Roxborough principal connects academics to career paths

Principal Dana Jenkins with senior Hasan Adens. — PHOTO BY ABDUL SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Dana Jenkins is already starting to make her imprint at Roxborough High School. After being the assistant principal there for five years, Jenkins is starting her new regime as principal by continuing to provide a rigorous academic curriculum, enhancing the school’s CTE academies, and helping prepare her students for success beyond high school.

“This school year started a little different than the way a traditional school year normally starts,” Jenkins said. “Roxborough was a part of those changes as 23 schools closed in the district. Germantown High was one of the schools that closed, and we received a majority of the students from that high school. When I became principal, I wanted to make sure thatthe transition for everyone was made in a positive way.

“I also wanted to focus on taking the next step in our school academies. We have stand-alone academies at the school already, but we want to move on to a wall-to-wall academy school. We also want to maintain the AVID program; we want to make that program a school-wide program. Those were the two main objectives that I wanted to focus on this school year academic wise.”

With the closing of Germantown High School, Roxborough became the new home for many students this year. To help ensure a smooth transition for students coming from Germantown High, Roxborough started the student ambassador program. The student-led program, has 16 Roxborough students serving as ambassadors for the school.

The group, mostly juniors and seniors, is tasked with helping staff to smoothly bring the school’s new students into the fold, to make them feel like they’re truly part of what many refer to as the “Roxborough family.” To get a jump start on the transition, Jenkins organized a social over the summer so students from Roxborough and Germantown could start feeling each other out.

“The transition between everyone has been going extremely well,” she said. “I think a huge part of that is that we actually started the transition process with everyone over the summer. The goal of the program was to really have old students and new students share their experiences, fears, expectations, goals and dreams.

“It was a great way for students to learn about each other prior to the school year. When you have students promoting what the expectations of the school are, it just really goes a long, long way. Students tend to follow each other much more readily than they’ll follow adults. I wanted everyone to feel at home and be a part of the family.”

The heart of the school is through its academic program. Jenkins says she will continue to raise the standard of excellence by giving students opportunities to succeed through the academyy model. Roxborough has web design, cinematography, liberal arts (aacademy of the arts), biotechnology and international business (academy of the sciences), and the ninth-grade academy.

“I’m looking for our students to move from acquiring all this academic knowledge, and be able to apply it through the academies,” Jenkins said. “The lessons they are learning in the classrooms they are getting to apply in their schools and in their communities. Through the academy model, students will be able to get a head start in a career of their choice. They will be able to be prepared to enter college with some experience in the field.

“Our plan this year, is to connect career paths and what is actually happening in the academic classes. Even one academy helping another academy, like if a student has great information learned in biotech, we can put that information to use by tapping into our academy of the arts cinematography program.

“The one thing that I’m hoping our kids take away from their experience at Roxorough is a different sense of relevance about what they’re learning, what it means, and the value of it. The curriculum here is tough and it’s hard, especially the AP courses. A lot of students even want to quit, but when they leave here they will be fully prepared to enter a different kind of rigor in college. We want our students to succeed and be proud of what they accomplished.”

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