CICS Washington Park creates a structured learning environment where students and families feel safe, valued and welcome.
These same aims are what connect Tyrell Jeffries, Principal of CICS Washington Park, to his everyday work with students and staff members.
1. Why did you decide to become a principal?
I wanted to increase the impact I was making in my school community. I found success in the classroom and enjoyed creating a utopia within those 4 walls. I realized, however, I could impact more students and teachers by stepping out of the classroom.
2. What is one thing you are looking forward to in the new school year?
I am looking forward to tremendous growth. There have been many setbacks and obstacles that have drastically altered education. Learning loss is real. However this year I am excited for all the growth that is to come.
3. What is one skill that you have that makes you a great principal?
One skill that I possess that makes me a great leader is empathy. In this work, you need high emotional intelligence. Working with students, teachers and parents is delicate work.
4. Name something you are proud of about your campus.
I am extremely proud of the fact that all elementary schools in our network were ranked in the top 10 of Illinois charter schools. Our families deserve options and I am grateful that they chose us because they are receiving one of the best options in our state.
5. How do you make positive connections with your students?
As a school leader, I am fully present in classrooms and whole school moments. I let my students know I see them and call them by name. As the principal, I am not some mystical figure. When my students don’t see me on the ground they question my whereabouts the first chance they get.
6. How are you making those connections now?
Every morning I start with a school walk-through. I am greeting students at the door and welcome them into the building. During my time in the classroom, I take time to check in with the students. I teach model lessons in all classrooms. This allows me to get to know my students in their most natural environment, their classroom.
7. What is your vision for student success this year?
That EVERY student within our community feels empowered to take ownership of their learning. This means increasing their confidence in the ability to read, write and comprehend math. In all their interactions within the classroom, I want them to produce positive academic emotions.
8. Education is ever-evolving. If money / resources / time were not an issue, what would you do to improve your school?
I would create meaningful experiences and moments that are not limited by finances. Our students live in one of the largest cities in our country, however, their experience and perspective of the city are limited to their neighborhood. I want them to explore, learn and grow from real-life experiences.
Tyrrell Jeffries is the K-8 Principal at CICS Washington Park. Tyrrell was born and graduated high school in Aurora, IL. Immediately after, he began a life-changing college experience at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. During his undergraduate career, Mr. Jeffries served as the Director of Student Leadership Development and gained a fond appreciation for what life could offer. Upon graduating, Tyrrell moved to Chicago and began his teaching career at CICS Washington Park. As a third grade teacher Mr. Jeffries helped his scholars grow over 2 years on the NWEA in ELA and Math and outscored the state in both areas on the PARCC exam. During his time at Washington Park, Mr. Jeffries served as a teacher, Instructional Lead, Dean of Students, Director of Curriculum and Instruction,and Elementary Principal. Mr. Jeffries is an alumnus of the TFA Chicago Corps and the Relay Graduate School of Education National Principal Academy. He is thrilled to be the K-8 Principal of CICS Washington Park so that he can prepare scholars for the rich educational experience that he had.