In academic administration, alumnus learns to lead by listening

May 12, 2022

Headshot of Jon Rapport

Jon Rapport ’12, ’17 became a teacher knowing he wanted to do more outside the classroom.

After graduating with a Master of Art in Teaching, Mathematics, Rapport taught math for six years at North Branford High School. During this time, he volunteered with a variety of clubs and activities.

Rapport returned to Quinnipiac to earn his certification in educational leadership and administration after his positive undergraduate experience.

“The professors were supportive and real about what you were going to get in the education field. I felt like I knew what I was walking into, while other universities do a lot of theoretical learning,” said Rapport. “Quinnipiac sent us on fieldwork all over the place, to different schools with different environments.”

The final portion of the graduate program was particularly impactful on Rapport.

“We were encouraged to go in and see how administration operates, how they build budgets, work to improve instruction, how they structure disciplinary measures and what workload to expect,” he said. “Quinnipiac set up realistic expectations, teaching us not to go in and scorch the earth, but diagnose what the students need. We were encouraged to listen to the community and start to fix issues in a logical way.”

After gaining his certificate, Rapport acted as the assistant principal of two elementary schools in Cumberland, Rhode Island. He became the assistant principal of South Kingstown High School in 2017.

Discovering the most effective ways to teach and bolster students through COVID-19 is of utmost importance, said Rapport.

“It’s been challenging, especially in terms of how the pandemic affected the students’ mental health in different ways,” he said. “It’s been at the forefront of our concerns.”

For more effective support, South Kingstown administration shifted its response intervention system. Previously, students who needed extra help would spend one period in the class and then another full remedial period on the subject, like how elementary schools operate, said Rapport.

“Now, kids are getting pulled out from study hall for the extra help they need. This is more tangible for the kids and makes the help more palatable. They’re buying into it because they can still seek electives they want,” he said.  “We developed tiers of support. There are safety nets in place, but we also focus on what teachers can do to support students along the way.”

These efforts generated substantial results. South Kingstown High jumped 400 spaces in national ranking from last year, said Rapport.

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