Middle school sure has changed a lot in the last few decades, and in the Rockford area it has changed for the better.

I spent the morning as honorary Principal at Flinn Middle School with their real Principal Mr. Bay, and it was such a great experience.

Getting out of the studio and into a school is always a blast and also a huge learning experience.

At Flinn, Mr. Bay took me around to meet a bunch of teachers and students, and let me sit in on meetings so I could get a feel for what it's like to be a middle school Principal.

Three things really stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you.

1. The teachers at Flinn go above and beyond the call of duty.

Michelle, Townsquare Media

All of the classrooms we visited were doing really exciting things, but the most exciting was one of the Science classrooms. Their awesome teacher had created an experiment where the kids were able to test "blood" to solve a pretend crime.

The blood was milk, but the experiment sure made it look real! All of the teachers at Flinn showed extra effort to have fun while also teaching their students.

2. The kids are excited to be in such a great learning environment.

Michelle, Townsquare Media

In the hallway, in the cafeteria, the gym, even in the Principal's office, all of the Flinn students were happy to be at school in this learning environment.

I snapped a photo of this artwork in the hall, I love how Flinn displays so much student work around the halls. It made the school so inviting and friendly.

3. There's so much more to middle school than what meets the eye.

Michelle, Townsquare Media

You might walk into a school thinking... all schools are the same, but that's definitely not true in this case. Have you ever seen a pool like this in a middle school?

I couldn't believe the pool hiding in the back of the school, and I learned that there's way more hidden gems at Flinn, too. The groups of teachers and counselors who meet weekly to discuss how to help students in need, the Assistant Principals who call parents as often as needed to solve school problems, and dance class they offer in gym. Dance and swimming in an amazing pool? Can I go back to middle school?

Thank you so much for letting me be Principal for a day, Flinn! I had a very middle school inspired lunch after I returned to work.

Michelle, Townsquare Media

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