School Talk

Mr. Black Has Got Their Back

One parent said her son wasn’t successful or able to get the help he needed in a private school. Now, she said, “He can’t wait for Monday.” 

It’s hard to imagine a more powerful statement about the impact of a school leader than one about a a child being unable to wait for Monday because he loves school so much but that’s happening during Bill Black’s first year as principal of West Broadway Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island.

Many in Rhode Island are now familiar with Mr. Black who was just awarded the First Year Principal of the year award for the Ocean State. If his Twitter presence is any indication, this guy’s enthusiasm for the job, appreciation for kids and staff, and commitment to doing right by kids just might be unmatched.

Culture Matters @WestBroadwayMS Friday Focus 4-22-2016 via @YouTube

— Bill Black (@BillBlackRI) April 22, 2016

Packed house of kids and families breaking bread-Honors Assembly @WestBroadwayMS #studentgrowth #culturematters

— Bill Black (@BillBlackRI) May 7, 2016

Every Saturday our STEM group is growing Our kids LOVE to learn+ @WestBroadwayMS we make it happen @RoseArose200082

— Hilary Lundgren (@miss_lundgren5) April 30, 2016

— Bill Black (@BillBlackRI) April 29, 2016

We model this for OUR KIDS @WestBroadwayMS and with the right level of support OUR KIDS will SUCCEED in LIFE.

— Bill Black (@BillBlackRI) April 24, 2016

Accolades for Black abound from all stakeholder groups; his impact is palpable and even I, as a mere follower of his on Twitter, have been in awe of his enthusiasm and love of the work. His words, photos, and videos tell the story of something unique and special happening at West Broadway Middle School.  

Students, teachers and parents describe Black as inspirational, courageous, and humble, according to the Providence School Department. In just over a year, West Broadway has seen significant student growth in student performance and leads the district in student growth on local tests in English and math. Black attributes this to a focus on teacher training, strong hiring practices, and a lot of time and effort from his entire team. 

And this has been no small (or easy) task:  

Black was asked to open a new school with all of the tasks that go with it, from hiring staff to filling rooms with furniture. He reached out to colleges and universities, not only securing donations but also establishing partnerships, according to the school department. Whether reading his Friday Focus to reflect on teaching practices, viewing “Sundays with Bill” on YouTube, or answering the phone to hear one of his rap-style school promotions, Black has promoted the school’s mission, the department said.

And this, from his colleagues, students, and a parent: 

Fellow administrators say he “always puts students first, creates conditions for students and teachers to be leaders, and has no ego.”Students said, “He knows how to talk to kids. He actually listens to student ideas. One parent said her son wasn’t successful or able to get the help he needed in a private school. Now, she said, “He can’t wait for Monday.”

Congratulations Mr. Black and everyone at West Broadway Middle School. Following what’s happening with you guys (even if only via Twitter) has been a delight for me and for so many others. Bravo to you all.  

*All quotes taken from Providence Journal piece by Linda Borg.  

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