By Anastasia Marchese
The Randolph School District has a new member of its administrative team this year.
Jackie Fik joins the administrative team to work alongside Dr. Dennis Copeland, principal, and Michael LoRicco, vice principal. Although this is Fik’s first school year as a vice Principal, she has worked for 23 years in the Randolph School District, first as a sixth grade language arts teacher and then for most of her career working as a language arts teacher with seventh graders.
For the past few years however, Fik had transitioned into the role of an instructional coach. In this role, she helped teachers to infuse literacy into all of their various disciplines. This is part of NJ Common Core standards.
According to corestandards.org, “the standards establish guidelines for English language arts (ELA) as well as for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects. Because students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, the standards promote the literacy skills and concepts required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.”
Whether as an administrator, instructional coach, or classroom teacher, Fik views the central theme as unchanged.
“There is always learning to be had and teaching to be done,” she says. “Even though I am not teaching per se, I am guiding staff, guiding students.”
When asked if there has been some adjustment to her new role, Fik was positive.
“The heart of both roles is the kids,” says. Staying focused on the kids and getting them acclimated to the new school year, is the focus of teachers and administrators as summer transitions into school activities. “They are actually excited to be back at school” says Fik.
Being one of two vice principals, she was asked how the responsibilities are designated.
“We share duties,” she explained.
Last year’s eighth grade graduating class had about 400 graduating students, the entire enrolment at the school being about 1,200 for sixth, seventh and eighth grade combined.
One change that the students have to adjust to this year is a slight change in the school day schedule. New start and end times for the 2016-17 school year changed school start times back 15 minutes. Randolph Middle School now starts at 8:05 a.m. and ends at 3:05 p.m. Buses arrive between 7:50 a.m. and 8 a.m. and depart at 3:15 p.m. Late buses depart at 4:30 p.m. Although these changes are slight, it is hoped that it will improve the school day for everyone.
Fik is one of 10 or so new faculty at the school who are either new to the school or to their current positions.
When asked if there were other new changes or initiatives that the school would be making for the coming year, Fik referred back to her main vision, that the students are central and that meeting their educational needs and providing an environment in which they can flourish is central to her mission. That is certainly in line with the school’s mission statement and goals.
“Our mission is the education of the whole child, make decisions based on the unique nature of young adolescents. Foster a student-centered culture that is focused on academic excellence and social responsibility. Advocate for every student’s right to engage in exploratory learning opportunities with support from the RMS community.”
“I am really really excited,” said Fik, “to contribute in a new way.”