Q&A: Windsor Farm Principal Jason Otte
This is Otte's second year as principal at WFES.
Classes began at Windsor Farm Elementary School on Monday, and Principal Jason Otte was out greeting students.
Patch caught up with Otte a few days before school started back for a quick interview about his summer and the coming school year.
Patch: How was your summer—any exciting trips?
Jason Otte: The summer was wonderful. My family (wife and son) and I were able to take a trip to the Outer Banks. I really enjoy my time with them. We try to go there every summer. I also had the opportunity to enjoy a charter boat fishing trip with some friends out on the Chesapeake Bay. We caught some mackerel, bluefish, and rockfish. It was tremendous fun!
Patch: What are some of the challenges of coming back from summer break?
Otte: Some of the challenges just include making sure that all of the tasks that need to be accomplished, get completed prior to everyone’s return for the next school year. Although summer break looks like a long time on paper, it passes very quickly. There is a great deal that needs to be done before the teachers and students return. Thankfully my assistant principal, office staff, and custodial team are very organized. We all met the day after the teacher’s final day and created organized “to do” lists with all the tasks that needed to be done prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year. By monitoring tasks and staying organized, we were able to do all of the things that needed to be done.
Patch: Do you have any goals in the first few weeks of school?
Otte: The goals for the first few weeks are to get student acclimated to routines and procedures, and establish the focus for the school year.
Windsor Farm’s focus is in coordination with the focus for AACPS: that all students will achieve academic success to the standard and beyond. The ultimate goal is increased rigor for all and the elimination of the achievement gap. We are working to accomplish this by trying to enhance initiatives such as the teaching and learning cycle, ALPs, planning collaboratively, monitoring student data and using this data to make adjustments instructionally, and full implementation of the common core standards in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Grades 3 through 5 will also be getting to know these standards, as well. All instruction is standards based.
Patch: How many new teachers are you getting this year? How many new students?
Otte: We have three classroom teachers new to the building: Noreen Hynes in 2nd grade, Lucy Abbott, in 3rd grade, and Allison Turner in 4th grade. Also new to the building are guidance counselor Amy Harris, part-time PE teacher Stephanie Legacy, part-time music teacher Barbara Gardner-Hudak, part-time media teacher Cynthia Novak, school psychologist Lisa Grant, and health room staff Elaine Pertucci, LPN, and Jane Lefavor, RN, Michele Walters, PPW, Laura Tingle TSA, Marjorie Craig lunch monitor, and George Guthrie computer technician. We are excited about our new staff that is joining the Windsor Farm Team.
Patch: Describe the atmosphere among faculty in these final days before school.
Otte: The atmosphere in the final days before school is one of excitement. With the onset of a new school year comes a great deal of energy. It is also a fast paced atmosphere as the staff is working to get things done so that we are ready for our students, and we are ready!