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New elementary principals reach out

Amy Blakey, Tin Kha are looking for new ways to connect with their school communities

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Two new elementary school principals, Amy Blakey at Forest Hills and Tin Kha at Westridge, are looking to connect with the community online and in person.Two new Lake Oswego School District principals are taking differing approaches to community outreach.

Forest Hills Elementary School Principal Amy Blakey and Westridge Elementary Principal Tin Kha are getting to know their schools’ kids and communities, online and in person. Like most elementary school principals, they’re participating in traditional back-to-school nights. But Blakey and Kha have each added another avenue for people to meet them: They’re also reaching out to their communities online.

Kha has established a Twitter account for Westridge — @WestridgeES — as a way for parents, kids and community members to interact with him. It’s not unusual for a parent club or sports team to create a Twitter account, but it’s atypical for an elementary school principal.

Kha said he used Twitter at his previous school, North Marion Primary School in Aurora. During a power outage, he said, “I was able to quickly connect to families.”Kha

Kha can connect with families in more than one language. He is fluent in Vietnamese and English and literate in Spanish — a skill that served him well in roles as a teacher on special assignment, a literacy specialist and a vice principal. He has held many other positions as an educator, including middle school assistant principal, interim coordinator and assistant teacher in an English language learners program and statistical consultant at Vanguard University.

Like Kha, Blakey has also served as a teacher on special assignment — focusing on reading — and she’s also seeking a way to digitally connect with families. One of Blakey’s first acts as Forest Hills’ leader was to establish a blog called “the principal’s corner.”Blakey

“Over the course of the past few months I had the opportunity to work with (Principal Gwen) Hill, the Forest Hills staff, and families as I transitioned into my new role,” she wrote in her first post on July 11. “We have started planning for this coming year, and will continue the wonderful work of educating the children we have the honor to serve.”

Blakey most recently served as the principal of Scandia Elementary School at Travis Air Force Base in California, leading the school to its fourth California Distinguished School Award. She also has held several other roles in education, including assistant principal at an intermediate school, a school district’s curriculum coordinator and regional school improvement coordinator at a junior high.

People can learn more about Blakey and interact with her by commenting on her blog. Emailing parents doesn’t always work because addresses change, she said, so she decided to share school happenings with a blog instead.

Hallinan Elementary is the only other K-5 school in the district to sport a blog on its website homepage. It’s called “From the Hawk’s Nest.”

In the blog-less, Twitter-free, face-to-face category, Kha and Blakey also are coming up with fresh ideas.

Kha’s hosting one-on-one coffees with his staff and is looking to connect in a similar fashion with local parent groups.

Blakey also has met with her staffers personally. She said the foundation for a school and the way to success is establishing relationships.

“You can’t do your job alone,” she said.

Getting Connected

Connect with new LOSD principals Amy Blakey and Tin Kha:

  • Forest Hills Elementary School is located at 1133 Andrews Road. Its website is fh.loswego.k12.or.us/pages/forest_hills_elementary. The school’s back-to-school family night is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4. The regular back-to-school night is set for 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept 10.

  • Westridge Elementary School is located at 3400 Royce Way. Its website is wr.loswego.k12.or.us/pages/Westridge_Elementary_School. The school’s back-to-school night is planned for 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11.

    For a calendar of other back-to-school nights and events or to sign up for e-news updates, visit edline.net/pages/Lake_Oswego_School_District. Under Links, select Calendars.

    By Jillian Daley
    503-636-1281, ext. 109
    email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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