LET'S CHAT ... WITH DR. MICHELLE SHINN, Cherokee and Sheridan School Principal
Q. How has your role changed over the years?
A. This marks my ninth year in the district. When I first started in District 67, my responsibilities were strictly Principal of Cherokee School. Now my role has expanded across the district. Currently, I supervise the psychologists, reading specialists and social workers in addition to being the Principal of two schools.
I am also the kindergarten liaison for the district. I work with the teachers on curriculum decisions, registration and now the Mandarin Immersion Program.
As Principal, I review data on an ongoing basis and partner with the teachers to identify what support and development they need and review how the students are doing. We also have a school Data Team that meets
regularly to review school, grade, and individual student data and make recommendations about programs and interventions. This team is comprised of classroom teachers, administrators, and specialists.
Q. Describe your typical day.
A. Each day brings new experiences! I start my day greeting students in the car line or on the playground of the school. After participating in the morning announcements, I walk the building to say hello and answer questions from teachers. I like to touch base with the staff to see if there is anything I can do to support them.
The remainder of the day I participate in meetings and communication with parents and staff. Depending on the day, I attend APT meetings, assemblies, grade level meetings, Monday CII meetings and other holiday related events.
Q. What are some new changes parents will notice this school year?
A. Mandarin Immersion, Pro Scopes in science, Net Books in 3rd and 4th grade, NEO2s in 3rd and 4th grade for math, spelling and writing, 25 IPADS for K-2, and The Bucket Fillers program to support the emotional wellness program.
Q. Why is emotional wellness important?
A. Emotional wellness is important because it is "the plate" for all that we do. We know that students and staff work well in environments that are safe, respectful, caring, and positively reinforce appropriate behavior.
In September, we kicked off the Bucket Filling emotional wellness program with a Bucket Filling assembly with a facilitator for 1st -3rd graders. In 4th grade they had a 90-minute discussion session that was more in depth. The
program is based on the book by Carol McCloud titled, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?", where everyone identifies whether they are a "bucket filler" or a "bucket dipper". This program will be used in addition to the Smart Kids (K and
1st grade) and Bully Blockers programs to help guide discussions about bullying, manners, respectfulness of others and the school wide emotional wellness traits.
Q. What inspired you to become a school principal?
A. I enjoy working with kids and the hands on daily experience at school. While completing my psychology degree In college, I worked at a children's center for kids who were wards of the state in Salt Lake City. I studied the understanding of how children learn, how to measure the learning and really enjoyed the daily experience. That influenced my decision to pursue a career in education. It is rewarding implementing larger scale learning for all kids to benefit.
Q. How do you spend your free time?
A. My two sons Matteo (3) and Dominic (12) and spending time with my husband and family keep me busy. As a family we ride bikes and I started running last year. We also like to travel and ski.