From the desk of Dr. Tuin, THS Principal

January 21, 2022

The Tiller community combines a variety of stakeholders. Students and teachers are the core of what happens every day in the classroom. Coaches, advisors, and students are the focus when it comes to extra-curricular activities, also a significant aspect of the high school experience. There are so many important stakeholders connected to our high school, and parents are among the most. Our students come to us from a variety of backgrounds and home situations, and for most students that include at least one parent.

This week, I had the opportunity to interact with several of our parents in a variety of settings. These were not large gatherings, but individual or small group dynamics. In some cases, I was helping to resolve an issue or a conflict and in other conversations, I primarily listened and made connections. One example of these conversations was the Principal's Coffee on Tuesday morning. For about 45 minutes, I sat with some Tiller mothers. They asked questions and shared their experiences as parents. Their passion for their children and our school abounded. It was a great reminder of the hopes and dreams our parents have for their children. The conversation turned into an informal mentoring session as two parents with older children who have watched their children’s dreams become a reality offered some wisdom to a parent of a freshman student. It was special to hear the stories of these families and how they contribute to our community.

Other parent conversations stemmed from issues needing resolution. Even in those conversations, it was interesting to see similar hopes and dreams for students emerge. High school is not just a formal education exercise. It is also a time when young people are trying to find their way, and learn what it means to create an identity beyond their current family situation. In many ways, it is a safe place for students to grow and morph from the childhood version of themselves. High School students are caught in this transition from childhood to adulthood and it often isn't a linear path. They are engaged in this journey in the context of so many different family dynamics, and this week was a great reminder of how important it is to work with parents to help each other help our students navigate this unique time in a child’s development. I often think about the privilege we have to be part of such an important part of a person’s development.

I had the privilege of another really important conversation this week. The new superintendent, Dr. Mark Johnson, visited our campus to start to get to know Tustin High School. He introduced himself to people along the way and asked lots of questions. Showing people our amazing school is one of my favorite activities, and it took on a special meaning to have the privilege of introducing him to our community. For almost two hours, he wandered with me around our campus, which provided him a good sense of some of the incredible people who constitute our Tiller community.

Reflecting on this week, my parent conversations and superintendent’s visit all reminded me of the diverse array of stakeholders who make up our school community, which is in the context of the larger TUSD community. It is great to be part of the Tustin Unified School District, and it is great to be a Tiller.

Go Tillers!

Dr. Jon Tuin

Tustin High School Principal