The end of this school year also marks the end of the first year Knoxville High School has been without a vice principal, and instead relied on deans. The KHS deans (Ashlee Duimstra, Caroline Jones and Ryan Klein) provided a progress report to the school board Tuesday night.
Klein said the three missions of the deans were to provide discipline, relationships and guidance for the students. To the deans, you cannot divide these three things; they are all connected. It is only when the deans utilize these three things to form a bond with the students. When that bond is formed, the deans are better able to help the students achieve their academic, social and other goals. They are able to get to the root of the students’ issues to help the students overcome them.
Duimstra said many students have mental health issues. Klein has had a student approach him about suicidal thoughts.
Though the deans are taking on more emotionally supportive roles, Jones said the guidance function is still happening. They still assist with testing and help the students find the ever-increasing opportunities to earn college credits while still in high school. The Class of 2013 was one of the smallest in KHS history, but more students earned honors diplomas this year than ever before. The deans also assisted the students with checking their credits to be sure they had met the requirements to receive their diplomas.
“It just helps to have three people working on that,” Jones said.
Duimstra discussed the deans’ roles in discipline and holding the students accountable in their classes.
“That’s a good way to build relationships,” Duimstra said. “We really think it’s gone well.”