Sherwood Middle School Principal Michael Henry musters enough Spanish to direct this ESL (English as a Second Language) where she should wait for her ride home. (Photo: Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell)

Each day at about 2:15 p.m., Sherwood Middle School experiences what could be called “organized chaos.”

There’s bumper-to-bumper traffic on Rhodes Avenue, picking up students after school has been dismissed. Teachers and other staff members are all over campus, directing children to the right bus, encouraging them to walk and not run, and making sure students cross safely across the busy street.

Sherwood Principal Michael Henry has kicked off his first week as the new administrator. And sporting a green and white baseball cap, there he was, directing traffic, directing children, waving at parents, talking with staff.

“We’re out here making sure our scholars get home safely,” said Henry. “Most of the children have already left, walking home from school. We’re making sure those who have rides coming are picked up.”

He stops to instruct a Spanish-speaking scholar on where she should wait for her parents to pick her up. Henry musters up a few phrases in Spanish and points to a nearby tree. Last year, Henry said, Spanish-speakers made up about 10 percent of Sherwood students. This year, it’s higher.

“I have learned some Spanish so that I can speak with their parents,” Henry said. We want to provide an environment that is conducive to helping our Spanish-speaking students communicate effectively.”

Sherwood struggles with the same issues many inner-city schools do – poverty, issues at home, etc. Dealing with a language barrier on top of that could be even more of a challenge. So Sherwood Middle provides “English as a Second Language (ESL)” instruction for a growing young Spanish-speaking population.

“We want to be extra vigilant and attentive to the needs of all our scholars,” Henry said. “We want everyone to have a successful and productive school year.

“Sherwood Archers always aim for success, every scholar, every day – we want them to be successful.”