‘That’s the end result’: An excerpt from a transcribed interview with Mr. Morgan Nolan, Principal


Right at the beginning of the year, we had the lecture in the auditorium regarding school rules. What went into holding that meeting and holding it right away?

When I was in student services, we did those meetings with classes at some point in time. We hadn’t had those because of Covid and getting kids together. So I had asked student services—I think we need to jump on this opportunity and have some early-on meetings, get kids together, make sure they understand expectations and procedures so that there’s transparency. My opinion’s always been that students will follow the rules if they know the rules. 

Are you planning to continue the morning announcements? Yes. Why would you like to?

The first reason is culture. It’s hard for me to be visible in the school at all times. I love getting in classrooms. I love being out in the hallways. I went into public education to be around students. That’s really hard to do as principal at times. When I went to the middle school, they said, ‘You got to do these announcements to start the day.’ At first, I was like, ‘why do we do this?’ but I found that it was a good way for students to build some auditory connection with me as a person. Whether I like being the figurehead of a school or not, that’s the role I serve. 

We are required by law to do the Pledge of Allegiance in Indiana and a moment of silence. So that’s a quick way to kind of knock that out. We can speculate the underlying reasons for a moment of silence. But from my standpoint, as someone who really believes in meditation and mindfulness, here’s a chance to just stop for a second. Take a few deep breaths, focus on my day in front of me—there’s a lot of science that backs that up.

From a student standpoint, what do you want students to know about the changes you’ve made? And any changes you plan to make in the future?

The thing that I hope that the PLC process will do the most is help students feel that they’re getting a more individualized educational experience, and that teachers are really trying to meet their needs. I think students feel strongly that, ‘I can pick classes and I want to meet my needs. I want to take AP English, but I don’t want to take AP US History.’ But within that class, do they feel that they’re getting a genuine experience that meets their needs? That’s the end result—better instruction to the classroom, more individualized instruction, more responding to students’ needs, and less setting benchmarks and when students fail to get there being like, ‘Well, they just fail to get there.’ How are we responding to that?