Meet Two Women Who Made This Year Possible

Caroline Look, Editor-in-Chief

Renee Reynolds, Assistant Principal for Instructional Programs, makes the students’ schedules, changing periods and classes as needed.

This year, due to numerous schedule changes, this task was done multiple times.

In January, for example, she, alongside her administrative assistants, created 23 full remote sections (classes).

As a result of this change, she had to “revise probably close to 600 students’ schedules.”

Melinda Roberts, Assistant Principal for Student Life, commended her work on the schedules.

“So normally she would do one [schedule] in a year, and that’s a full time job…It was insane how much she had to do to get ready to make sure that numbers and classes were balanced,” said Roberts.

North asked families to pick between remote or hybrid and eventually fully in-person learning three times throughout the year.

“Three different times, our campus makeup changed, which required her to create new [classes] and balance,” said Roberts.

In Roberts’s words, Reynolds worked “to make sure that all of our students that were in person were in front of as many teachers that were in person.”

Reynolds was also in charge of allocating spaces around the school to one per teacher during remote learning.

“Every teacher had to have their own individualized teaching space, so no two people could be in the same classroom. They couldn’t be teaching virtual lessons at the same time and [have] that noise be picked up. So I had to look throughout the space in the building and assign everyone a space,” said Reynolds.

She worked to ensure teachers had “back-to-back classes in the same classroom,” said Reynolds.

Likewise, Reynolds made it so every remote class had a room monitor. 

“I worked with one of the administrative assistants and every day, we hired, and we made sure that there were room monitors [when] the teacher was remote. We made sure there was a room monitor in every single classroom, every single period of every single day,” said Reynolds.

  “Which doesn’t sound like a big deal. But when you have sometimes 30 teachers that are full remote and having to navigate through that, or when there’s people that are sick, or people are quarantined, it is a lot to have to navigate through,” she continued.

She additionally spearheaded the rollout of Teach More, which she described as “the online platform where teachers could send invitations, or students could request time to come in during extended learning sessions.”

“So I was instrumental in helping get that up and going and communicating that with staff and with families. And again, I had another administrative assistant behind the scenes helping me with that,” added Reynolds.

Reynolds thanked her fellow staff members for all their help.

“If it wasn’t for the families, for the students that were excited to be back in school and willing to follow the guidelines, if it wasn’t for the maintenance staff, if it wasn’t for the administrative assistants, if it wasn’t for the teachers, this year could have looked very different. And I’m just proud to work with the people that I work with and to be a North Star,” said Reynolds.

Renee Reynolds (left) and Melinda Roberts (right) made tremendous efforts to help North function as its best. (Caroline Look)

Melinda Roberts, Assistant Principal for Student Life, is, as she explained, the “logistics person for most of the events here at school.” 

So when those events needed to be replanned due to Covid, she had her work cut out for her.

For instance, last March, when the pandemic shut everything down, the state mandated a stay-at-home order. However, the governor added, “but every student should have the opportunity to come into school and get their things and drop off their materials,” Roberts said.

Roberts created a plan to allow all students the opportunity to come into school and pick up anything they may need or left behind.

She had to consider the amount of students in the building, the amount of time they were there, organizing what supervising adult would be where, what would happen if a student missed their time and more.

Soon after, a similar planning process started for materials pick up days.

She also oversaw the spatial organization of the classrooms. To fit within CDC guidelines, all chairs must be six feet apart.

“When we came back in October, she had worked with the maintenance team, and we had to make sure every chair was set up six feet social distanced. And so you may see those blue dots in the classroom, on tables and so forth. So those were put on tables and on the floor, so that we knew everyone was six feet apart,” said Renee Reynolds, Assistant Principal for Instructional Programs. 

The same was done when we went back to everyday in-person learning.

“Every time we changed a schedule and more kids could come back, we had to do that building-wide,” said Roberts.

Roberts also worked on the logistics of parking.

This year, due to the A/B schedule, sophomores were given the ability to drive to school, causing a readjustment to the way parking passes were distributed.

Reynolds described Roberts’ work as the “pieces that people don’t see. It was the setup of the classrooms, working with the maintenance team to make sure we had enough furniture, to make sure all seats were [at] the appropriate social distancing.”

Roberts and Reynolds worked alongside each other throughout the year.

“She also worked with me when I looked at the number of students coming back, she worked with me to identify the classroom capacity [for] every single classroom in the building. She worked with me to look at where we could have spaces big enough for our study halls because they are bigger than they normally would be,” said Reynolds.

Roberts described the people she worked with this year as “amazing.” 

“It’s a team sport, and I so appreciate and value and love this team so, so very much because we get to work with you guys, as students, and we get to work with this incredible staff. We know we’re lucky because as a high-functioning high school, it’s special to be here. And I just say to them that we’re a good team together, and that I’m proud and honored to work with them is really kind of what I want to say at the end of the day because this is such a great place,” said Roberts.