High school principal lays out his vision for the future

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:30

Warwick — During Monday night’s meeting of the Warwick Valley School Board, High School Principal Richard Linkens outlined his vision, “A look to the horizon,” which he described as “grassroots restructuring effort now under way at WVHS, aligned with Board of Education initiatives (including 21st century survival skills presented last year by educator Tony Wagner).” Included in the vision is the development of the Warwick Children’s Science Museum, to be built and managed by students, as part of their service project requirement. Other service learning projects include: A reading and writing lab, using some of the available, currently unused space in the high school. Reading Rangers, where high school students will buddy up with elementary kids to do Tier I level reading interventions. The Wildcat Café, to be run by the students. Katie’s Music Wish, establishing a luthier shop in the high school. An art shop, among other ideas. “High school is not a place to prepare students for life,” Linkens said. “It is life.” These types of service projects, he added, will make school a more positive place. “The goal is to keep kids in school for a reason, not for a class they hate,” the principal said. Other service projects that Linkens envisions include: A diabetes marathon; Team-up for St. Jude’s; Big Sisters; and a student-conceived program called, “Project Speak Up,” connecting elementary school children to high school students. Linkens, delivering a passionate presentation complete with slides showing potential new uses for currently underutilized high school facilities, contrasted what is versus the possibilities. He added that, with regard to the current state of test scores and budgets stretched to the limit, the educational system is in crisis; the Chinese character for both “crisis” and “opportunity,” he noted, are the same. “All these programs will need funding,” he said. “We’re stretched and we have nothing to give back.” But he encouraged members of the public as well as the board to find ways to make these programs a reality: “Crisis is opportunity.” - Abby Wolf The goal is to keep kids in school for a reason, not for a class they hate.” Warwick Valley High School Richard Linkens