Tuesday marked Principal Kim Diorio’s 100th day serving as the principal of Palo Alto High School. The Paly Voice caught up with her to hear her thoughts and reactions addressing subjects like streaking, Spirit Week and Homecoming.
The Paly Voice: How were your first 100 days?
Kim Diorio: It was awesome. It’s been great, I’m enjoying it. It’s been a challenge, and it’s been rewarding. I think we’re doing some really great things, moving the school forward. We’ve done some good work over the past 100 days.
TPV: Have you seen any changes at Paly in your first 100 days and have you started getting what you wanted accomplished done?
KD: I would say, that from what I’ve heard from teachers and staff members that we’re off to a great start. Everybody thinks it’s been a really positive school year, that morale is really high among the teaching staff, that people are really excited about the future and where we’re headed. For the students, it’s been a challenge. I think it’s just because my first day of school did not go how I ever would have expected or imagined, but I think we’re repairing in terms of relationships. I think students are starting to get to know me a little bit better and know that I’m not the big mean guy that they maybe thought I was on the first day of school. But I’m excited, I’m really looking forward to trying to figure out a way to empower students to have more of a voice on our campus and making sure that they’re involved in the decision making and that we’re really listening to our high school students about how we can make Paly a better place. I think we had a great Spirit Week, I think it was one of the best Spirit Weeks we’ve ever had. It was nice to see classes working together for a change and to see a little more unity in that sense.
TPV: What would be on your highlight reel for your first 100 days as principal?
KD: Definitely Spirit Week. I think that was just awesome and overall a fantastic week. I mean, ending with a homecoming dance of 753 students is pretty amazing. I think I was on a real high that week, I was just so proud of Paly students and it was just so fun to watch everyone come together like that. I loved being in the new athletic stadium for the rallies and watching everybody pull together as they were building the floats and doing the dances. It was just such a good week, even the staff dance. I’ve never seen so many staff members participate before. That was a really nice size group we had and that was really great. So spirit week was definitely in my top ten. I think it was really nice to see [Student Activities Director Matt] Hall and [Science teacher Josh] Bloom take charge of “H2C2” and doing the Halloween costume contest.
I think that was another thing to kind of help with those post-Spirit-Week blues that people tend to get. It was nice to just have something else to kind of look forward to, something fun. And then [English teacher Sarah] Bartlett and some of the teachers that started the “Pajama-ween,” the Nov. 1 Pajama Day that we did for seniors was also pretty fun. And to see a lot of staff members and teachers and seniors wearing pajamas last Friday was really good fun. I think in terms of accomplishments, we’re really doing a lot of work with teachers getting ready for the Common Core and I think I’m really proud of all the professional learning that our teaching staff are doing around that area. Same with WASC [Western Association of Schools and Colleges]. We’ve spent some time looking at where we’ve been in the last six years and setting the stage for next semester when we really get into WASC. I just see overall the climate on campus is really positive right now and so I’m really proud of that and grateful for that.
TPV: What’s one thing that you have really liked about being principal at Paly and what’s one thing that you’ve found to be not as great or something that you would like to work on in the future?
KD: The aspect I really like is building relationships with students and parents and getting to know more students and parents on our campus. [I like] talking with kids, hearing what they have to say, really making sure that everybody feels like they have a voice. [I also like] working with, whether it be school Site Council or [Associate Student Body] or some of the different teams and clubs on our campus, just being able to work directly with students is always one of the best parts of my day. The other thing I love about my job is going into classrooms because for me it feels like therapy. When you go into a classroom and you watch a teacher teach and students learning there’s nothing better. I think that’s also the thing I’d like to work on the most too, to just get into more classrooms and to try to really spend less time in here in the Tower Building in meetings and more time out on campus and in classrooms.
TPV: Is there anything else you would like to add?
KD: I’m just very proud of the school, of the people that make Paly so special, like the students, the parents, and the teachers. I think this is just an amazing place.