One-day principals show Donoghue students how far they can go in lifeWilliam Harms
A class of fourth graders at the Donoghue campus of the University Charter School listened attentively as the visitor to their classroom on Thursday, Nov. 2, read the story, Oh the Places You’ll Go. They would soon learn that this visitor, William Daley, who was serving as a Principal for a Day, had an interesting story of his own to tell about the places he has gone.
As Daley read Dr. Seuss’ story about making a journey full of challenges and full of hope, he paused frequently for discussion, asking the students about the places they would like to visit and if they had ever been scared while on their own journeys. He then read the concluding line, which always reminds readers, “Today is your day.”
Daley looked over the 25 young faces in his audience and asked the students what the book meant. “The book is about the choices you make,” one boy suggested. Other students quickly joined in with their own observations about the importance of making good decisions in life’s journey. The more they talked, the more they became interested in Daley’s personal story. Yes, he told them, he had met the President of the United States and even worked for President Clinton. Yes, Daley said, he had been on television, and no, he has never taken a cruise on a big boat.
After posing for a photograph with the students, he continued his visit in the school classrooms. As Chairman of the Midwest Region of J.P. Morgan Chase, Daley was invited to the school because of the bank’s support of the community schools program Donoghue operates.
Community schools programs, such as Donoghue’s, are strongly tied to their neighborhoods and link the school, family and community in order to strengthen relationships and provide opportunities that benefit students, parents and community residents.
The School of Social Service Administration at the University launched a program to provide education and training for social workers to fulfill new and expanding roles in schools such as Donoghue. SSA graduate Lo Patrick is a social worker at Donoghue and works with one SSA student intern at the school.
The director of Donoghue Nicole Woodard Iliev introduced Daley to the school with a tour before he made his rounds to classrooms. Todd Barnett, Director of Family and Community Engagement at Donoghue School, joined them. Barnett serves as the liaison between Donoghue School and the SSA Community Schools Program, which also is supported by J.P. Morgan Chase.
Daley made time to sit and talk with students about their reading and art projects, and to look in on classes in which students were working on projects. In one classroom, students were learning about the weather and reporting conditions in cities across the country. The students were assigned to follow conditions in cities and write down weather facts on a map.
Iliev said Principal for a Day is valuable for the students because “it provides them with a chance to meet leaders in the community. It will be a memorable opportunity for our students. Principal for a Day also gives our visitors a chance to learn about the schools in a personal way.”
Daley said he was pleased with his visit. “I noticed two things, one being the seriousness of the students, and also their curiosity, which was demonstrated in all the questions they had.”
Daley was joined by three other visitors from the community, who also were serving as Principals for a Day: Raymond Cullen, Director of the Physical Plant for the University; Warren Chapman, Vice Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Ron Zinnerman, Vice President for J.P. Morgan Chase.