Flex Academies President Joshua Chernikoff interviewed Trish McGuire, principal of Julian Curtiss Elementary School, in Greenwich, Connecticut. McGuire expressed how the first year transitioning with Flex has been a smooth one. The partnership has provided a means for a very diverse student body to come together and be able to participate in many enrichment programs.
Flex Academies: Give us your thoughts on the partnership between Flex Academies and your school.
Trish McGuire: The partnership with Flex Academies and Julian Curtiss has been a positive one. This is our first year in partnership with Flex and so far things seem to be working out well. I find it to be organized. I love the fact that there is one monitor that is hired. This is different than when we managed our PTA Afters in the past, where we had a different monitor every day. As a principal, I often had to become involved with what was going on because people weren’t as accustomed and prepared to deal with the day-to-day business here at school.
FA: When we seek out schools, we always like to find schools where enrichment is important to the school and the community, and especially the principal. From your standpoint, why is afterschool enrichment important?
TM: Afterschool enrichment is important for all of our student body, but here at Julian Curtiss we have a very diverse student body. We represent many different cultural backgrounds and many different socioeconomic backgrounds. We have students at our school that could very easily access these classes on their own through their families, and then we have a population that wouldn’t be able to access this kind of enrichment outside of our school walls. So it really is important to our community to have this available at our school and then, it’s a continuation of our day. When I say that I have two different student bodies, they come together in the afternoon and enjoy each other’s company again for an extended part of the day and participate in these enrichment programs.
FA: Sounds like you have a lot of variety when it comes to students at your school and we aim, especially at Julian Curtiss, to have a lot of variety in the afterschool program. Can you kind of give us a bird’s-eye view as principal, of what it’s like to walk around and see all these different activities and these kids having a blast after school?
TM: Seeing the kids after school is a very positive experience. We have a very positive atmosphere here at Julian Curtiss anyway, but after school it’s a little bit more relaxed and I walk around and some of the children are working with animals in one classroom, and the other classroom they are taking dance, and then some are in gym and doing sports and they are very excited to be participating with their friends in something after school. It’s just very enjoyable to see the kids having fun here in our building.
FA: It sounds like to me, and this is what we see and hear in a lot of our programs, that the socialization is really one of the most important parts and you guys are seeing it at Julian Curtiss. Is that true?
TM: That is true. We do see that and often what will happen is that someone here has someone signed up for a class and they go home and talk to their parents and say ‘Please can I sign up too? Johnny is signed up for this and Mary is signed up for that and I want to be with them and I want to do that!’ They get very excited and want to join in as well.
FA: We appreciate your support. Julian Curtiss is a wonderful school, so hats off to you and thank you for your time.
TM: Thank you, Josh. Have a good day.
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