Lawson takes the reins at SRHS
Most people would hardly consider Matt Lawson’s timing in the position to be lucky as he served as interim principal of Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) amid the March arrival of COVID-19.
Lawson was selected to assume the position permanently in late July after working as vice principal for five years, meaning he’ll be leading the campus through its first fully online start to a school year.
“It’s going to be a unique year, to say the least,” Lawson said.
Current plans for online learning promise a full day of instruction, with a combination of live learning through programs like Zoom and time for students to work on assignments individually.
Although students will not be on campus physically, Lawson promised he is working to produce an end-product that is as close to traditional learning as possible. This means fostering meaningful relationships between students and their teachers remotely.
“There are so many people feeling isolated and relationships are one of the most important factors in learning,” Lawson said.
The new principal taught math for nine years in San Diego and Massachusetts before he decided he wanted to work in administration – a decision that eventually launched him into masters and doctorate programs in educational leadership at San Diego State.
Lawson loved teaching – he said it was his passion – which is why he wanted to have a similar impact on a larger level.
“My main goal is that I felt like I was able to make an impact in the classroom, but I wanted to make one schoolwide,” he said.
Despite the grueling workload, Lawson said he was thankful to have been able to pursue his education while serving in administrative positions at Mira Mesa High and SRHS.
“I was learning stuff in class that I could then implement the following day,” he said.
With the new school year around the corner, Lawson said many of the larger issues he would like to focus on are not new to SRHS, but may certainly be harder to address amid the pandemic.
Although SRHS is among San Diego’s highest achieving campuses, Lawson said there are still unsettling discrepancies in learning outcomes among students of color and disabled students that could be deepened in the age of online learning.
This goes hand-in-hand with Lawson’s larger goal of fostering a greater sense of inclusion on campus. That means making sure kids’ emotions are addressed as often as their academics.
“COVID or not, the ultimate goal at Scripps Ranch High is to make sure we’re serving all students and making sure they are getting ready to graduate and have success in their lives,” he said.