by Anna Squiers ’20
In only his second year at Sherwood, Principal Eric Minus already can point to evidence that the environment has improved at the school. The MCPS Climate Survey shows that Sherwood staff morale has improved 33.2 percentage points, from 22.2 percent of staff in 2018 to 55.4 percent in 2019.
“We spent a lot of time last year talking about the culture and climate that we wanted to have here at Sherwood as it related to our students and our staff,” Minus said. “Bringing in the Pillars of Excellence is a great way to ground not just the students in what we believe in terms of our philosophy, but we also as staff recognize the importance of using those pillars as we interact with each other, with students, and with parents.”
The perception of a unified work environment has significantly increased among Sherwood staff members. According to the climate survey, the staff who believe that Sherwood recognizes staff for their quality work has doubled, from 38.6 percent to 78.6. More staff members agree that the school fosters a collaborative environment and promotes a culture of respect, which the increase ranging from 25 to 30 percentage points.
One way Minus helped create a unified culture is through a centralized common language. Phrases such as “One Sherwood,” “Sherwood Strong,” and “Excellence is the only option” are heard daily around the school. These phrases, according to Minus, help members of the school focus on what brings them together rather than what divides them. Because of this, he focused mainly on the Unity Pillar in his first year as principal, introducing Unity Week as a hopefully long-standing Sherwood tradition.
For the 2019-2020 school year, Minus hopes to maintain the attitude of excellence among the Sherwood family. “My goals for this year are to continue the great work that we have started as a school and a community, focusing on our Pillars of Excellence, and continuing to use those pillars as ways of advancing our school,” said Minus.
He also wishes to continue building relationships with students and see everybody in the school do well. At the grade-level town hall meeting at the beginning of the school year, Minus introduced the idea of making Sherwood “premiere.” Minus’ new ideology builds off of excellence in stacking up against other schools in terms of achievement, eligibility, athletics, and how the school gives back to the community. This year he hopes to encourage students to strive towards being premiere in as many aspects as possible, therefore making Sherwood premiere itself.