And here we are again. Another summer has come and gone, and we are back into the swing of things so quickly that it feels like we never left. As with any new school year, teachers came back excited to meet our students and ready to put our energy and passion into creating memorable learning experiences.
As I stepped into a new role this year, I gained an entirely new perspective about what is needed to start the school year strong, create a collaborative and motivating environment for our staff, and create a sense of a community for our students in a building so big. Every day I see something, hear something, and/or learn something new that continues to help me make sense of why this place is so special.
So, I decided there is no better way to start of the year but to share a few reasons why I am feeling so energized. Here we go...
1. Wow. I cannot tell you how much work our administrative assistants, class house staff, and Tech Support staff completes in the summer. These awesome people work all summer so that everything runs smoothly when staff and students reenter the building in August. They know so much about our school and are ALWAYS willing to go the extra mile if it means it will help a staff member or student. Many of them are here before and after their actual hours in order to complete work that they know is important for the school. Most importantly...they are kind. They are patient. They are helpful. They listen. They support. They are the REAL DEAL. Their work always calls for a #boomshakalaka
2. I know I say this all the time, but I will say it again (and I'm sure it won't be the last time) - we work with such great people. I am constantly amazed at how much I learn from other people in this building. Our building leaders constantly build up and motivate our staff. It is always clear that they are confident in the work teachers do in the classroom, and as Mr. Perry shared during our opening day meeting, they believe "we were built for this." This special work that is done on a daily basis...yes, my friends...we were built for this. How awesome is to have a group of leaders throughout the building who believe so strongly in the work we do. As a new member of the leadership team, I am in constant awe of my colleagues. They have been the best support system I could ask for, and their drive and passion for what they do motivates me on a daily basis.
3. In addition to our leaders, our teachers stepped back into the building and showed right away that they were "built for this" as they prepped, planned, and welcomed students last week. I was amazed at what I saw and heard about various classrooms around the building. Our teachers created memorable learning experiences for our students on Day 1. One of our STEM teachers had his students build and race paper airplanes. Talk about getting them to create and critically think right from the start. Another teacher had her math students create a kite in-class -using geometric shapes - and then took them outside to see if the kites could fly Another teacher asked her students to complete a task as a group, but they were not allowed to speak while doing so. Another opportunity for students to think critically but also get to know their classmates. Some teachers took their students on a tour of the building and shared various places to go for academic support - as needed - throughout the year. There are so many more to share, and if you are a reader of this blog, you know I will continue to do so.
4. Collaborative spaces are popping up all over the building. As a school, we see the value of collaborative spaces and have made it a priority during budget meetings. These spaces continue to grow every year, and I LOVE walking past them throughout the day and seeing students use them effectively. Some students meet with their classmates/friends. Others work independently. It is almost always full of students, and they seem to really enjoy having that option. As teachers experiment with flexible delivery of instruction, collaborative learning spaces can and will help in creating options for students. They seem to appreciate this space and have used it appropriately. Today, I even sat there and got some work done. It was a wonderful change of scenery and felt great to be with the students.
5. Our students also impress me on a daily basis. For example, on the first day of school, the 5-minute bell rang, and - like they hadn't missed a beat - students started to make the journey to their first-period class. As I stood there and watched students find their first class, I was amazed at how routine this was for them and how little issues we had in encouraging students to start their day. They just did it. I witnessed a lot of smiles, laughs, and believe it or not, excitement for the day. They give our building its pulse. They bring the energy. I am amazed at their talents and eagerness to contribute to our school. In just one week, I've met so many new students who have impressive ideas for what we can do to continue to make this place special and engaging for the student population. It is so cool to see and hear young people make plans and put these plans into action. Yes, my friends, another #boomshakalaka is needed.
We are only 1 week in, and, for so many reasons, I already know this is going to be an incredible year. And you better believe that I will continue to share our story...because it is a story worth telling. #whatsup