, the word that comes to mind is, “Wow!”

Amy McBride is the principal of Robert Stuart Middle School in Twin Falls, where she has worked for seven years.  Faced with a considerable challenge of a large number of students who failed classes, she focused on teaching sixth-grade students organization, time management and study skills to help them be successful in secondary school.  Engraining these building blocks paid off.  The number of failing grades at the school have reportedly been reduced by a remarkable 92 percent, while the number of “As” have increased by an astounding more than 200 percent.  This achievement not only reflects well on the educators involved, but more importantly indicates that struggling students are now doing well and learning what it takes to reach their goals.

Given this outstanding improvement, it is no surprise that Amy McBride has been selected by the Idaho Association of Secondary School Principals to be Idaho’s 2018 Outstanding Secondary Principal of the Year.  She represents the many principals in Idaho who think of innovative ways to reach students and give them the tools they need to succeed.  Principals also help set the tone in schools and inspire teachers, students, other staff and community members to work together to help students reach their achievements. 

They are strong advocates for students and teachers.  They identify and fuel successes, but also see the problems and help to remedy them.  I am sure many understand just a glimpse of all principals do in a given day.  Principals, undoubtedly, have many questions, both expected and unexpected, asked of them needing quick responses throughout the day as they respond to the personal needs of individual students and help to keep students and faculty safe as they learn and grow.

And, beyond the educators Amy and other Teacher and Principal of the Year awardees represent, one of the aspects of Amy’s story I like most is the ingenuity at the core of the turnaround in grades.  She represents a broad swath of Idahoans who see a problem, think through the factors contributing to it, and cut to the core of it to advance a solution.  Idaho abounds with great thinkers and innovators fixing what needs fixing and helping fellow Idahoans and Americans along the way. 

Thank you to Idaho’s principals, educators and problem solvers for all you are doing to prepare Idaho students and countless others for life’s challenges. 

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