Oak View Elementary Principal Wins Mark Mann Award
Jeffrey Cline, principal of Oak View Elementary School, is this year’s winner of the Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award.
The Mark Mann award is presented annually to an MCPS administrator who has shown exceptional performance in promoting academic excellence, positive human relations and community outreach.
In the four years Cline has been at Oak View, he has worked closely with staff to create a School Improvement Plan that addresses the achievement gap, and has made academic excellence and motivation for student learning the top priority. He has created an environment that supports the school motto: “We believe! All achieve!” Staff and students understand the importance of setting high expectations through goal-setting and rewarding students for hard work and good behavior.
Staff members describe him as a kind and patient leader. He greets students and parents each morning, and often serves as a crossing guard for car drop-offs. He works hard to ensure that everyone—students, staff and parents—has a positive school experience.
He hosts parents at the school each month and provides opportunities for them to become more engaged with their children’s learning. He is constantly looking for new ways to engage parents, many of whom are not native English speakers. He offers bilingual programs, and takes the staff on community walks into neighborhoods where his students live.
He created a STEM position that gives teachers additional planning time and exposes students to science, technology, engineering and math. He provides treats for staff several times a year and mails a birthday card to everyone on his staff, which builds camaraderie and boosts morale.
But first and foremost, he is focused on the students. A champion of the underdog, he encourages students to believe in themselves. He shares personal stories, telling students that he was able to succeed because people believed in him and that he will never give up on them. He asks teachers to work one-on-one with students to review performance data and establish goals for growth.
He set up a student recognition program at the school, and established schoolwide assemblies as a standing activity in which students want to participate. Cline’s approach with students and parents has resulted in fewer student referrals, which means more time is spent in the classroom. He supports positive reinforcement by having students earn the ability to participate in “Dragon Bashes.” This involves monthly games, such as bowling, bingo and a dunk booth. Students who haven’t earned the opportunity work with a teacher on a Restorative Practice activity, so they can hopefully improve their behavior and join the fun the next month.