“Sometimes we’ve noticed that kids have a very difficult time expressing their gratitude and their thanks for the time that you spend and it’s just because they’ve never been taught how to express gratitude.” -Deniece Moss
I learned about today’s guest indirectly through a speaker at my Rotary Club. Stacey Legg, the Program Coordinator at Elevate Bay spoke at one of our meetings. Elevate Bay is an organization that works in the Bay County School District providing mentors for at-risk students. One of the schools she mentioned that needed mentors was West Bay Elementary which is about 10 minutes from our house.
Although Nancy and I had never had children and certainly didn’t know much about working with second and third graders, we signed up, went through the orientation, and were assigned students at West Bay. This September, we began our third year as mentors. The young student I met as a second grader will be a fourth grader in September.
So that’s how I became acquainted with Deniese Moss and the amazing work she is doing as the principal of West Bay Elementary School.
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“We have four houses: Courage, Harmony, Empathy, and Kindness, and how we chose those houses is, it’s really on our character education… [Our staff] really thought that we need to really instill students at an early age.” -Deniece Moss
[2:15] – We’re introduced to our guest, Deniece Moss, and learn what kind of an impact a mentor can make by spending 30 minutes a week with a student.
[3:40] – What does Deniece remember from her childhood that prepared her for the life she has today?
[4:19] – This is how Deniece has learned to incorporate faith into the public school system.
[5:32] – We learn about Deniece’s most influential teacher she had as a child and the best principal she ever worked for.
[8:42] – Deniece takes us back to 2015 and her decision to move to administration.
[10:30] – These are the measures that Deniece’s school takes for the safety of its students.
[11:41] – The demographics and culture at West Bay Elementary School, according to Deniece.
[14:00] – Deniece talks about the House System at West Bay.
[15:46] – We hear about the friendly competitions between Houses that result in charitable donations and drives for the school and community.
[17:10] – The “bumper sticker” for West Bay.
[19:12] – Deniece talks about the school’s interactions with parents.
[21:44] – What is the greatest challenge, controversy, or crisis Deniece and her team faced?
[24:10] – We hear what Deniece does to maintain a work/life balance.
[25:11] – Deniece reveals what she would do-over early in her life and also shares her advice for those following in her footsteps.
[26:45] – Tommy concludes the conversation.
“We teach the Florida standards that [we] are required to teach, but [we’re also] diving deeper and letting the kids think on their own, coming up with the right answer, and letting them explore.” -Deniece Moss
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