When Maria Cordon became principal of the Hennigan School in Jamaica Plain two years ago, she adopted ‘college readiness school’ as the school’s tagline.
“My dream as a principal has been giving my children the best, creating an atmosphere of high expectations and making everyone here see that all our children can be college bound,” said Cordon.
Setting high expectations, striving to be leaders and believing that college is within every child’s grasp is part of the atmosphere at the Hennigan School.
And when President Faust joined Principal Maria Cordon on Tues. Nov. 13th as “Principal for a Day,” a program created by Boston Plan for Excellence in the Boston Public Schools to bring business, civic and educational leaders into schools, Cordon said Faust’s visit was icing on the cake.
“Having President Faust here is supporting my dream of creating a school of high expectations and encouraging college-bound students in our community,” said Cordon.
The day was an opportunity for Cordon to walk the halls on her daily routine with Faust by her side, from morning announcements to classroom visits. It was also a chance to showcase what strong leadership and best practices can do.
When Maria Cordon became principal of the Hennigan School, she brought with her longstanding Harvard connections fostered during her leadership at her previous school. She has continued to strengthen those connections with Harvard at the Hennigan School. Harvard provides support in the areas of leadership and professional development, family engagement, academic support during out-of-school time and science mentoring. The Harvard Graduate School of Education, School of Applied Science and Engineering and Public Affairs and Communications are Harvard partners at the Hennigan School during this school year.
Cordon also brings her own special passion for building a strong school community centered around student achievement. She has put a premium on teacher collaboration, encouraging teachers to share best practices in lesson planning, and promoting higher-level thinking. The school has adopted Open Circle, a system that encourages positive classroom behavior and communication.
She has created monthly Family Fridays and hosted family nights, where parents and teachers can talk about curriculum and ways families can support academic achievement at home and college readiness.
Despite the challenges of an urban school, Cordon is a leader seeking to inspire.
“This school is so diverse, it’s the United Nations here. I’ve always wanted to give my students the best and make sure they know and their parents know that the Hennigan School is a place where children can flourish and become great leaders,” said Cordon.
“We’ll continue to marinate the children with the college bound mentality,” she added.