Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of School Inspiration 2012

Once again our superintendent, Dr. Paul Stein, greeted us with an inspiring first day of school talk which prompted us to make the analogy between education and swimming.  He noted his summer swimming challenge which included the still, safe waters of a pool and the wavy, life-filled waters of the ocean. Dr. Stein suggested that school, like a pool, offers a safe environment to take risks, learn, and practice the skills and knowledge for the "real world," while the "real world" presents itself like an ocean requiring us to adapt the skills we learned in school (pool) to the ever changing landscape of life (tides, sea life and waters of the ocean). The superintendent challenged us to use a "gradual release of responsibility" to move students from safe, directed activities to independent inquiry, analysis, evaluation and creativity.

He introduced two central office goals: refining financial systems and analyzing the current elementary school configuration, and offered us Heart: five system-wide goals to merge with our daily efforts including:
  • Health and Wellness Education and Practice
  • The Implementation of a New Teacher Evaluation System
  • Bridging the Achievement Gap
  • Systemwide RTI (Response to Intervention)
  • Technology Integration to Promote Optimal Student Learning
Similar to last year's inspirational start, Dr. Stein brought us together with common goals, and once again started the school year with a powerful metaphor to guide our work with children.