Principal earns doctorate

The prestige of the small but powerful term “Doctor” before one’s name is a goal many wish to achieve. Mrs. Malinoski has completed her vigorous degree giving her the new title of Dr. Malinoski.

From the beginning of her career as a principal she had a goal to earn her doctorate. This has been a long and vigorous process for her but after 11 years of being a principal she will walk with her class and receive her doctorate.

The process to earn a doctorate involves much time and energy. For Dr. Malinoski’s program through Drexel University, she had to complete 60 credits in the form of two classes every ten weeks. This program normally takes three years but she completed it in only two and a half.

“It was a lot of work, a lot of long days and nights of getting no sleep just trying to juggle principal life, mom life, family life and school work,” said Malinoski.

The topic of her dissertation was the authentic engagement of high school students. This study compared members of the senior class who were very engaged and active in the school with those who were struggling to get in the door.

She conducted research to find the difference between these students and understand the factors that influence these results.

“I would like to implement some of my findings in my research study here,” said Malinoski. “I found that the number one factor that influences student engagement is the teachers.

“I think it’s really important to stress to the teachers that even though we are at the high school level and preparing [the students] for the next step in life, they still need someone who is caring and will go the extra mile for them, someone who understands who they are and will look at them as more than a number in the grade book.”

She has high hopes of seeing students becoming more involved in clubs and activities around the school. One of these hopes is to establish an intramural program to get students more involved.

“A lot of our students were probably involved in, let’s just say, basketball early in their life but their skill level is not the level of making the varsity team but they still have the love for that sport,” said Malinoski. “I think being able to connect those students with an after school club like an intramural club to participate would engage them and connect them more to our school.”

Her studies have shown that students who are engaging in at least one club have significantly higher grade point averages than those who do not participate at all. A method to fix that would be one similar to the Falcons Care program implemented in the middle school.

“I think it’s important that yes, we want students to graduate here and get a great education but we also want them to be involved and realize that they are part of a bigger community and they can make a difference within not just cedar crest high school, Lebanon community but within our world,” said Malinoski.

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