Erica Green is making her imprint at Russell H. Conwell Middle Prince. Entering her second year at the helm, Conwell continues to provide a rigorous academic curriculum, enhance school partnerships and build leaders of the community.
“I have been the principal at Conwell for two years,” Green said. “I originally arrived at Conwell four years ago; I was the assistant principal. Our principal at the time was Dr. Smith. At the end of those two years, she was afforded an opportunity and promotion outside of the district.
“She wrote a letter on my behalf as well as [for] the parents, students and teachers here for me to transition into the principal position,” she added. “That was a really nice opportunity to continue some of the work that her and I had started together as colleagues and then continue as principal. Knowing the kids and the families really makes a difference.”
The heart of the school is its academics. Green said she will continue to raise the standard of excellence by giving students opportunities to succeed in the classroom.
“We have two autistic support classes, which we didn’t have before,” Green said. “It’s nice to have them be part of the Conwell family. The students are fitting in nicely. They also go out to their specialty classes for art, PE, music, gym and health. It’s nice to have another group of students be a part of the group.
“We also make it a goal of ours to always talk to the students not just about high school, but also college,” she added. “In each classroom, we have a college board, where a different college or university is represented in the class. We do that because we have to start getting the kids thinking with the mindset of college a head of time.
“Lots of times young people are not sure where they’re going for high school, let alone college. We have these boards posted to remind them that they’re options out there and opportunities for you to be successful. We also have career boards posted so that students can see the different career options out there.”
Conwell has numerous partnerships within the community and with neighboring schools. Conwell has a partnership with the Green Group; the GREAT program, which is through the Philadelphia Police Department; and KADE Kids, a program that addresses drugs, alcohol and gambling. The school also has a partnership with Project Pride and the Philadelphia Ballet.
“A lot of our kids have academic ability, but they have artistic and musical ability as well. For years we had a partnership with the Pennsylvania Ballet,” Green said. “Last year, we added a writing component to it. It’s fine if you are not a dancer, you can still be a student who comes out and critiques the dancers and writes various articles. You’re exposed to the style of dance that they are doing, the genre of music, so it’s nice for the kids to have that partnership and that connection as well. The partnerships gives the students an opportunity to grow academically. Middle-schoolers need other outlets and opportunities to do different things.”
Green said she hopes her students will not only excel in academics at Conwell, but she wants them to also realize their goals and how to achieve them.
“We have a positive behavior support plan and our motto is peaceful and positive, accountability, being a student that’s well-mannered, and being a student that can solve problems. When you think of those four words they can take you throughout life,” Green said. “We’re trying to instill things in them now that will be life-lasting. We’re teaching them academics, but we’re showing them about good people skills and how to be kind and empathetic.
“It doesn’t matter what you have or what you feel you don’t have,” she added. “There’s always a little something that you can do,” she added. “Whether you’re volunteering your talents or creating something, it’s always about a balance of giving back. What we want the students to take away from their experience at Conwell is that it’s about working together, being respectful, honoring yourself and looking out for others. We’re truly all in this together. We want to develop young people who will make a difference in society.”