Trevor Greene, the 2013 National High School Principal of the Year, and principal at Toppenish High School, spoke to PTA members at the Awards Breakfast at the WSPTA Convention.
Toppenish High School is located in Eastern Washington on the Yakima Indian Reservation. They serve 780 students, with an 85% Hispanic and 10% Indian population and 95% of the students receiving free and reduced lunches. Greene remarked on these challenges, “We accept who we are at Toppenish. We don’t worry about the ‘what if’s’. We deal with our reality,” he explained.
Greene believes that every student deserves an adult advocate at the school. A small group advisory period at Toppenish High allows teachers to establish a daily mentoring relationship with students during their four years of high school. “The students need us to help them, not rescue them, to help them navigate and reach their potential,” he explained.
One program that Greene highlighted in his presentation was their special education program. Toppenish High now has a daily PE class for their severe and profound special education population. “The adaptive physical education strengthens their muscles to achieve things they have never had to achieve before,” Greene said. “This gives students with high challenges and opportunities to change their lives.”
To view his presentation at the WSPTA Convention on YouTube, click here.