Continuing with our Baltimore Principal’s series, we’re catching up with Job Grotsky from Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle this week. Learn why he says all principals need to make time to interact with students, how technology has affected teaching in his school, and why he thinks uniforms are (cool).
Mt. Royal Elementary
When did you decide you wanted to be a principal?
I decided to become a principal 3 years ago when I was an Assistant Principal at my former school. I was ready to take on the challenge and really change students’ lives. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and I love everything about being a principal.
What is your favorite part of being a principal?
My favorite part of being a principal is my interactions with the students. I was told years ago that principals don’t have time to interact with students. I disagree and say you have to make time!
What is your least favorite part of being a principal?
My least favorite part of being a principal is the paperwork! I think that is why I am rarely in my office.
How do you think technology has changed your school?
Technology is allowing us to communicate more effectively and efficiently as a school staff so that we have the ability to better serve our students. We are increasing technology availability for our students on a daily basis to better prepare them for college and their future careers.
What was your favorite subject when you were a student?
My favorite subject as a student was math. I think that is why I became an elementary math teacher! There is something satisfying in solving a difficult math problem.
It seems that breakfast is offered in your school. What effect do you think that has on the students?
We encourage all students to eat breakfast. Breakfast for my students is so important to me that I am on the playground every morning reminding students to go and eat. When a student comes in my office for any reason I always ask if they ate breakfast that morning.
How does your school integrate the arts into typical instruction?
We have a great full time art teacher that works closely with our classroom teachers to create projects that are relevant to current events. We are also an Arts Integration School. This means that there is an art component infused within classroom instruction on a daily basis. We are also extremely fortunate to be next to the campus of MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). We routinely have MICA students come and work with our students on various hands-on art projects.
When you were a student, what were your principals like?
I’ve moved around a lot and have had a lot of principals. I mostly remember the principals who showed genuine care interest in all of the students. When my students come to school I want each of them to feel like they are the most special student I have seen that morning.
Which season is your favorite, and why?
I think fall would be my favorite. Being from Michigan, there is nothing like a cool, crisp, fall morning where it’s just chilly enough to see your breath but not cold enough to freeze your fingers! I also love the colors and smells associated with the fall season—apples, fireplace smoke, morning dew, etc.
How do you think having a uniform affects your school?
I love that we are a uniform school. It takes away a lot of the social and economic stigma associated with fashion. This year we adopted different color tops for our middle school grades. This allows us to monitor what grade levels should be in what location in our building. I feel that being able to identify their grade level color has been a success and has added to students’ self esteem. I am proud to say we have a 99.9% rate of compliance.
Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School is a Public Elementary/Middle school located at 121 McMechen Street, Baltimore, MD.
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