By Eric Erickson
With the 2021-2022 academic year set to begin in September, Como Park Senior High School Principal Kirk Morris is planning for what he hopes is a more “normal” school experience.
As the Bugle went to press, the COVID delta variant was increasing and the St. Paul School Board was voting on a mask mandate suggested by the superintendent.
Principal Morris said he is prepared to adjust Como’s protocols and procedures, as prescribed by district and state guidelines issued, with evolving public health concerns during the pandemic.
There was plenty of practice for adaptability during the 2020-2021 school year, which was the first for Morris at Como.
“Being a first-year, high school principal in a pandemic was challenging,” Morris said. “Despite the challenges of transitioning from distance learning to on-site support and then to in person learning, it was a great first year. My most memorable day of the school year was April 14 (the first day of in person learning).”
Morris has spent over two decades in education as a teacher, coach and administrator. The 2021-2022 school year will be his eighth as a principal. He anticipates his second year at Como will allow him more opportunity to see in person, classroom learning as opposed to virtual classes.
“I look forward to spending time in classrooms with students and staff. Witnessing students learning in their classrooms has always been a highlight of my job as a principal.”
As for academic offerings and programs, Morris is excited for the students.
“We continue to have one of the strongest AP (Advanced Placement) programs in our district,” he said. “In addition, we continue to have high level CIS (College in the Schools) courses. This school year we have added a CIS Spanish course. Other new academic offerings are: Medical Careers Exploration, Sustainable Foods, Critical Ethnic Studies and Intro to Urban Education.”
Morris was familiar with many of Como’s strengths when he started as principal a year ago. But he said he has developed more appreciation for Como’s attributes during the past year.
“Como is a very diverse school that is not too large and is not too small. Our students are hardworking and kind to each other. Our teachers and support staff are collaborative and growth oriented. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in extracurricular activities.
“Every student at Como is able to find their niche in our academic programming as well as our extracurricular activities. We have something for everyone!”
Eric Erickson, a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High, is a regular freelance contributor to the Bugle.