Principal Alonzo Reynolds III speaks with students and their families at Dekaney High School. Spring ISD File Photo
HOUSTON – Oct. 29, 2019 – Dekaney High School parents and guardians had the opportunity to experience a day at school with their students during Tour de Wildcat — a new initiative to increase parent and student engagement at the campus.
The open-house-style event held earlier this month was designed to highlight the positive changes occurring at the comprehensive high school. Dekaney is currently implementing the SpringWay Systems and Routines to achieve change in the classroom, understanding that change starts with leadership and creates a domino effect.
“The purpose of today’s event was to open the doors to the community to allow them to see what our reality is versus what the perception in the community is,” said Dekaney Associate Principal of Instruction Brandi Rodney.
When asked about the changes happening at the school, parents and students, including Dekaney senior Laurye Lewis, attributed the progress to the leadership of Principal Alonzo Reynolds III, who has made creating a positive culture at the school a priority.
“There have been fewer fights and drama,” said Lewis. “The school has been very mellow. Teachers have been more attentive and have been paying more attention to what they can do to better our education.”
Reynolds said his goal has been to help foster a welcoming and respectful environment on the campus so that students can focus on academics. Dekaney’s state accountability ratings showed strong year-over-year growth with a 10-percentage-point increase in 2018-19.
“I didn’t plan to establish trust between my students, it just happened to work out that way,” said Reynolds. “When I arrived, I gave them an opportunity to hear what my expectations were and provide feedback in order to create a positive learning environment at Dekaney. I believe that the opportunity to be heard is what made them trust me.”
Some of the recent changes at the school include the reorganization of classes according to grade level. Reynolds said he felt it was important to provide his students with structure, so he placed 11th- and 12th-grade classes downstairs and 9th- and 10th-grade classes upstairs, easing congested hallways and reducing the number of tardies to class.
Reynolds also designated school counselors to students according to their grade level, rather than by the first letter of their last name. In addition, the counselors have the same students over all four years of high school, so they can develop consistency, stability and trust.
Shamayne Mitchell, mother of 9th-grade Dekaney student Lazerick Scott, said she is a new parent in Spring ISD, and initially had questions and concerns about the school’s special education program and the campus itself — until she emailed Reynolds.
“I was given a lot of good information, everybody was really welcoming, and the principal gave me a personal invitation to come and chat with him any time I had questions,” Mitchell said. “He also specified that he was implementing some changes around Dekaney. He told me to give the school a chance and give him my thoughts at the end of the school year. So far, I love it.”