Superintendent’s Spotlight: James Schipper


Superintendent’s Spotlight: James Schipper

June 17, 2021

Anyone who knows James Schipper will tell you that he’s been an independent and proactive learner going back to his kindergarten days! So, when he and his family opted to take advantage of the Distance Learning Academy this year, there was never any doubt that James and his work ethic would knock it out of the park.

“Along with being such a nice young man, James is a really hard worker and always makes sure that he is ready to participate in his classes,” said Principal Georgianna Diopoulos.

James’s mom, Laura Scotto, agreed.

“In other years, when he’s been at school, James has always been one to make sure his work is done. He’d come home from school and right away start his homework. He definitely doesn’t let things sit!”

James began the year putting his organizational skills to work and setting up his remote learning workspace – from desk chair to tech – in a dormer in his home. First, he set up a couple of laptops and an extra screen, and made sure he was good to go for printing. Setting up his own access to platforms like Google Classroom, Kami and others was a breeze. He also said his phone came in handy to take pictures of his assignments and post them online for review, but was quick to point out that he only used his phone for uploads for class during school hours.

Next, he created a wall calendar that he kept updated by the letter day and period, scheduling things to the minute.

“7:15 is breakfast, then I’m dressed before class,” he said, emphasizing the latter. “Wearing pajamas during a meet? I would never do that!”

“To give you an idea, I work from home, too,” added Ms. Scotto. “Once he’s done with breakfast, I don’t hear from him at all during the day. He does his work and when he’s done, he comes out. He’s just very focused that way.”

His minute-by-minute itinerary helped James stay on time and ready to contribute to his daily classes, but he also used it to map out milestones toward longer term goals like project due dates.  

“When I’m assigned a project, I put it on the calendar,” he explained, “So, I can see that it’s due on, let’s say, a Friday. But, I like to know that so that I can have [the project] done by that Monday.”

If that doesn’t tell you just how proactive James has been when it comes to his studies, how about this?

James would often forego his scheduled lunch period to get some extra time in with his teachers during remote office hours instead. He also checked in regularly for after school office hours. His teachers appreciate that about him, his self-advocacy and how astute he is about asking great questions when he needs help.

James’ favorite subject at the moment is social studies.

“I love learning about history,” he said. “I think it’s very cool because when you learn about history, you learn from history, so you can learn from your mistakes.”

All of his hard work shows, too, as James has made Honor Roll every marking period since sixth grade. He’s also into soccer and baseball, which he does outside of school.

James really enjoyed the DLA experience and is appreciative of all the support that the District provided to students like him. Even so, he is looking forward to starting next year in a new school – as a freshman – in person. But, for now he has summer on his mind as a reward for another year’s worth of studying hard.

“I can’t wait to get back to riding my bike and playing Wiffle Ball,” he said.



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