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Meet the new middle school/high school principal
Boscobel Schools
BASD_new ms/hs principal
Boscobel Area School’s new principal, Pete Schroeder, is excited to put this sign in the closet and welcome kids to their first day of school—and his first day of being a principal.

BOSCOBEL - A new principal leads Boscobel’s high school and middle school this year. Pete Schroeder has taken the reins from Wally Burn, who retired last year. 

He brings a background in middle-management as well as classroom experience to the new position. 

Schroeder started his career in the U.S. Army, where he served as an artillery officer, and from there took a series of jobs in the private sector. All that time, he’d wanted to be in the classroom. 

“My dad was a huge inspiration. I come from a divorced family, and I was raised by my dad,” Schroeder said. “He finished up school while raising, us and got his teaching degree in agriculture. He’s just always been there; he’ll do anything for his kids.” 

So, when Schroeder got laid off from a job in 2007, he saw it as an opportunity to follow his passion into the classroom. Schroeder, who’d previously earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and in chemistry with a minor in math, got certified to teach math and science.

He’d been in the classroom for 15 years, including several in his hometown of Ladysmith, before he decided to move to administration. 

“You can only you can only complain for so long before you decide to go in and make a change,” he explained. “I decided to it was time to actually take my leadership experience and combine it with my teaching to see if I can make the change that I’m looking for.”

Boscobel is his first assignment as a principal. 

Top agenda

Schroeder says his priority is to improve communication and encourage positive energy and attitudes. 

“Communication is big, especially when you’re talking about the education arena, because everybody has their own classroom. They have their own things that they’re in charge of. So if we aren’t communicating and making sure that we stay consistent, it’s it gets really tough to make sure that people are satisfied and enjoying their days,” he said.

The new principal is also implementing a school-wide program for students and staff designed to improve positive thinking. “The Energy Bus” program is a school-specific adaptation of a 2007 motivational book by Jon Gordon with the same title. Its emphasis is on positive thinking and leadership among both students and school staff.

“It’s been so easy to back into our own little corner. COVID and everything else has isolated us,” he said. “We’re in our own little our own little shell and not actually interacting with people. I think it’s important that we get back into that interaction and build those relationships.”

School Safety

With the rash of recent school shootings, safety is top of mind for most parents, and Schroeder (who has two adult children) is no exception. 

He’s in the process of assessing school safety, including whether to implement active shooter drills. Currently, Boscobel students enjoy an open campus, which means they can leave during lunch period. Schroeder is working on a policy to better monitor who is out of the building at any given time, so all students are accounted for in the event of an emergency or crisis. Boscobel students are buzzed in, and staff uses a fob system.

When it comes specifically to gun violence, however, school security is only part of the answer. The U.S. Secret Service has studied school shootings in depth for more than 20 years. In almost all cases, school shooters have identifiable troubles long before they commit violence. And in the majority of cases, they share their plans with a peer, or sometimes even a teacher, according to a summary of research by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Young people who need help often do not keep it a secret. They may exhibit obvious warning signs either through behavior or remarks, such as voicing problems or grievances, complaining about persecution or bullying, or showing signs of depression or desperation,” according to the report.

In other words, intervening in the lives of troubled teens can—and does—prevent school shootings. To this end, Schroeder is emphasizing relationships between students and their teachers, or other school staff.

“They don’t have to get along with every teacher, but I think it’s important tat every student in the building has at least one staff member that they’re comfortable enough to go to and talk to,” he said. “It’s important that every kid has that connection. Not necessarily even a teacher it could be somebody on the kitchen staff or one of the one of the maintenance folks.”