Patrick Miller Prepares for New School Year at Webster – Malibu Times

Posted: August 19, 2017 at 5:44 am

Just like a Hollywood wife who returns from summer vacation with a facelift, one of Malibus grand dame elementary schools is getting a bit of a makeover this summer.

Kids and parents headed back to Webster Elementary School this week will be greeted by a refurbished, refreshed new campus and a brand new face to welcome them to the 68-year-old grade schoolWebsters new principal, Patrick Miller.

Miller, who has been the assistant principal at Malibu High School (MHS) since June 2015, was only appointed to his new post at Webster last month, meaning parents and teachers did not know who the new principal would be when Dr. Susan Samarge-Powell finished serving. Samarge-Powell was principal at Webster for four years and left following her promotion in the district as the director of early learning for SMMUSD.

Miller started working for the school district in 2007 as a Spanish teacher at MHS. He later became the world languages department chair, an administrative intern, school site council member, literacy team leader and district instructional leadership team member, before leaving the district for two years to serve as assistant principal at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas. He returned to MHS as assistant principal in 2015.

Im excited about a new level of challenges. I think its going to be a lot of fun, Miller told The Malibu Times. Webster is a pretty darn fantastic school as it is. Its a fairly strong community where kids are performing at a high academic level.

Ive gotten their graduates for the past few years and the kids that are coming into Malibu High from Webster are really doing pretty darn well academically, Miller continued. Theyre some of our greatest contributors and thats what Im looking forward to continue to fosterthat kind of community where kids are challenged academically, supported emotionally ... Im able to pursue their interests and were really tapping into their natural joy, curiosity, interests and developing their knowledge. Thats what Im looking forward to.

Miller said his team will be focused on communication and enhancing kids writinggetting them to write and speak at high levels. The school will be using a program called Write from the Beginning that Miller says is already in use and reportedly successful at Franklin Elementary in Santa Monica.

When asked about upcoming challenges, Miller replied, Fortunately for me I have a veteran and expert staff. Adjusting to the elementary learner will be one. I previously worked with a first grade class during student teaching days. The needs and the minds of an 11-to-18-year-old are different than the needs and minds of four-to-11-year olds.

Miller also described outside challenges he could face as the new principal.

It is a pretty hectic time in education. We still have a number of instructional shifts and new curriculum, new standards, he said. A challenge is making sure that, one, teachers feel supported in the implementation of all these new things and that our focus stays on the student and not that we get so bogged down in the technical part of some of these that we forget at the end of the day that the teacher student connection is the most important piece.

When it comes to interactions with parents, he said, SMMUSD parents are highly involvedmostly to positive effect.

Our parents, for the most part, are very supportive and involved. Most of the time their involvement is positive, Miller described. As long as people respect the expertise of the school and staff and have open communication with the school and are willing to be involved in appropriate ways, I think the parent involvement leads to much more positive outcome than the reverse. Id much rather have involved, caring supportiveeven sometimes demandingparents than I would uninvolved and uninterested. Its just a matter of that it stays productive.

Miller is not the only change on Websters campusthere will also be the effects of remodeling.

Due to parents concern and demands, heat treatment is being used at Webster to mitigate termite damage that was discovered during remodeling, according to SMMUSD Chief of Operations Carey Upton. The nontoxic treatment was green-lighted as a pilot project.

Although a few Band-Aids may remain on campus due to lingering remodeling, learning will not be disrupted, according to Miller, who reported the schools interior spaces have been completely upgraded. Bathrooms have received upgrades along with water fountains. Flooring in classrooms has been resurfaced. Inside walls patched and painted. Doors and doorframes have been replaced, as well as windows and window frames. Exterior paint and trim was also applied.

Webster now has renovated classrooms that are cleaner and up-to-date to match the high level of learning going on inside of them, Miller boasted.

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Patrick Miller Prepares for New School Year at Webster - Malibu Times

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