Welcome From the Principal

Washington Locomotive Community,

What are your hopes and dreams for your child?

What is your “why” for choosing Washington?

I want to take a moment to reflect with you. I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with you in continuing our journey in building a STEAM school from the ground up. (con’t)

Immediately after being hired to lead Washington Elementary, I met with District and City leaders to propose a transformative shift and redesign of Washington Elementary School. During this time period, I met with you, community members and midtown neighborhood organizations and shared the initial vision I had for the school and the types of learning experiences I wanted our children to engage in. Through these conversations I heard and saw the excitement that was building throughout the community. We talked about our shared hopes and vision for the school and affirmed that this type of learning experience would be beneficial to our children. It was through these early conversations that I formed my initial “Why” to promote confident, future innovators who are design minded, collaborative in nature and can tackle authentic problems through prototype and discovery. 

During this initial planning phase I was guided by the following two questions “What do we want for our students once they graduate 6th grade?” and “What are the conditions and learning experience that will produce these outcomes for all of our students?” 

This led me on a search to see how other schools and programs are addressing these questions. Through this search I came across programs such as the Buck Institute of Education, The Leader in Me, Project Lead the Way, Expeditionary Learning and New Technology Network (NTN). All of these programs focused on designing an Inquiry Based approach to learning that allows learners to engage in authentic problems that incorporate STEAM outcomes. In the end I made a decision to partner with NTN and the Leader In Me programs. NTNs pillars along with their focus on developing and supporting adult learning separated them from the other programs. Similarly, The Leader in Me program aligns and supports the NTN program in developing student’s agency by providing tools to support students through their personal and collective journey. I believe that our partnership with NTN and The Leader in Me will support us in designing a transformative school culture that nurtures all members of our community and builds our capacity to become a learning organization that deliberately develops in areas that support our learners. 

However, it is up to us to set the tone, to be intentional and to collectively create a culture that will allow us to use this context for learning and student empowerment. As a parent and educator, I want our children to be successful and happy in their life journey. I want our families to feel like they’re part of a school community where all learners will thrive. This belief has guided me during every step in identifying the program to selecting the staff to my interactions with you and our community members. 

I look forward to embarking on this journey will all of you. I realize that it is not always going to go as we plan. Yet, as long as each one of us is committed to our purpose and learners I know we will accomplish great things.  


Dr. Gema Godina-Martinez

Principal, Washington Elem. School