After an unprecedented ending to the 2019 school year, the administration and faculty within the Broadneck feeder school system are ready to embrace the change of the upcoming semester.
“I think all of our teachers learned a lot from the e-learning experience,” said Broadneck High School Principal Rachel Kennelly. "Now that we've had some time to really think about it and dive into what it looks like and what this should look like for this coming year, I think we're much better prepared.”
On July 20, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto decided that all county public schools will begin the first semester virtually.
“I think the most important piece is that we embrace the situation that we are in and we make the best out of everything that is offered to us,” Kennelly said. “Our central office teams and teachers have been preparing hard all summer in the event that this is where we were going to be, and now that we know that is where we are going to be, we are really going to make our best effort to make sure that our students are given the most authentic learning experience possible in these times.”
Kennelly, who takes over for former principal Jim Todd, served as assistant principal at Broadneck for the previous four years. Todd was promoted to director of school performance with the central office for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Broadneck High School is not the only school welcoming a new principal this fall. At Magothy River Middle School, John Noon steps in as principal after six years at Broadneck Elementary in the same role. He fills a position formerly held by Nuria Williams, who was promoted to the AACPS central office.
“Going to Magothy, having been at Broadneck, I'll know the students,” Noon said. “In some instances, I will have known them since they were 5 years old. When they were kindergarteners at Broadneck, and now, I will see them through eighth grade. It was sort of a perfect situation for me.”
With so much uncertainty as it pertains to how schools will operate amid the COVID-19 crisis, both Kennelly and Noon expressed their confidence in providing a consistent presence for the students.
“Especially during these times, I think we're going to be able to provide a level of consistency,” said Kennelly. “With the times that we're living in right now, it will be an ease for our community to have somebody that they are already familiar with.”
At Broadneck Elementary, Noon said his staff focused on helping students develop their social skills to interact in positive and appropriate ways. He hopes to bring that same focus to Magothy River Middle School.
“Especially in a world where technology is changing and it's changing the way people interact,” Noon said, “[we're] making sure the kids are evolving. The adults are evolving in their supervision of that technology, while the kids are probably a step ahead of us with some of the technology and how they interact.”
Noon hopes teachers will be cleared to lead virtual school lessons from their classroom, providing that extra bit of realness for students as they prepare to learn in a new environment.
“I'm just very excited. I know that there are a lot of questions surrounding the coming school year and I know that those questions are going to start to be answered in the coming weeks,” Kennelly added. “I hope that the community as a whole is ready to embrace this because we certainly are and we're looking forward to a great school year, even though it will be a very different one than we are all used to.”