Ms. Mary Mollway joined Park Academy as our Assistant Head of School in April of 2018. Here are her thoughts on the first three months.
Passion. Commitment. Family. These are the words that come to mind when I think about Park Academy. Three months ago, I moved up to Lake Oswego from southern California to take the position as Assistant Head of School. My friends from back home, many of them educators, keep asking me, “What do you think about Park? Are you glad you moved?” Oh, yes, I am so glad. I have been moved to tears more than once by the staff, the students, the connectedness, and the compassion I see here every day.
It’s hard to describe to someone all of things that make Park Academy the special place that it is. Everyone here sees themselves as part of the team, whether that’s Mr. Devers in the high school, Ms. West, our counselor or Mr. Lowery, every person who works here honestly believes that we are collectively responsible for every child who attends school here. Even though Ms. West is our counselor, there are a few kids who prefer to decompress in my office and some who prefer Mr. Lowery. It’s not rare to see kids working on projects in Ms. Barton’s or Ms. Dove’s office. It’s a family, a tribe, and everyone feels it. It’s in the air here.
One of my favorite things about this school is our ability to make an immediate impact on a kid’s life. Whether that’s by making programmatic changes, providing outside resources, or working closely with our families to find solutions, there’s a belief here that every child is precious and sometimes solutions take innovative thinking. We are committed to this belief as a school community.
You only have to spend about five minutes with Mr. Lowery to see how passionate he is about student success and his passion permeates throughout the school. I’ve never worked for someone who was so thoughtful about making decisions that are good for kids and for the school, even if they are difficult ones. This type of passion inspires others to step out of their comfort zones and push themselves for the good of our students.
At the end of my first few months here, I am in awe. I pinch myself on a pretty regular basis that I was chosen to work at this school. It’s a magical place and I am excited and honored to be a part of it.
In the next few months, I am eagerly looking forward to implementing our new reading and mathematics assessments that will allow us to more accurately measure student progress. This will also allow us to make changes in our instruction more quickly in response to student needs. As a staff, we are hard at work creating curriculum maps and expected student outcomes for every course and grade level. Finally, we are evaluating our texts, materials, and instructional practices to maximize learning for every student. These are exciting times at Park Academy.