During the COVID-19 closure my office got painted, and in the process I had some time to make some design updates to my assistant principal office to make it more welcoming and friendly to families and students that I wanted to share.
- Social justice + STEM art: I keep Amplifer’s art on rotation in my frames, and this year’s campaign encouraging women in STEM is the current focus in my office, including Spanish posters. All of their artwork can be downloaded for free. Then, I had the full sized posters printed for under $6 each at Costco. Next year, I’ll be adding into the rotation some “I am a Scientist” posters from Plenary, which are now available for pre-order (check out their slides for free download as amazing resources to share with students)!
- Plants + lighting: Always keeping neurodivergence in mind, I avoid using the overhead fluorescents. I want a place where we can have conversations, not a space that feels like an institution.
- Television facing seating: This screen is an extension of my computer and plays a rotation of student images celebrating diverse groups of student achievements, and it also plays announcements about mental health, letting students know I can escort them to a confidential counselor, graduation requirements, and a weekly school calendar. I can also pull up their current grades and records and put them on full display so we can have a conversation about the data, rather than awkwardly talking about something behind my screen that they can’t see, potentially creating mistrust (I do have private screens back there)
- Little Library: There’s a selection of about eight books I bought from our media specialist’s summer reading challenge. For students who just need a quick break from class without the formality of ISS, I have a cafe hightop table with barstools outside of my offices and they can choose one of the titles to read.
- New faux leather seating: My old seats were school provided fabric lobby seats that I added throw pillows to. By switching to faux leather, I can ensure that I can sanitize chairs between visitors safely.
- Sidetable: On my sidetable, there’s a bowl of fidgets. With this bowl, it’s always pretty easy to tell the more neurodivergent students from the neurotypical ones who don’t understand the fidgets! I’m usually able to recommend that they can get fidgets and recommend them as a coping strategy. They’ll typically see me out in the halls during lunch with these too. Unfortunately now, I’ll have to take care to sanitize these too, but I’m glad to be able to serve students that need the stimulation to focus, as well as parents who bring small children into my office. There’s also 211 cards, and a box of tissues.
- Wall of celebrities at PCHS: So far, I have four photos on campus with celebrities. Three are SEC coaches, one is from when Good Morning America was on campus!
- Other favorites in the photo: I love my framed articles featuring either my students or me, rather than just keeping them in the drawer. I also love the framed photos my students have given me over the years. The one on the far right is from a former student who’s authored a book, so it sits with her book. In the first photo, there’s a couple of plush animals, one from my AP CSP & Esports kids when I left, and another from a tech support kid when he went to visit Silicon Valley before moving there for coding school! I also have a board of all my tags, buttons, and other memorabilia from conferences, including press passes from the White House for President Obama’s campaign and Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency when I got to cover it with my journalism kids.