Principal of Royal Palm Beach High School, Dr Jesús Armas, told the Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board on Monday, September 13 that his school is dedicated to helping students succeed.
Armas, who served as the school principal for 12 years, said the school taught about the events of September 11, 2001.
“We talk about it a lot with our children, and none of them were born,” Armas said. “It’s new to them, and we’re trying to talk to them a little bit about what it means and what we can learn from it. I am thinking of the period immediately after September 11. Everyone was recovering and we were all in pain, but at this point it seemed like everyone was gathering. We put our differences aside and come together.
But he said the country is now deeply divided.
“We have a lot of repairs to do in our country. We have a lot of things that are great about it, but we have a lot of things that need to be fixed, ”said Armas, explaining that one of the goals of the school is to help restore a united nation.
“I have high hopes,” he said. “Every September 11th, I do a video presentation and tell them about the hope and hope they should have for our nation.”
However, education alone cannot give someone hope in the face of adversity.
“Not in high school, just because it doesn’t come naturally,” Armas said. “We can give the whole program in the world without having the hope that we want our children to have for themselves. “
He said students must work around racism, anxiety, trauma, bullying and learning challenges on a daily basis in order to be successful.
“We have to help them get through this, so that they can be successful and, more importantly, they have to be able to see themselves get to this point, because if they don’t have hope, we don’t have to come up.” said Armas.
Royal Palm Beach High School is dedicated to meeting the holistic needs of all students, through a three-tier system of culture, systems and education, he said, explaining that one way of giving l he hope for students is to give them a voice through cultural organizations.
“So many of our children are so disenfranchised that they have no voice,” Armas said.
The school gives students a voice by providing many organizations to participate in, including service and leadership organizations, academic / competitive activities, performances, and special interest groups they can participate in.
He said the presidents of all these organizations meet with him in a circle of presidents once a month. “I never miss this meeting,” Armas said. “In fact, if I have another meeting that I just can’t get out of, we’ll move the Presidents’ Circle meeting, so it doesn’t clash.”
The school has been able to double its counseling department to 12 in recent years, which has helped students immensely, he said.
At least a dozen graduates of Royal Palm Beach High School are now principals or vice-principals of local schools, he noted. “These are the types of people who give our children hope,” Armas said.
Other speakers at the meeting included Central Region Superintendent Valerie Zuloaga-Haines, who said schools and students are struggling to keep pace with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our hope is that the pandemic will reduce the number of cases fairly quickly rather than slowly,” she said. “We hope our students catch up and make sure they fill this gap, so we can get them where they need to be much faster. It will take several years to get students to where they need to be.
She said some research indicates that it will take three to five years to close the learning gap.
“For some of our high school students who are preparing to graduate in the next two or three years, we don’t have three to five years, so our efforts are ‘all over the bridge’,” Zuloaga said. Hates. “The beautiful thing is that our district is totally committed to investing enough money where it’s needed to support our schools and the work our students need to do to get there.”