Principal Reginald Bush knew it was “challenge accepted” when he was named principal at Kashmere High School, an Achieve 180 campus, prior to the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
On a typical school day at Kashmere, you can find Bush in his signature military-style fatigues, mingling with students in the halls and checking in with teachers and staff to monitor the ongoing instruction happening in classrooms.
“From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew that I needed to focus on supporting the teachers, building their toolkits and modeling effective practices that would quickly move the data,” Bush said. “I built the campus’ culture on the idea of ‘No Teacher Left Behind,’ and I wanted to make sure we kept the human element at the forefront of everything we did with our faculty and students.”
Bush inherited one of the district’s most longstanding underserved schools, where the clock was ticking for an academic turnaround for the Improvement Required campus. However, the 20-year veteran leader took on the challenge with a wealth of experience to lean on, including leading Kashmere Gardens Elementary School from Improvement Required to Met Standard.
In one year, Bush’s strong emphasis on relationship-building and consistency had a trickle-down effect from campus leadership to students, placing Kashmere on track and closer to a removal from the state’s Improvement Required list.
Positive news for Kashmere HS
With pressure looming from the state and the community, the state announced this week the removal of Kashmere from the Improvement Required list, which has cast a shadow on the campus since 2008.
“This is an announcement that has been long coming for Kashmere, and today we celebrate the students and teachers for their continued commitment in defying the odds, even when we had our backs against the wall,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “As we continue to rebuild the culture of Kashmere, this celebration also signals that we are on our way to developing an even greater trust and commitment to the Kashmere community.”
At the start of the 2018-2019 school year and Achieve 180’s second year of implementation, the program backed Bush’s efforts to develop an aggressive and systematic approach that was heavily centered around placing a network of individuals directly in the classroom.
“Prior to the school year, we took a hard look at Kashmere‘s data in specific content areas to create a customizable plan that supported Principal Bush and moved the needle quickly and efficiently,” Achieve 180 Area Superintendent Felicia Adams said. “Collaboratively, the turnaround plan directly supported teachers in the classroom with an increased number of teacher development specialists while also providing additional supportive resources such as on-hand tutors to our students. Essentially, there was a revolving learning environment happening on both ends at the same time.”
In May, Bush had the honor of leading more than 147 graduating seniors on their final victory lap as they switched their tassels that commemorated them as the largest graduating class the district had seen in recent years at Kashmere.
“We are proving to the community that our students and teachers have what it takes to be successful when given the right opportunities and resources,” Bush said. “Once leadership does its part in gaining trust from teachers and students and our students start to believe themselves, success is inevitable.”