The High Point Schools Partnership had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Chiyanna Young, principal of Florence Elementary School. Young received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in School Counselling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She was a school counselor from 1999 to 2015 during school she spent most of her career in High Point at the elementary level. Young has served a year at Dudley High School, a year at Cone elementary as well as working at Montlieu and Shadybrook elementary. After her time as a school counselor, Young obtained her second Master’s degree from High Point University in Educational Leadership.
During her time as an administrator, Young served as the assistant principal of Penn Griffin, Ferndale Middle, and Florence Elementary before becoming the principal of Florence in 2018. She is currently at the University of North Carolina to earn her Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Young loves working at the elementary level because of the staff and the general joy surrounding the age group she works with.
When asked about programs she wanted to highlight, Young was very proud to discuss the revitalization of their PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program. Based on reinforcing good behavior, students can earn “Cowboy Bucks” to spend at their PBIS prize cart at the end of the month. Students can buy different prizes at different prices to encourage good behavior on any scale. Florence uses the acronym GREAT [Goal-driven, Respectual, Exceptional, Accepting of others, Trusting] to guide its students’ behavior goals. Young mentioned one of her favorite prizes through this program was a Kona Ice day where the truck came on campus to encourage students. The prizes for this program are provided through grants and PTA support.
Recently, Young has been very focused on staff mental health. She decided to replace certain staff meetings with “Wellness Days” where teachers can either walk on the track or do yoga at the school. Young also mentioned that every month there is some staff incentive (such as free lunch or missing a duty) to keep staff motivated. Young emphasized how much stress her staff is under during these challenging times so she wanted to do whatever she could to help her teachers continue to be their best.
Thank you Chiyanna for sitting down and talking with us. We look forward to continuing to talk with and highlight different High Point principals and all the good going on at their school.