Success Outside the Classroom
Scripps Ranch High School is a special community in and of itself. In order to get “A Look Inside,” SRHS seniors write about their campus. This month Juliana Brozio (right) shows us what the future may hold for Falcons as she shares her interview with new principal Nicole DeWitt. Juliana was a competitive figure skater until her junior year when she was injured. She is the SRHS yearbook copy editor and wants to pursue a career in journalism or writing.
The biggest change that Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) students have experienced so far this year is getting a new principal. Even though the students and staff may experience changes on campus, Mrs. Nicole DeWitt brings an extensive background that makes her extremely qualified to be our principal, and many students are happy with her and the direction she is taking our school.
I wanted to learn more about Principal DeWitt and her plans for SRHS, so I sat down with her for an interview. Principal DeWitt has worked in education for 16 years, mainly in the Grossmont High School District. She started her career teaching Spanish and eventually moved on to teach freshman English, before becoming the vice principal at Valhalla High School. I think Principal DeWitt’s background in teaching will help her relate to students, as she has viewed education from both a teaching and an administrative perspective.
Principal DeWitt’s background and passion for education has prepared her well for her new position. She views her job as a “challenge,” which is something she “really enjoys.” While she acknowledges it will take time for her to see how things run at SRHS, she’s embracing her new job. “I am someone who likes puzzles and problem solving, so it is always fun for me to come into a new situation and figure out how I can help make things better,” she explains. She wants to use her problem-solving skills to “figure out what we need to do to be the best we can be.”
As far as making changes, Principal DeWitt has several ideas. She has met with people who want to see changes and who haven’t had the opportunity in the past to make things happen. “The biggest thing I want to focus on is school culture and climate. Everyone says really great things about Scripps, but there is not anything that is our signature mark. I want to figure out what makes someone a Falcon, what are the characteristics of a Falcon, how do we celebrate when students are exhibiting those characteristics, and how do we do that publicly,” she explains.
Currently, there is not much celebrating of students other than their academics. “Up to this point, a lot of the focus at Scripps is on test scores, but I think we need to start focusing on other positive things that our students and staff are doing on a daily basis,” Principal DeWitt explains.
Having been a student at SRHS for the past three years, I agree and have experienced this firsthand. I think it would be great to turn some of the focus on other amazing things students do at our school besides their grades and test scores. So many of our students have unique talents and experiences, and it would be beneficial to showcase them publicly.
Principal Dewitt also shared some of her long-term goals for SRHS. She wants to “make sure that every student has an opportunity to be successful,” whether that is by providing more AP courses or even offering support groups on campus for students who need more help. She stresses that she wants to “figure out how to put different systems in place so that every student’s needs are met” and every Falcon can be successful.
Principal DeWitt would like to see the SRHS community “celebrating each other and celebrating diversity.” She wants to focus on “putting school pride and school spirit into place,” because right now, it’s not emphasized.
As a senior I think that focusing on building a positive culture and more school pride is exactly what students need. Being a Falcon should mean more than just getting good grades and doing well on tests. It is important for students to feel a connection to their school and to feel as though they are part of something bigger. Having pride and spirit will make school a better place to be for most students and can lighten the stress of high school.
SRHS senior Mia Tomasula agrees that school spirit is something students and staff at SRHS can improve on. Regarding Principal DeWitt’s plan, Mia says, “I think that school spirit is something that a lot of students complain about but they are never really willing to take steps to improve it, or they don’t know how…So I think that having someone in the administration that is willing to work toward more school pride will have a big impact on the climate and culture of the school as a whole.”
Senior Danielle Dixon agrees. “I think that SRHS is highly regarded in terms of academics but we’re not known for our spirit…I think that having an enthusiastic student body would make the school an even better place to be. I support Principal DeWitt’s plan, and I am excited to see the changes to come,” Danielle says.
Principal DeWitt’s enthusiastic attitude, background in education, and desire to make SRHS a better place in terms of climate and spirit really excites me. I believe that having a principal who is willing to focus on students’ needs outside of the classroom is what SRHS needs. I am sure Mrs. DeWitt’s plans for the future will lead to even more student success. I really look forward to seeing her plans for our school succeed.
Juliana Brozio, SRHS Senior