Warren Elementary School principal Sam Krotinger is excited for the start of school. “I’m excited for it to actually happen,” he said.
Like other principals in the district, Krotinger has been working all summer to make Warren Elementary School pandemic ready. “It has been the busiest summer I’ve had in education without a doubt. I went into the summer with full understanding that it would be nonstop work summer,” he said.
The work Krotinger and his team have been directing involves facility updates, PPE purchases and student routine organizing in a way that makes activities conducive to social distancing. He also mentioned that while the school has been closed due to the coronavirus, the custodial staff were able to complete many projects. “The school has never looked better,” said Krotinger.
Now that the school is almost ready for students, Krotinger is just excited to have people in it. “I’m exited to see people, see the staff and see the students. Everyone is really looking forward to that,” said Krotinger. “It has been a real challenge for people to be disconnected.”
Krotinger supports the slow start four to one hybrid model that the district has planned for the first few weeks of school. The model requires students to work from home four days a week and come to school in-person one day a week. However, the student body will be split in half for in-person days, so staff will be teaching in the school building twice a week.
“I fully support the team’s decision to start with the four to one hybrid model. There’s so many moving parts and there’s so much planning, so having a soft opening really is the most responsible and safe way to start the school year,” said Krotinger.
Still, Krotinger said that his two major concerns about school this year are first, maintaining educational equity during remote learning and, second, ensuring the health of student and staff.
For parents still worried about sending their kids to school this year, Krotinger emphasized that his work to reopen Warren School has been driven by expert opinions. “Coming from someone who’s also a parent, everything that we have done around planning and logistics and mapping out what a safe and healthy start to the school year is has been based on direct advice from leading experts in health and school systems, and that’s what’s driven everything that we do. No decision is being made in a vacuum here.”
Krotinger entered his career in education as digital media teacher at Harwood Union High School (HUHS), where he started the school’s digital media program from scratch. “It was a challenging and rewarding experience,” said Krotinger about his time teaching and designing digital media at Harwood. During that time, Krotinger was invited to be a “teacher leader,” the term used for teachers who also play a role in administrative work. “That’s when I saw firsthand how impactful a motivated and positive leader can be in a learning community.”
From there, Krotinger applied to an assistant principal position at the high school, before eventually becoming principal at Warren Elementary School. “For me, moving to school leadership has been rewarding. Nothing has been more challenging in my life, but I’m a person who thrives with challenge,” he said. “And being able to transition to Warren School, which is my community school where both of my children have had exemplary experiences, has truly been an honor.”