Dear Regent Families,
As I write this letter, I can't help but reflect on the impact the last twelve months have made on me as the Principal of West High School. Yes, I came for the opportunity to lead a storied high school, but I was also ready to accept the challenge of closing one of the largest achievement gaps in Wisconsin.
What I have learned is humbling. My experience in Chicago as an urban school leader prepared me for the challenges I knew I would face, as any new school leader does, in climate and culture, as well as systems and structures. What I did not expect, and what continues to astonish me, are the range of opportunities students have at West.
Earlier this month, I saw my first Prom Assembly, which celebrated not only the diversity and forward-thinking of our Prom Court (no king, no queen, just royalty), as well as the amazing achievements, both academic and athletic, of our student body. When I was hired, I had done my research and knew that West had the most State Championships of any school in Wisconsin, but I didn't realize what was behind that -- the years of individual student persistence, parent effort, unwavering community support, and sheer determination that makes such a legacy possible.
Last week was Fine Arts Week. I had no idea. Staff told me when I was hired, kids told me about it... but you can’t really UNDERSTAND Fine Arts Week until you see it. I couldn't know from the descriptions what an amazing amount of student and adult collaborative hours it represented. Yes, Fine Arts Week (May 21-25th) is a culmination of our students' work over the course of the year, but it also places West as a leader in the youth art experience in Madison. I saw two full AUDS (Honor Band Performance and MSAN Diversity Presentation) and thought how lucky West students were to have this as part of how they experienced high school. I have heard a rumor that I am canceling Fine Arts Week. To allay these fears once and for all, I have no intention and have conducted no discussion of ending Fine Arts Week. It’s one of the amazing traditions I’ve experienced in my first year at West (like Singing Valentines). You should be very, very proud of these kids.
Remember that we have Final Exams coming up. There are some changes this year that may be confusing:
Monday, June 4th: Regular school day, no early release.
Tuesday, June 5th: Last final exam ends at 2:45pm. Metro bus runs at 3:45pm; Yellow buses run at 2:45pm. No Homework Club. Mission 4.0 runs at 3:00pm.
Wednesday, June 6th: Last final exam ends at 12:15pm. Metro bus runs at 3:45pm; Yellow buses run at 12:15pm. No Homework Club; no Mission 4.0
Thursday, June 7th: Last final exam ends at 12:15pm. Metro bus runs at 3:45pm; Yellow buses run at 12:15pm. No Homework Club; no Mission 4.0
Friday, June 8th: Regular day of attendance ONLY if a student has a scheduled make-up final exam pre-arranged with a teacher. Otherwise, students are NOT expected to attend. They have completed their scholastic obligations and are free to enjoy their summer.
Have a safe and relaxing summer.
Karen Boran, Ed. D.