Many of you know Mr. Hyden’s previous role here as your Assistant Principal, but few know his tenure prior to that — this is his 10th year in education, having started as a middle and high school science teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District. He originally started coaching back in Georgia and then decided to return to school and get his teaching credential in Biological Sciences. As he continued to teach, he had a number of additional roles: Department Lead, EL Coordinator, Teacher-in-Charge, Summer School Principal, and eventually Assistant Principal. Before the birth of his first child, he commuted nightly to the University of the Pacific to complete his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration and he’s extremely grateful for the chance to serve Cordova High School. He believes it is indeed a phenomenal school and having worked in two previous districts, he definitely knows this to be true.
Antoinette Aho: Mr. Hyden, as the new Principal of Cordova High, what is your vision for the school in the upcoming years?
Jerad Hyden: This is indeed a complicated question and one in which I would have to submit a lengthy response; as an example, when I interviewed for the position I had to submit my Vision and it was over 12 pages long! Do not worry — I will save our readers the agony (and the paper) it would take to review. With that said, our Vision centers on supporting students with engaging and high-quality instruction and through building meaningful relationships with our students. I really want to make sure all of the students know who their Principal is and have frequent opportunities (just like this) to interact.
A.A: Are there any school policies that you’d like to change or modernize? For example: Open Campus or food deliveries to campus.
J.H: There are a ton that come to mind — many of which we are currently working on with stakeholder input. For example, making the below listed changes to our Dress Code Policy, revamping our Electronic Use Policy for cell phones to better support integration within the classroom, Code of Conduct, our Truancy framework, and providing more access to supports for students to name a few. I see both of your examples revolve around food, so clearly students have some other ideas as well. 🙂
A.A: Hahaha, we had a question from our ‘Ask the Free Lancer’ forum concerning the dress code, can you give our readers some insight on “why the dress code is more enforced and focused on girls rather than boys?”
J.H: Great question – one I asked myself as well this last year as an Assistant Principal. In reviewing our CHS Dress Code, we made some significant changes to provide better alignment and ensure students met our professional dress standards but were not unjustly targeted and sent out of class. We have revised the CHS Dress Code to move away from holes (an area that was found much more often in female clothing) and to match up with our policy on exposed areas that did not meet our length requirement (at fingertips or below with arms extended). We have already experience a huge drop in dress code infractions and as a result, experienced more instructional time to support students.
A.A: I agree with your statement, I think students clothing should remain professional and, to an extent, modest, while girls and boys alike can still dress fashionably if they wish.
My next question for you concerns the atmosphere at schools relating to teacher and staff relationships with students. As a past teacher, and current administrator, do you feel like you can connect with your students in a way that isn’t too personal but still understanding or do you feel a disconnect because of a negative paradigm between the adults and the kids at school?
J.H: As in any profession which requires a certain level of customer service, our role here is only possible through the direct interaction with students. I firmly believe that our staff, including myself, can make connections with our students that works to find a correct balance. Only through establishing this balance can we support your acquisition of skills and the content knowledge to be successful after high school.
A.A: The last question comes from another student (submitted through the anonymous Ask the Free Lancer forum), they asked us, “Why does Cordova let teachers disrespect students but get on kids for disrespecting them?”
J.H: I am saddened to hear this question as clearly we are not meeting the expectations required of our teachers and staff. Rest assured, we definitely do not support disrespect of any kind – whether it be from a student, staff member, or teacher. We work hard to build relationships with our Lancers and understand that misunderstandings, and often stress can present a breakdown in communication. I would encourage any student to speak with their teachers first to alleviate any issues and if possible, to do it outside of class time (before/after school or lunch). If a student is still feeling unheard and upset, have them connect with our Assistant Principal Secretary Ms. Webb who can take a statement and have a member of our Administration review for further support.
A.A: I think it’s essential for students and staff to reach a level of respect with one another, even if they don’t all enjoy each other. As the year progresses we can only hope that this issue is solved by both students and teachers working together. I want to thank you for your time, Mr. Hyden, I’m looking forward to the next interview with you from the Principal’s Desk!
J.H: As am I… huge shout out to Ms. Linares and your team Antoinette for reviving our school newspaper. Looking forward to reading all the great stories from our Lancers!
Thank you for reading Lancers! From the Principal’s Desk will cover topics that the student body wishes to hear more information on, directly from Mr. Hyden himself. Remember to submit your questions (for this segment or anything you’d like the paper to write about) to the Free Lancer here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScFfd660QU-G3yXvmLc5qk5P97tu1jcAc6n3YDYGRIpFd1DJw/viewform