The ABC's meet the Nine R's

AHSPrincipalDrChrisLordABCBoard_092012.jpg“I had no idea this existed!” exclaimed a surprised Dr. Christopher Lord, the new principal at Andover High School, at recent reception at Gabby and John Nossiffʼs house. Board members, host families and friends of ABC met with Dr. Lord to introduce him to the ABC program and to the young scholars currently attending AHS. While this was the first Dr. Lord had heard of the program, he noted that his experience working in inner city academic settings has given him a great appreciation for the many aspects of the ABC experience and the challenge of being a minority in a majority culture. Lord was impressed with the genesis of the program, its long, successful history here in Andover and, in particular, the young women currently attending his new school. Ex president and longtime board member Amy Joyall gave Dr. Lord a brief over view of the program, from the rigorous national selection process to the role of host families. Others described the large number of teachers at AHS who have been integral partners and the enormous number of volunteer hours it takes to ensure that these young women achieve parity with their Andover peers and gain the well rounded experience they need to shine in the increasingly competitive college landscape. Lord was particularly inspired by the sacrifice these young teensʼ families make letting their daughters live so far from home.

More AHS parents arrived for an evening of question and answer with Dr. Lord, who brings a strong sense of mission and high expectations for excellence to his new leadership position. An enthusiastic Lord explained that he believes that every strategy for fostering excellence in individual students and in institutions is embodied in the Nine Rs: Reading, 'Riting, Rʼthmetic, Rigor, Relevance, Relationships, Respect, Responsibility and Results. Lord plans to expand the grading system beyond a letter grade, adding a matrix of more qualitative evaluative inputs to each students' individual classroom work. He will also focus on a more open system where best practices will be shared and adopted by all teachers to create more consistency across the classroom experience. “ I visited 8 math classes last week. Each teacher was doing amazing work; these are exceptional educators but they were all teaching in isolation.” Lord touched on other topics including the concept of specialized inter-school academies, the focus on vocational funding streams, the benefits of the new 9th grade English curriculum, the multiple facets--including the teachersʼ perspective--on the change from a two to three block teaching schedule. Throughout, Lord came back to one of the most fundamental and crucial tasks ahead: creating a culture among faculty and staff, students and parents, in which everyone “owns” the core mission of Andover High School.

Lord acknowledged to the current parents of AHS students that change will be incremental but that there is something that students and parents can do immediately to support the turn around: rediscover and celebrate Andover High School spirit and pride. Go Warriors!