Principal's Message

Summer 2017

I often am asked, “What occurs at Short Pump Middle over the summer months?” What a great question! While everything that we do is an exhaustive list, I wanted to take a moment to share the main areas of focus for the summer.

Reflecting. Our first action is reflection (no, we are not sitting on yoga mats in a circle without lights and calling it reflection :). We engage in meaningful reflection. Prep work is required, as we need to know what went well the previous year, and where we as a school can grow/improve. We compile data to evaluate. This data is in both quantitative and qualitative form. Examples of the data we examine include: student-teacher climate survey results (note: parents take this survey every two years), SOL data, NWEA data, documented conversations/emails with parents/community regarding both concerns and positive experiences, honor roll lists, attendance records, discipline records, etc. Of course data analysis and reflection is not just reserved for the summer, but is ongoing, but the summer affords us the time to truly evaluate and make targeted and specific changes.

Staffing is a major focus. Over the summer we hire/retain our part-time (PT) instructional assistants (Inside information: Schools do not have the necessary student information before the end of the school year to hire PT IA’s in June). We also hire teachers, as every year brings about some turnover. (Inside information: At the time of this writing, we will have five new full-time teachers that will be welcomed in the fall, and a new associate principal).

Creating the ‘master schedule’. Short Pump has an extensive list of options for students to select for electives. In addition to the robust SPMS elective program, Henrico County provides middle school students based on their aptitudes/performance to have the appropriate rigor in their core-content classes. This is ideal, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but presents a logistical challenge to ensure 840 students get the correct schedule. The master schedule, quite possibly, is the most important document in any school.

Planning professional development for our teachers/administrators. Once the data has been evaluated and the reflections made, we determine what the most meaningful professional development opportunities would be for our teachers. The staff development is planned for teacher week, and beyond. My own professional development occurs as I attend conferences, and engage in meetings with specialists, directors, and other members of HCPS leadership team. (Inside information: I, and four staff members, are going to a three day conference with the focus on building/sustaining a positive school climate/culture.) I am very excited to be bringing new ideas back to our teachers and students.

Selecting the school theme for the upcoming year… and activities centered around that theme are planned.

Enrolling new students to SPMS. It is always wonderful to be able to welcome new Pumas to the Puma Pack!

And so many more items which are too many to list, such as….

Updating Principal messages to keep web pages current :)


Thomas McAuley, Principal