Principal's Message

Poly Community, 

I have been blessed to be the “leader of leaders” in my tenure here at Riverside Poly High School. This past year was an exciting time that was matched with a blistering pace as we continued our collective work on WASC, the implementation of Academic Core Standards, Personalized Learning, and strategic cultural & leadership shifts. Upon arrival at Poly, it was clear that four foundations guided the collective values of the community: 1) Family; 2) Faith; 3) Tradition; and 4) Believe. 

In October of 2013, the students responded in-kind as they defined Poly PRIDE through Passion, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Extraordinary as we laid the groundwork for our strategic plan: 

1. Excellence in every classroom;
2. Shared leadership opportunities for all stakeholders; and
3. Systems and structures to support organizational capacity.

Our collective work on building hope, well-being and engagement amongst our staff and students accelerated with our teaming with Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Initiative. Moreover, our commitment to build capacity with our Teacher-Leaders gained national recognition and massive community support. As we move into 2016-2017, we are set to focus our efforts in what will prove to be an extraordinary year for Poly as we embrace teacher enthusiasm and learner engagement.

As we walk into the new season, I want to take a brief moment to present to you a framework for impacting teaching and learning that has greatly inspired me throughout the years. This framework is called the World’s Greatest High School, written by Richard Parkhouse and Dr. Guy E. White. Mr. Parkhouse is an internationally recognized expert on student culture. Dr. White is a current classroom teacher in California who has written a number of books about teaching and teacher-leadership. They present some key values in the their book that I believe provide the context for our work:

1. We are what we believe – what we believe unifies us.
2. All students have futures.
3. No one gets anywhere without a teacher.
4. All students are gifted and talented.
5. Everyday is an opportunity to become the World’s Greatest Me.
6. Everything we do, we do with PRIDE.

As we move into the future, these values will keep us grounded in the work we do and the students we serve. Our focus will remain on creating authentic learning experiences that challenge them to explore, question and discover their learning in innovative and creative ways. As important, we are committed to moving beyond simply delivering curriculum for the sake of covering material, but shifting our focus to what students can actually do with that learning – now and into the future.

From the standpoint of a child, the great waste in the school comes from its inability to utilize the experiences he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while, on the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning at school.

John Dewey, “Waste in Education,” The School and Society, 1899

Yours in the Pursuit,

Michael John Roe, Ed. D.


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