Smith Influences Change


Reflecting back on the past four years, seniors recall that the most change has been implemented with the addition of the new administration. Principal Caleb Smith has been at NHS for almost two years now and has made a big impact on the school community ever since.
Through the years Smith has been principal, he has worked hard to give students, staff and stakeholders a voice to support their needs. When people have an opinion about something to be improved around the school Smith works tirelessly to solve whatever problem is at hand. When asked what the biggest change was at Newton, Smith believes the school climate and security of students and staff has improved dramatically.
“It’s hard to know what the biggest change has been since I wasn’t here before but we’ve really tried to focus on school culture and giving voice to our staff and students in all decisions related to Newton High School. We want to not just preach family and an “open-door policy” but live it out every day,” Smith said. “I really try to focus on truly listening to our students, staff and stakeholders and working to support their needs. If something is important to them, I make it important to me and try my best to support them.”
According to the National Center for Education and Statistics 5.1% of students drop out of high school in the United States. When there is a positive environment at school, Smith believes the graduation rate will go up. Smith’s goal is for every student at NHS to graduate with the feeling that the staff did their absolute best for that student.
“My goal is that every student graduates and leaves with the knowledge and tools to be successful in life. Success is defined by each student so it’s our staff’s job to help them find that success,” Smith said. “I want to see our graduation rate go up and create an environment and programs that meet the needs of all students. That requires creating support for staff and students that gives everyone the ability to do their best. Culture is something you have to work on every single day so continuing to improve that and maintaining the positive things we have already done is important.”
Smith runs a photography account and takes pictures of students playing sports, doing activities and at other school events. Students and parents appreciate this initiative since Smith is passionate about sharing his students’ hard work and being a part of the school community. Sophomore Haley Ruth enjoys Smith’s photography account since it shows he really adores his students and cares about them.
“What I like about [principal] Smith’s photography is that it shows off students’ abilities and how he supports students through going to these events and taking photos,” Ruth said.
Like his photography account, Smith came to the NHS with creative new ideas including a principal’s council. Principal’s council was first developed at NHS when Smith became principal. The students that are a part of the principal’s council, give Smith new ideas and opinions to better the atmosphere and environment at NHS. Senior Linda Shine enjoys being able to give feedback to her principal directly so she can have an open mind about the school and share her thoughts.
“I enjoy going to council so I can share new ideas and have an opinion at my school rather than being silenced. I’m glad Smith has come to the NHS because students can share more of their thoughts openly. Typically Smith emails us with problems, and we come in having solutions to them. Then we talk about the good and bad about NHS,” Shine said.
Working as a principal is hard work and Smith’s appreciation towards the school, whether that’s starting a principal’s council or taking photos of students, he tries his best to help his staff and students in every way possible. Smith is constantly working to improve the NHS atmosphere and has gained respect and appreciation for his changes from the student body, especially those who experienced prior administrations and are soon to be graduating.
“I love helping students in need. Newton has many resources and through building relationships with community members, I am able to find support for our students in need. I love going to sporting events and fine arts performances. Seeing our students perform and succeed is very fulfilling for me,” Smith said. “I feel like we’ve made a lot of changes in the last two years and we really need to focus on getting better at what we do. My hope is in year three we aren’t making changes but rather settling into a routine and refining what we do.”