Principal hits the streets to show students he cares

HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. - Spring Mountain Elementary Principal Curtis Long is earning the "pal" part of his title.

Every August, with a new school year on the horizon, Long begins his annual quest to find and say "hi" to every one of his students.

All 483 of them.

Armed with a list of addresses and a stack of slips to hand out, Long hits the streets and starts knocking on doors.

"I do this because I think it's important we make personal connections with kids," Long said. "My goal is to make their time at Spring Mountain as memorable as possible and to make sure that they know there are people here that care about them."

If nobody's home, he tapes a note to the door explaining that he stopped by and encouraging the kids to pop by his office and say hello once school starts.

KATU tagged along as Long continued his quest Thursday.

At first-grader Sophia Macias' house, she and Long chatted briefly about which teacher she hopes she'll have this year (Long said she'll find out later Thursday it's the one she wants).

Sophia's dad, Joe Macias, told us the visit means a lot.

"It's really neat to have such a personal touch," Macias said. "It shows that he really cares enough to reach out to each student and parent individually."

Long told KATU about half of the time he gets an answer at the door and half the time he doesn't. But when he does - it's worth it.

"It's fun to see the looks on their faces because they think I just live here at school," Long said. "They think I just sleep in the health room and I never leave the school building."