BY JIM MASTERS — EDUCATION REPORTER
LANSING, Ill. (July 26, 2021) — The new principal at Reavis Elementary will be a familiar face when students begin the new school year on August 18.
Patrice Booth, formerly Reavis’ assistant principal, is now at the helm. She succeeds Dave Kostopoulos, who was named Executive Director of Curriculum & Assessment for Lansing School District 158.
Stepping up for students
“Being an assistant principal truly prepared me on so many levels to understand the culture and the staff, which is a very warm and caring staff,” Booth said. “They work very hard and are always concerned about what is best for students.”
As assistant principal for the past two years, Booth said she is strongly focused on “managing student behaviors.”
“I really tried to teach students ways of being kind and really choosing to be kind, as opposed to causing conflict, which is something students kind of struggle with,” she said.
Booth explained that one of her techniques is teaching students to openly discuss their feelings and talk about what’s bothering them, rather than reacting in a negative way.
“I would always pull students aside and ask them what was upsetting them and really give them time to speak and say what they’re feeling,” she explained. “I would discuss with the student that it’s okay to think differently, but it’s not okay to force what you feel on someone else.”
Helping kids catch up
Booth said she is looking forward to implementing new reading and math programs, as well as a parents forum to discuss student testing strategies and how they can come together for the success of students. She acknowledged some students may be behind in their learning due to the pandemic, which required virtual instruction over much of the past school year.
“My goal is to really close the learning gap,” she said. “Having students in front of you learning is so different, and I want to ensure that this year and in the years to come we really embed lots of reading and math instruction.”
Booth added that Reavis will assess students on a case-by-case basis, noting that many parents have worked diligently with their children so that there were no gaps in learning.
“Many of our students do have that support system, parents who have been with them every step of the way, coming in and grabbing supplies and books and just ensuring that they played every part they could,” she said. “You also have students who don’t have as much support, but we are here to ensure that all students are successful.”
The Reavis “family”
Booth describes Reavis as “very student-centered,” which she says is a testament to a dedicated and caring group of teachers and staff. “It’s more like a family here.”
For Reavis’ approximately 430 returning students, as well as their parents, Booth offers a message of encouragement: “We are very excited and look forward to achieving more success. What we ask is that students come with an open mind and the excitement to learn. We are here to help all of our students be their best selves each and every day.”
In choosing Booth for the job, Dr. Nathan Schilling, District 158 Superintendent of Schools, noted her experience as not only as assistant principal, but as a dean of students, reading specialist, and elementary school teacher.
“We feel very confident that Patrice will be able to sustain the culture of excellence at Reavis that we built under Dave,” he said. “Patrice has shown that she has excellent parent and family relationships, and we believe she will take it to a new level.”
Reavis Elementary is located at 17121 Roy Street, Lansing, IL.
- District 158 passes COVID-19 mitigation resolution (July 25, 2021)
- District 158 continues to invest in early childhood education with Lester Crawl project (July 24, 2021)