Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

July 19, 2012

Smarties for Success: New AHS leader arrives

As people zip by his office, working to change Andover High to its 3-and-3 teaching model, newly-hired principal Chris Lord sits at a table, unwrapping a pack of Smarties.

The tart candies played a positive role at his former school, and Lord hopes they'll help make his Andover office a welcoming place.

"Several teachers really like Smarties, so I got some to encourage them to come to my office," said Lord, two weeks into his AHS career.

"I used to give Smarties to kids [at his previous school, Shea High School in in Pawtucket, R.I] before tests. There's all this psychological stuff you can play with. They felt like they do better. Did they do better on the tests? I have no idea. But if they thought they could be more successful by having Smarties... Fine," he said.

Since starting in Andover on July 1, Lord has met teachers, parents and students to get a feel for what they think about Andover High. He's even met with Andover parents in their homes, talking with them over dinner.

"My first day, I sent out an email to the entire learning community — parents, kids, teachers — and I said, 'Let's start talking,'" said Lord. "The emotional extremism of this past year has been a challenge, and people want to try to realign their compasses if you will, and try to get to a happier space where they can really feel like they can celebrate their school for all of the wonderful things that it has."

MEETING THE COMMUNITY

Lord believes meeting with people at their homes helps them to open up.

"That's where we can get a really good feel," said Lord. "When people are in their homes, they feel more at ease and feel comfortable sharing with me what they really want to keep going at Andover, what they want to celebrate, some of the elements of the culture that's really cool, and some of the stuff that needs our attention."

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