Tuesday, December 5, 2023

GMS prepares for campus initiatives with a new ‘team’


Granbury Middle School Principal Andy Smith is ready for a new school year, a fresh clean slate, and a new “team.”

Embodying the persona of a baseball coach, Smith likes to use the analogy of comparing a new school year at GMS to the Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season.

"You have all of these grand ideas and aspirations, and it's just a chance to see all the hard work that you put in over the summer come to fruition," Smith explained. “That’s the baseball coach in me — every year is a different year, and you have a new team, so we’re putting the team together and seeing what happens.”

Smith said for this year, the biggest initiative for GMS is a program called Capturing Kids’ Hearts, launching district-wide in the fall.

Capturing Kids’ Hearts is a program that equips professionals in K-12 education to implement transformational processes focused on social-emotional wellbeing, relationship-driven campus culture, and student connectedness, according to the website.

"It's a program that's been around for a long time, and I've actually been a part of implementing it at several other districts,” Smith explained. “It's a program that provides a little bit of accountability for students for their behavior, but it's (mainly) about establishing relationships with students, and there's more of a collegial working relationship in the classroom where there's an accountability piece. There's less time spent on classroom management and classroom disruptions.”

With about 17 new staff members, and an enrollment of about 850 students, Smith added that he will also continue to tackle GMS’s biggest challenge this year: academics.

"We want to give our students all the experiences that we can give them as far as education, reading, writing, math, and challenging them to be successful," he said. "We want them to be prepared for whatever that next level holds for them in high school, but just holding them accountable and challenging them to be successful academically is something that we fight with every day.”

Additionally, Smith said he is excited about some of the new programs that GMS has initiated over the past few years, including Pirate Pride awards and Pirate Parties.

"We finished the year out with a Pirate Party at Ranger Stadium, so just continuing to see students excited about being here at GMS and being a part of what we're doing probably gets me fired up more than anything,” he added.

Although Smith is now known as the “post-COVID principal,” he said that GMS is a “good place to be,” and he is ready to begin his third year as principal.

He added, “I'm excited about GMS and where we're heading.”